Don’t take us seriously. We’re just Gaijin.

Recently, a special show was aired featuring invited foreign AKB fans who participated in quizzes, games, and chances to show off their idol fandom to a Japanese audience. While this was assuredly exciting for the fans involved, especially considering the fact that they were able to interact with the member Kuramochi Asuka, this kind of show might send the wrong sort of message to AKB members. I just wanted to write why I wished a more legitimate and serious show was made instead of one obviously made to embarrass the people involved.

The fans involved were put in situations that would embarrass them. While it’s all in good fun, it doesn’t really help the fact that they weren’t already taken seriously in the first place. It seems like they were some kind of joke for Japanese audiences to laugh at.

The show itself is obviously scripted. It was made to completely stereotype the way westerners act and behave when they are fans of a Japanese group. I really don’t think a lot of these fans actually act like this in person. I think they were prodded by the staff in order to act this way. Furthermore, their actions were further worsened by the fact that they were excited to be in the presence of the beautiful Kuramochi Asuka. Any AKS fan would freak out in this situation. Note that this may be the first time many of these people have seen an idol in person. Many overseas fans share the pain at the fact that it is really rare for us to meet an idol.

One thing that worries me is that this sends a bit of a negative message to the members. It’s clear that Kuramochi was overwhelmed by these fans. I’m afraid that members would get the wrong message about gaijin and may be a little less welcoming to foreign fans. I mean we are crazy indeed but the members of AKB probably have had very little contact with foreigners and they might see shows like this and assume that most overseas fans are crazy and socially awkward.It’s a little dangerous to have this stereotype because it just makes it harder for members to be willing to go overseas and perform in concerts.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate what the show was doing and I’m not insulting the people involved. I just hope that this doesn’t become a trend for the shows that come out featuring foreign fans. We want more shows that actually encourage overseas involvement instead of merely making fun of it. This is one of the few experiences that Japanese idol fans get to see their Western brothers and it sort of sets a bad standard. It somewhat discourages more Western involvement in AKB.

Of course, Japanese television is always like this. They like to make fun of guests and have them prance around. I would have preferred a documentary-type show with actual interviews but this obviously isn’t viable. It wouldn’t have gotten the same kind of ratings. But as an overseas fan, I’d like to be taken seriously so I have the opportunity to see AKB more often and to give AKS more money for the involvement I want.

About NSK

New School Kaidan is a community-focused website for the Japanese idol industry international fan base. Between podcasts, broadcasts, events, and analytic articles, New School Kaidan aims to bring an understanding of idol culture to the masses.

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