Here’s another installment of “Oshimen Analysis”. This time, we take a look at community member, Kyle‘s fandom!
1. How do you define an oshimen?
This question turned out to be deceptively tricky for me to answer. To be honest, if someone new to idols were to ask me this question I would simply say “it’s your favorite member,” or something along those lines. That definition is easy to comprehend and is mostly true (even Oshima Yuko defined oshimen as “favorite member” during the NYC concert) but fails to address what an oshimen actually represents, or the role it has in the fandom. What does it even mean to be a favorite member? What if your favorite member is popular so you decide to support another member more (by buying their merchandise, commenting on their blog, going to their handshake events, voting for them in the election, etc.). In that case, who is your oshimen?
Because there are no defined rules for picking an oshimen, the decision ultimately comes down to each individual’s opinion of what an oshimen is/should be. For me, it is the member who heightens my interest in a group more than anyone else.
From my experience, an oshimen is almost like your own personal mascot, a part of your identity in the idol community. I believe that this community aspect is what drives us to declare an oshimen in the first place, otherwise we would continue to support and follow our favorite members without having to acknowledge the fact that we are doing so, or give a name to it.
Anyway, I feel like I’ve diverged from the point of this questionnaire enough.
Oshimen are great u guiz, let me tell you about mine!
Yoshi: Wow! A fantastic take on what an oshimen means. “It is the member who heightens my interest in a group more than anyone else. Your own personal mascot, a part of your identity in the idol community”. I’ve never thought of my oshimen as a mascot or identity in my fandom… very interesting. Now that Kyle points this out, I think this is why we’re always excited to talk about our oshimen and how great they are.
2. Name up to three of your oshimen(s) from up to three different idol groups.
Momota Kanako (Momoiro Clover Z)
Matsui Jurina (SKE48/AKB48)
Rena Nozawa (JKT48)
3. How long did it take you to pick your oshimen(s) after discovering the group or your oshimen?
Momota Kanako: She immediately caught my eye but I didn’t know/care enough about Momoclo to declare an oshimen right away. When I eventually got into Momoclo it was a quick and easy choice.
Matsui Jurina: Unlike Kanako, when I began following AKB I wasn’t really aware of the oshimen concept. I eventually performed my own Oshimen Quest of sorts and, similarly to Yoshi, knew the answer from the beginning. It took me a few months to decide to pick an oshimen.
Rena Nozawa: I included Rena Nozawa in this list because picking her as an oshimen was such a different process than the others. I’ll save the details for the next question, but I found out about Rena before knowing anything about JKT48.
Yoshi: I think Kyle and I are very similar in how we pick our oshimen. I think most of the time for me, I knew all along who it is. It just takes the time to be sure. It just takes some time for some of us to gather enough information to declare an oshimen.
4. When did you first take notice of your oshimen (performance, photos, TV shows, etc)?
Kanako: My first exposure to Momoiro Clover was when the NSK crew was reviewing the Roudou Sanka and Santa-san PVs during a broadcast. Kanako was the most easily identifiable member and I found her jacked up grill and “psycho smile” to be oddly endearing. It wasn’t until I saw a Momoclo concert performance that I gave them, or Kanako, any real thought.
Jurina: I took notice of Jurina within my first few days of getting into idols. During my mad dash to find subbed AKB videos I found a Shoujiki Shougi episode featuring Jurina and Rena. AKBingo, especially, was my main source for learning about the members early on.
Rena: This is a strange case. I ended up picking Rena as my JKT oshimen before ever seeing what she looked like, or knowing very much about her, yet she is now one of the idols I most hope succeeds. I came across her Twitter and was surprised to see her communicating directly with her followers in English! Maybe it’s more common than I realize (I don’t check Google+ very often) but I’ve never seen an idol respond to fans in such a direct and casual manner before, let alone in a language I could understand.
Yoshi: I too enjoyed Kanako’s serial killer look. Don’t ask Kyle and I why but we both like it! I get the most amount of joy from watching Momoclo live and that’s when I knew Kanako was my oshimen.
Similar to Kyle, I think most of us got into members of AKS from watching AKBINGO and other AKS related tv programs. Nozawa Rena is an interesting case of picking an oshimen.
5. How do you keep up with following your oshimen (TV shows, blogs, etc)?
I’m terrible at getting idol news that isn’t shoved in my face (i.e. Twitter feed), but I generally use forums to stay somewhat up-to-date, otherwise I’ll just watch TV shows. In the case of Kanako, I’ll watch old performances if I need to supplement my oshi fix.
6. Can you see yourself having a romantic relationship with your oshimen if you had the chance? Are your oshimen more so about supporting them than it being about dating them?
Like most Western fans, the illusion of having a relationship with idols isn’t the reason I’m in the fandom, so my oshimen are more about supporting rather than dating. That said, they are cute girls, so of course I wouldn’t be against it either (referring to idols in general here, most of my oshimen are underage).
7. Name a few reasons why you picked them as an oshimen? Do any of your oshimens’ qualities match up with your other oshimen or what you look for in a real woman?
Kanako: There is literally nothing in all of idoldom that I enjoy more than watching Kanako perform. It’s more than just the high energy Momoclo thing, she has this very unique stage presence/personality that is completely unrivaled (IMO of course). She also has what is probably my favorite singing voice of any idol.
Earlier I defined my oshimen as “the member who heightens my interest in a group more than anyone else,” well, Kanako heightens my interest in idols more than anyone else, so she was an obvious oshimen selection.
If you’ve never seen Kanako perform, here’s a video of her and Hayami Akari getting some good screen time.
Jurina: It’s harder to figure out exactly why I chose Jurina as an oshimen, I think it’s a case of “your oshimen choose you.” Whenever she was on screen I became instantly more interested in whatever was going on. Tough to say, but Jurina is undoubtedly my 48 oshi.
Rena: Again, I found out about her through Twitter and she came off as a very sweet girl who appreciates her fans. When someone would ask her if she received their birthday present she would tweet a picture of her holding it, and attach a nice “thank you” response. I also came to find out that besides speaking English, Rena also speaks Japanese.
Funnily enough she struggles with Indonesian and gets some shit for it. Here you can see the host giving her some Indonesian practice (she’s the one who waves off screen).
I don’t think that my oshimens’ qualities match with each other, or even necessarily with what I look for in a real woman. As you can see, I picked my oshimen in a very case-specific way.
Thanks for reading everyone, and thanks to NSK for giving us the opportunity to BS about our favorite members!
Yoshi: Kyle’s official title is “professional idologist” (stated on his twitter bio). I think this title suits him well. He is an intellectual when it comes to the way of idols. His understanding and passion for the idol fandom makes him a sage-like figure in the idol fandom. His future in the fandom may be giving advice to fellow idol fans.
If you’d like to be featured on this series and would like to be analyzed by me, copy the questions from this page and submit your answers through our contact page and put “Oshimen Analysis” on the subject line. I hope you enjoyed reading Kyle’s “Oshimen Analysis”!