An Unprecedented Development

8 08 2010

Today is unprecedented. That’s how I feel about today. I woke up around 5:30am because it was really hot. I had started getting summer sickness just the other day and was intentionally trying to heat myself to oblivion so I my body could take care of the rest. Well indeed it woke me up from a good sleep. After going to the bathroom and getting rehydrated I decided to check the tweets that had accumulated since around 12:30am. The cyan light of the trackball stopped as I unlocked the screen to my N1. I activated Twidroyd and was surprised to see …

I was surprised to see that the most recent tweet wasn’t the last one I made. I was under the assumption that Twidroyd would start me at the last tweet I had seen so I could progress throughout the day and not have conversation/news lag. Rather the first thing I read was:

“@SQKIsiggy I’m waiting for announcement of 9th gen audition or eggs being added in momusu.”

That was square in the middle of the screen (I tend to look at the center first). At first I had no idea what that was supposed to mean. Mind you I’m barely awake and still adjusting to artificial lighting. The reply on Twitter had nothing to do with the previous thing I was talking about with my friend, which was commission on ticket sales. So then I scroll down to get back to my previous tweet to start the catch up. Here’s a sample of what comes up along the way in no particular order. Also note, I’m assuming that these are all in reaction to the development, if they weren’t I apologize for misquoting you.

“so are we taking bets on when c-ute will be disbanded? =)”
”Well at least we still have Aika”
”LOL.”
”Can anyone remember when good stuff happened with Morning Musume?”
”OH SHIT GRADUATIONS”
“Yo Pandas and Eri, I’m sad and I’mma let you graduate, but let me just say that KagoTsuji had the best graduation of ALL TIME”

and the one that presumably set everything off, courtesy of Hello! Online.

“Tsunku announced @ today’s H!P con & on his blog that Kamei, Jun and Lin are graduating. There will be a 9th gen audition.”

I would like to note that the next time Morning Musume goes to some expo in some foreign country, we best brace ourselves. America = Koharu, France and Shanghai = Kamei, JunJun and LinLin. Do I smell a conspiracy? Also, notice the date of the announcement, 8/8. The Chinese like to use 88 to say bye. Coincidence?

*Please remember that all non-facts here are my opinions and should be treated as opinions.*

As per Conflict Productions regulations, this post will have an obscene amount of text for no particular reason (and may or may not be delayed for days and months on end to the point that the graduation will occur as this hits the Interwebs) as I attempt to sort out my thoughts on the matter. You can treat this as a fanfiction of what is non-fiction, in which case a biographical moment if you will.

Once I read/saw (I can’t really read Japanese, but you know pictures are worth a thousand words) the official statement then the thoughts came rushing in. My first thought before I read the three names above was simple. “Please don’t let it be Gaki-san, PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE GAKI-SAN” I’ll admit it. But I remain justified as my favorite for the past five years has been and still is Gaki-san.

Then I read who it was and when I saw Kamei… I thought back to when Koharu graduated and when people started speculating on who would be next. A lot of fans feel abandoned with graduation and lose faith in the remaining configuration. I was a little irked when I read about many people who wanted Takahashi to graduate and yet I feel that in order to preserve an Iida parallel she must stay. Reasons for any member to stay are numerous. But I remember hearing people speculate that Kamei would be next. Guess they got a leak of Up-Front’s memo.

Then I saw more names. JunJun and LinLin, BOTH of them were on the list, which at this point we can say because this is the first time Morning Musume has graduated more than two people at the same time (assuming of course UFA will carry out the graduation for all three in the same concert). And Kago and Tsuji can be considered a very special case because they were a duo that can be considered very much a single unit. But alas I digress.

I will admit to this, from the time that JunJun and LinLin came on the scene, I was skeptical. Most people were, who wouldn’t be? I was afraid of the Japanese being xenophobic, I mean Chinese and Japanese relations are a bit strained. A friend once told me that a survey in mainland China revealed that the Chinese most hated country was Japan. Ironically enough, their most loved country was … Japan. Over the years that went the two grew and certainly showed that they were working hard. The phrase foreign exchange students was used in their introduction. And I thought of them that way in the beginning. I knew it was temporary as is all of Morning Musume. The cake is a lie. So now someone has come to collect. According to Tsunku-san he has seen them grow and is setting them back to China to hopefully pursue entertainment careers in China. Here’s another thing I will admit. I was surprised to see Koharu be the first to leave after JunJun and LinLin entered the game. I always figured JunJun and LinLin would be first to go.

And here’s where I feel bad. I don’t mean to be racist or overly critical. But I could never believe that UFA would ever have a Chinese member be a leading official for their flagship Japanese group. That being said, JunJun and LinLin had six (seven for LinLin) girls to go through before they had any hope of generational seniority (three girls if you go by age, but I would say generational seniority is the deciding factor here). Given a buffer of six/seven I had nothing to worry about there and just wanted to enjoy their time there. But in saying that they were foreign exchange students, the future that is today was very much nagging me. They had a title to them that implied their stay was limited even moreso than any regular Musume. And their stay has now been marked for completion.

Now onto Kamei. I read about her condition and the fact that she wants to focus on her health. This is unprecedented in Morning Musume history. Everyone else usually graduates/resigns because of external factors, bettering their selves, or dare I say because of the mystical banhammer someone might be wielding out there. The fact that she is focusing on her health pleases me. I’d rather not see a tragic end to any idol because of conditions far beyond our understanding and control. Not that we can control anything but you get what I mean. I’m also disappointed. Among the sixth generation, each of them are crucial. Reina is a center. Sayu has hope out in the variety world. Kamei is the third main vocal. I have recently been noticing Kamei much more because of her more developed voice and prominence in the last year or so. According to Murphy’s Law, Kamei’s graduation would make sense for me, likewise JunJun being in my top three complies with Murphy’s Law. And while I do not have as big of an attachment to the sixth generation as I do the fifth generation, I will still miss Kamei.

So that’s the whole graduation announcement. Now in regards to the future. The possibility that Kamei will come back? Possible but then I’d be afraid of her getting the dreaded spiral of death (solo career). I’d love for her to be back in Morning Musume again but time can only tell for that. And if it happened that would be an unprecedented move on UFA’s part. As for JunJun and LinLin. I have mixed feelings. A close friend of mine who actually likes LinLin (to a lesser extent JunJun) had hopes that LinLin would make it because she has an actual good voice. My belief was that she would get close to the trinity that was Takahashi, Reina and Kamei. She also had hopes that LinLin would make it when she was set free from Morning Musume. That we will have to monitor. I will admit I am not a big fan of Chinese music. Being of Chinese descent myself, the Chinese language (both Mandarin, Cantonese and all similar offshoots) is excessively alienating to me. It is one of the reasons why I embrace Japanese music so. Even so, I am curious as to what will become of them after Morning Musume.

A few things interest me. This is the first time more than two girls are set to graduate. We had a flurry of graduations in 2004-2005 but they were all separate and self-contained. How do you contain two separate generations? How do you contain that huge of a gap in seniority and popularity (I’m pretty sure JunJun and LinLin’s popularity does not compare with Kamei’s)? I’d be rather concerned that JunJun and LinLin will not get a fair send-off. Can a graduation ceremony be like that? Possible. But I’d like this graduation ceremony to be grand. It is special after all.

Now anyone who has gotten this far in the post will probably have noticed that I have referred to UFA multiple times. I don’t like to pin every single decision on Tsunku-san. Maybe he is the one who has the final say. I really want to believe that UFA has the ultimate say and Tsunku-san is creative input with the girls being consulted along the way. There is no way I can believe that Tsunku can be left to his own devices without consultation from the higher-ups. There’s always a bigger fish. Of course, it makes sense to have the producer be the bearer of the announcements from high above.

That being said, I never want to say things like, “*insert expletive* Tsunku!!!”. Even if it were his decision to make, it’s a very hard thing. He is the one who brought us the joy of Kamei, LinLin and JunJun and basically everyone else in the history of Hello! Project. It’s a very hard thing to walk up on stage facing the eyes of devoted fans and tell them that their shining light in their life is being taken away. That is what he did and the venue erupted in confusion, panic, and what have you. Tsunku-san is the one at the end of the day who gives us the good news and the bad news. He’s the one who shows us the light at the end of the tunnel and takes it away. It’s hard. It’s easy for us because we receive the decision. But it’s not the same for him. He is the messenger. He is the one fans will thank for their Gaki-sans. He is the one fans will blame for sending the Chinese home. And for that, I commend Tsunku-san. He is the father of Morning Musume. If it’s hard on us, it is every bit as hard if not harder on him. Remember don’t kill the messenger.

Speaking of that light at the end of the tunnel. I listened to the announcement per microphone hack. And I must say, it must feel twisted to have the hope of 9th generation auditions dangling in front of you right before the graduation news hits. But Tsunku-san is the messenger. And he has told us that the 9th generation is underway. Now I have mixed feelings about this. I am not particularly pleased with the results of the 8th generation audition, Aika. This may change given more time, but that’s still more time that could’ve been spent appreciating the 8th generation. I also don’t consider JunJun and LinLin to be traditional auditionees but more of the divine hand, Fujimoto type member. The young age limit makes sense as fresh new blood has always been a goal of the auditions (see 7th and 8th generation).

I have worries with Morning Musume’s waning popularity the interest will be low and the audition may ultimately backfire. Recall Tsunku-san had difficulties finding his girl in the 7th generation audition to the point that another audition was held. That must’ve been a huge investment on UFA’s part. And Tsunku-san’s failure would have been disastrous. I accept Koharu as a success on some fronts. I feel Aika is not so much a failure but a flower that hasn’t yet blossomed. It would be catastrophic for another late blooming generation. Alternatively, Morning Musume’s waning popularity provides them underdog potential as they could see a resurgence with potential talent that the new audition will provide. As such I feel a lot is being put into this audition. They have been thinking about it for some time and now they have finally found the time.

I feel that Morning Musume will get more than one member once again. For once ever since the first generation we have 5 members. Perhaps it is time for a return to the golden era of many girls (which arguably is not many when compared to AKB48). It is time for a return to new and exciting talent that make us want to fall in love with Morning Musume again. It is time for a new tomorrow where we will remember that Morning Musume was never meant to be v,w,x,y,z. It is time for a change, an unprecedented change.

~Siggy, who will drown his tears tonight in sushi and sake…~

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1 01 2011
Year in Review 2010 « Conflict Productions

[…] past summer held one of the biggest announcements to happen in a while. That is if Koharu’s graduation was a big deal (and it certainly was) […]

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