Thankfully AKB48 have resumed their performances at the Akihabara Theater.
It’s great when UK news station report on Japanese artists. But it’s such a shame that it had to be over a vicious attack. If you need a reminder, here’s how the UK newspaper The Independent reported it.
I won’t pretend to understand the details of the Japanese music industry, but it’s very admirable how the idol group hold performances at the theater nearly day. I’m sure this is a big revenue stream for them, and with the number of members in the group it would be important/fair to give each member chances to perform. But how many Anglo-American bands do you know who would perform that much? Performance is a very important foundation for AKB48.
When I started reading Tokyo Girls Update article, I was surprised at the level of increased security to the venue. Not just the increase in security staff (from 8 to 17 on the first day) but also the addition of elements like metal detectors (well that’s understandable), iron railings and restricting access to the first rows. However that was before I saw images of the Theater and where the girls perform. There are no barriers to begin with and it looks like a metre or two between the stage and the first row. That’s extremely close. I can’t remember ever going to a concert or gig where I could be that close. If you did manage to navigate the multiple barriers, blocks and raised staging the security guards would have already seen you coming and drop on you like a ton of bricks.
I will be very careful to try and not make any judgments. Their music is very accessible, energetic, upbeat pop. In UK it should be said that pop acts that sound and look like this would be considered just for children. It probably is appreciated by all generations. But in the audience photos there is a very recognisable social demographic, some of these girls are not even yet 20 and can easily attract unwanted attention. If the girls were nervous about going back on that stage as it was I can completely understand. As young women they deserve to not be harassed, be treated with respect and protected to allow to do fulfill their musical dreams
When I do visit Japan, one of the numerous things I will have to do and if I’m in the area is to see one of their performance. They are a dominating force in the industry and one of the most influential and popular idol groups in history!
You can read Tokyo Girls Update’s article on AKB48 resuming performances here.