Dream Morning Musume, H!P, Morning Musume

In Which Isilie Weighs in on Koharu’s Ramblings


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Yeah, I said ramblings because I really don’t think she thought any of it through, in any way, at all.

If you want to read a transcript of Koharu’s comments regarding Momusu and so on, it’s here. PLEASE read that before you comment about any of it. It’s fairly long, but worth a look, especially if you like her and this news and “controversy” is upsetting you.

People need to stop talking about how “shocked” they are that people are taking this seriously.
Of course they are. It’s Koharu. People care what she says and it’s hard for them when what she says sounds bad. Bad as in: “Momusu was just there for me to get to modelling, the other girls feel this way, I want female fans because I’m sick of trying to appeal to male fans, I never noticed how hard Shige worked to take care of me” and so on. At least that is one reading of what she said.

Is it that bad?

Read the translation first.

Ok?

Read it?

I’ll ask again: is it that bad? I think it depends on what you’re looking for: if you don’t like her, you’re looking for rudeness and insults. If you love her, you’re dismissing everything as “not that bad” or “just how she is”. I’ve never been a fan, but I don’t feel a strong emotional response to her either way even when she tries to sing (although, I will never like her singing. Don’t try to argue with me on that, ok?). Let me weigh in here.

This whole thing made me have some deeper thoughts, but I’ll get to that in another post (love writing so much…but it’s hard). First of all, I just wanted to go through exactly why I had a problem with it. Yeaaaah, I didn’t like what she said.

Calm yourself, I’ll explain.

I’m not crying and I’m not enraged, exactly. At least not about her comments alone.

I’d describe it as a sort of irritated sense of the inevitable. Like I knew she’d say something like that eventually, even though Momusu gave her every opportunity in the world, including three photobooks that would serve as her introduction to her apparent career of choice. There have been a lot of claims about Koharu just being that sort of person, who doesn’t care where she is and will say whatever she wants. This is her charm.  I think it’s easy for a Western audience to feel that way. We tend to value outspokenness far more because it feels honest and gives the impression that the person is confident enough not to cater to others. Plus humiliating other people is funny.

I agree, to a point. And here it is:

MINI-RANT: I’d like to point out that too often people disregard courtesy and politeness as false and dishonest. It’s as though anyone who acts polite is really just a jerk who is too afraid to BE a jerk. That’s stupid. Everyone has jerky thoughts – we don’t have to state them outright simply because we thought them. The attitude to being courteous, or to censoring oneself, is often, “why should I?” That is also stupid. Why should you care about the people around you? Hmmm. I wonder… It seems ludicrous to me to demand tMMSingleCouplingPromohat people treat you with respect and then turn around and say you won’t do the same because “that’s just how I am”. That is not an excuse to be a jerk, alright? Choosing not to state your opinion because you’re in a certain situation is not lying. Some times it’s just being considerate so that another person doesn’t feel like a bag of crap.

I have to wonder if Koharu’s attitude didn’t hurt Shige’s feelings a bit. Like, “I did all of that for you and you weren’t even listening? And now you’re talking smack about my group and telling people I feel that way too!??” It bothers me that that wouldn’t bother Koharu. I don’t find that sort of attitude charming. I don’t care who it is. END RANT.

We’re so distrustful of happy-endings and platitudes, aren’t we?

Is it really so impossible that Shige is satisfied being in the group right now? Yes, it’s one of those idol lines that sounds too-good-to-be-true, but it’s not as unbelievable as something like, “We’ve never known love because the fans are our loves!” Is it really so impossible that past members and current members do simply love the group, or grew to love it? Do people hate Momusu that much? No one could POSSIBLY have wanted to be in it-?

Or I am hopelessly naive-?

It IS possible to plan for the future while still enjoying what you’re doing. And nobody said it was easy, but does it have to follow that every single member of Momusu hates it?

The fact that Koharu didn’t audition for the group because she liked it is probably true for a lot of the girls, I’ll grant you. Some are probably just ambitious, some might have needed money, some might have wanted to audition for something else instead, but ended up there. During a totalizer segment on Utaban in 2006 (if I remember correctly) quite a few of the girls answered “no” when asked if they would still join the group if they could do it all over again. We didn’t find out which girls felt that way and there was lots of speculation, but I don’t think fans were particularly hurt by thimg20121202141949505is. Plus, none of them talked about their male fans being tiresome. Ishikawa Rika made some comments, but she did it backstage and as far as I know, no one was supposed to hear that.

Saying something like that out loud, on a radio program, in front of someone who is still in the group is a little different. Koharu actually said it outloud and that makes it a million times more real that just implying it or talking around it. It might be true, but saying it like that really has the potential to hurt people. It’s also pretty rude.

Really, understand that Japanese culture is all about manners. Why do you think people bow to the frakkin’ phone!? It is important. We might find it ridiculous, but respecting your seniors, respecting social hierarchy is crucial in Japanese society. This was pointed out by Rob on a thread below the translation I’ve linked to. He’s actually pretty angry, much more than I ever have been about this, but I think he makes a valid point:

He writes, “I think Koharu’s manager must have had to apologize a shit ton after the show and you know what, I bet Koharu didn’t and probably for the life of her can’t figure out why anyone would get angry about her actions. If you still don’t get it, what Japanese people are upset about is that Koharu has literally used everyone for her own ends, all of the up front staff, managers, tsunku too. Now just doing that is fine but you always respect the people you “used” people like Sayumi for eg. You don’t say “was it really that hard??” and act all shocked, you apologize for your youthful behavior, thank Sayumi and you move on. You can keep your own private thoughts to yourself. I know it’s different to how things get done in the west but this is Japan.

While bloggers seem to understand that Koharu is just being herself and find her honesty refreshing, a lot of them still recognize that her comments put others in awkward positions and maybe even hurt some people. I wish that she cared about that. Maybe she does, but we’ll never know.

The wota need to be addressed a bit here, or the “male fans”. A majority of the fanbase is old men who creep people out (I’m assuming). Why does it follow that they are all old men, or all perverts? I’m not saying no one is in it for suspect reasons, but I’m not assuming all are either. Why does it follow that there is NOTHING but those old men in the fanbase? Whoever your fans are,  you don’t get to turn around and tell the people who literally invested in you that they were just a stepping stone to “better” fans.

Moment of devil’s advocate: She didn’t say “better” fans, just different. I understand she must be tired. If she didn’t get the image she wanted for Momusu and had to spend years projecting her Nutjob image for (in her eyes) a bunch of creeps who wanted her to act silly – then yeah, she must have been dying to be honest about this. But pick a more delicate way and leave Shige out of it. You should be mature enough to realize where you are, what position you’re placing your senpai in and why people might take offense.kusumi_koharu_pop_photobook_DHDlFPc.sized

I have to ask: WHY ARE YOU IN DREAM MOMUSU!? If even YOU don’t think you should be singing, then why are you? Is there someone forcing you to do this??

The last time I wrote something “mean” about Koharu, I got flamed. Every other comment is someone calling me something rude because I said she can’t sing. People are fiercely protective of her and I can respect that. I don’t hate her and I’m not going to dwell on this, but since it’s a recent story, I thought I’d comment. Writing things through always gets me to think it through also. So yeah, what she said irritated me, but my feelings towards her are still indifference.

Read it for yourself, or listen to it. Make up your own mind, especially if you’re a fan.

I asked myself if Yossy had said something like this, how would I react? Well, it would probably really upset me. Would I stop being a fan? Probably not. I’d probably rationalize it to myself somehow. So I get it. I really do. I think that the only generations in Momusu history who wanted to join the group because they liked the group are probably the second and fifth generations (a theory I won’t explain yet). As for the fourth and the sixth on? Not so sure. There are so many reasons someone would want to join.

Maybe for Shige it was initially just about stalking Takahashi Ai for kissy-times fame. Maybe she grew to love the group – weirdo fans and all.

Forgive me, but I don’t think that’s impossible.

~Isilie

5 thoughts on “In Which Isilie Weighs in on Koharu’s Ramblings”

  1. I will admit that when I first read the translated article, I was somewhat shocked. But then I sat back and thought to myself ‘Really, I’m not surprised… Koharu seems like the type who would put her foot in her mouth like I tend to do.’ I do think that she does not think or process what the heck she’s doing.

    I think that what I did forget when reading this article and dismissing it, though, is that it’s impolite and very wrong in the eyes of the Japanese. I constantly forget that the Japanese are polite and do not like this sort of thing, so I can see where this is a terrible thing and extremely wrong on Koharu’s part. Again, she puts her foot in her mouth, but I doubt she thinks about the consequences either like you suggested. Also, when I read the article, there was one bit I was truly offended by and that was her questioning Sayu’s love for MoMusu.

    I think that Sayu genuinely loves MoMusu. Maybe not in the beginning, but right now you can see that she puts her heart and soul into the group. When Koharu suggested that Sayu only went in for selfish intentions (which is possibly true) and is still there for the fame aspect, I just felt a little speechless. Then again, Koharu was the sort who seemed to be the lone wolf. I actually don’t think she really cared about any of the members outside of Aika and possibly Gaki.

    I love this post by the way. You always make sense and make me see sense. Isilie my IDORU!!!!!

    1. Awww. Well, I’m a little harsh when it comes to attitudes like that. It bothers me so I get critical, but no, I don’t think Koharu had malicious intent. She likely wasn’t thinking and I don’t think Shige suffered any permanent damage. It’s always hard when your idols say things that shock you. I’ve had so many moments like that. And like I said, if it had been Yossy, I would have been shocked and upset. Some times the politeness seems absurd to me (like the bowing to the phone thing – I saw people doing that in Japan and it was bizarre to watch), but I have to keep remembering that the culture is just so different. I have no idea if she was close to any of the members, but hearing how she treated Shige, it doesn’t seem likely. o_0

  2. About half way through Koharu’s time in Morning Musume, I really, really started to dislike her. She just seemed incredibly fake to me and that she didn’t want to be in the group. Her voice and personality annoyed me to no end. I ask you, what charm? Wanting it to be all about them in Koharu’s case just doesn’t kick it. She got so many opportunities that the others didn’t get because Tsunku wanted an ace, a miracle. What miracle? For most of the time that she was in the group (except for Reina) she was surrounded by girls who loved being in Morning Musume. She’s basically just shat on everyone she’s ever worked with in the past and her chances of getting any kind of work on radio or variety are now slim-to-none because of these antics.

    There’s being honest and then there’s just being an ass. Koharu’s being an ass if you ask me.

  3. I think that there are a couple in 9th and 10th gen that actually want to be there… and a couple that didn’t but I think Koharus attitude was totally wrong here. Poor shige, I think she genuinely likes MM at the moment, probably because she’ll know that she doesn’t have long left and she’s old enough to understand how good she has it (unlike when she was younger). I originally did like Koharu but before she left MM I kind of was over her, I haven’t been following her since but I’ve always been curious about her book (as well as Kago’s(and she probably joined for the money))

  4. as a newbie fan, when i first started watching MM stuff, i was doing so sporadically: Going from 2nd generation, to the 9th, then back to 3rd and back to 7th and so on…What i’m about to say will probably offend some people out there, but it’s not my intention but mere observation when i first saw her. When Tsunku chose Chinese girls, JunJun & LinLin, i thought, here was a guy who has a heart to hire internationally and give them an opportunity to make it in the entertainment business in Japan. When Tsunku chose Koharu, my INITIAL thought when i saw her being introduced at the Spring ’05 concert was, I thought Tsunku was once again being a good guy, a DARING type of businessman, for choosing a mentally retarded student and give her a chance to make it in the entertainment business. I don’t mean to sound nasty when I say that (i have yet to watch Koharu’s audition so i didn’t know better), that was my first response when I observed her. There was just something about her that screamed mentally challenged for some reason. Of course, as I watched more MM stuff over the summer to catch up on MM history, it came to me that Koharu was not a mental retard.

    Going back to this article…i agree in most aspects with what the author has to say. One thing i noticed in most blogs and youtube comments from those who defend her though that bugs me is they always say, “well she’s the type of person who always puts her foot in her mouth” so she’s “excusable.” Problem with that attitude is that, she’s no longer a 12 year old girl but a grown 20-something year old woman. It makes it seem that she might actually be either a mentally challenged person or an immature grown adult. Also, she spent a good 2-3 years? (i still don’t know how long she’s been a MM member) with Morning Musume to have the chance to know each member’s feelings, thoughts, expectations…what she said about Sayu was very hypocritical considering Koharu openly admitted she only wanted to be in MM because she wanted to model and hoped someone would notice her. My interpretation of that was, I think Koha wanted to be THAT….what Sayu has now: leader of MM /H!P and getting the attention so that people will notice. But because she needed to work to the top to achieve it and was only hindering her further from being a model, why bother…isn’t that what she admitted on radio (just sayin’). Personally, i thought she was alright in the looks department. I kind of laugh at wota’s who, to this day, think she’s better looking than Sayu. I don’t argue with them since beauty IS subjective, like a painting. But thing is, i always thought Koharu had bad teeth and asymmetrical facial features. At least Sayu never had to resort to getting dentures to fix her up, and I always felt Sayu’s beauty was on par with Audrey Hepburn or Natalie Portman–classic, demure, and elegant. Watching the cooking show where she had only 10K yen to live off of for a month made me realize Sayumi is MORE than a face or a JPop entertainer. The show revealed her maturity, her intelligence and her personality. The fact that she took on the helm as MM leader and turned it around when fans were bailing or because of other competition and re-ignited MM to the top of JPop once again revealed her loyalty and devotion to not only MM but CHOOSING to be in entertainment in the first place. It was vindication. It was refreshing. Sayumi seemed destined for this and it solidified her, to me, as one of THE best MM and JPop idols i’ve ever seen. I doubt Koha has the maturity, wit, personality or intelligence to do what Sayumi is capable of doing.

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