Restarting the Old Rusty Engine
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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Kago Ai on Friday 5 ... Voices from Japan (Summary)

Belated post.

Firstly, I forgot February is only 28 days, thus I didn't pay my internet bills. And after I managed to reactivate my account, my PC crashed on me. And THEN when I managed to restore it, my ethernet card is giving me problems! *sigh*

Anyway, everything is fine now.

On topic then..... When I went to reactivate my internet account, I stopped by the bookstore and ...

... bought the issue of Kago Ai interview with Friday magazine. I'm having mixed emotions looking at it, although now this news is old. However, I was curious: How are response from the people from Japan with this news?

What I've found are based on reactions and comments from blogs, news sites and a short talk with handful of people residing in Japan. May or may not represent the entire fandom's voice as a whole.

On writing this, I realised that how greatly influenced I am by the popular (now cancelled) weekly Sunday Blog Roundup by Ray of AmericanWota.com. And it shows in the some parts of this article. Heh! ^_^ Don't worry if you cannot read Japanese. Just thought that I'd include my sources in here. So now you know where I mostly do my patrolling. ^_^

Firstly, news sites like Sanspo have acknowledged the exclusive by Friday. Even Yahoo! News have covered it as well with an article (sourcing from gendai.net), adding that there are concerns as to whether Aibon can make her comeback. It is commented that ex-Momusu members are suffering decreased activity, stemming from the current Morning Musume's drop in popularity. It drew such comparison like Goto Maki for being unable to create a wave with her recent sexy image and Nakazawa Yuko's decreased activity. Geinouscoop echoes this article. It further comments, being unsure whether Aibon could at least match up to Yaguchi Mari's current activity.

From the shores of Japan, blogger topspin1 begins by saying if Aibon returns to showbiz, she may be arranged to go on a "different route" and additionally notes that the 1 year suspension is good for Aibon - in a good way (in order to teach her a lesson, perhaps). Further stating that Aibon, due to her being one of the most popular girls back in her Morning Musume days, and had probably become arrogant. Coupled with stress, she became brave enough to smoke. (But I think influence from friends played a big part there too).

On the official return date - there is none announced. But by now, a lot of us have heard about the steady rumour about Aibon's return to showbiz on the graduation day of Yoshizawa Hitomi - 6th of May. Also noted by m.m.p. And I agree with him, and the commenters that posted on my previous posts - Aibon's reinstatement (if it ever happens soon) should NOT coincide with Yossie's graduation. It only makes sense, otherwise it will hurt the meaning of Yossie's graduation. But it's the comments left on that blog that caught my attention. Will explain below.

I found a collection of links of blogs and news sites about Aibon's news, and that's a LOT of links and cross-links. I wish I could join their community to post comments and ask questions, without looking like a complete under-informed gaijin noob. But I cannot, so here's a summary of what I discovered:

1) Aibon haters exist
2) Among blog commenters, a lot of them are pessimistic on Aibon's return.
3) There are no blogs or news sites that bad-mouth Aibon. Only commenters and BBS posters do that.
4) Some people think that the suspension is too short
5) Some compared Aibon's suspension to the ones within Johnny's Jr. And thought that is unfair that Aibon to be allowed to return to showbiz.
6) Some think that Aibon should not be allowed to return because what she did(smoking) had an impact on the younger generations, and that is unforgivable
7) Aibon has gone skinny (Duh!)
8) The "aura" that Aibon projected in the Friday interview emits negative energy. Not sure if Aibon can come back and resume the image back when before she got suspended.
9) Aibon has faded to a mere "normal girl"
10) Bloggers are more hopeful about her return, and agree that her return should not coincide with Yossie's graduation
11) Some think that Aibon has changed/matured. And they are love how she looks now.
12) A small number predicts that she returns when she is 20 years old.
13) Aibon may not be able to sing when she returns. Career path may be more on drama acting, like Yaguchi Mari.
14) "I can't wait for her to come back!"
15) "It's about time!"

..... etc etc etc.


After reading what I have found, I hate to admit it but as the Hello! Project management office(referring to UFA perhaps) said, they DO know what is going on and what's at stake to reinstate "Kago Ai" to the showbiz. And it is a difficult task - currently it is but, in their own words, a "blank sheet of paper". There ARE a bunch of people that have negative views on Aibon after the incident. I guess the plan to bring her back is much more tedious than we expect...

Of course, I do understand that they still have to guard their own interest at all costs. I can only hope that whatever they are planning to do, will pan out just fine. For now, whether the people hate her or love her... one thing's for sure - All the world's eyes are on Aibon.



As for me, Aibon had expressed her regret in the interview. After all, she has said the words I wanted to hear:

"歌いたい・・・"
(Utaitai ~ I want to sing...)

And that.... that matters most to me. Good luck, Aibon!

Thanks for reading.
Peace ^_^

10 comments:

JEN said...

I honestly still think a lot of people are relatively harsh on kago. i mean, abe's plagiarism issue, that to me is pretty bad, but she came back relatively quick. either plagiarism isn't seen as a big deal in japan or that she was too much of a money maker and UFA couldn't leave her out in the cold for too long.

but i have to say, kago looks like she's been completely broken - definitely not sure if she'll be the SAME kago. even if she wants to go back to her old self, it'll take time.

sidenote: i know this is a kago post - but what is it goto not being able to "sell" her sexy image. i would go out on a limb and assume guys would love it. or was it just too big of an adjustment? either way, i still think goto has class and its not some cheap skanky sexiness she's trying to sell. besides, we all know goto's not really like that - so it's all good. it's all just for stage. haha :)

Anonymous said...

"All the world's eyes are on Aibon"
hahahaha

Frox said...

Hmmm mixed reactions so it seems....
I'm just glad she's coming back.

Anna said...

I think Aibon will be at Yossie's grad...BUT only for just the MC part of it. Maybe sing a bit with Yossie's grad song..nothing solo or W(double you). It would mean that Aibon just wants to be happy for Yossie, not wanting to take the light.

I think Aibon should make some small appearances first off before anything big. Aibon is starting from the bottom by working backstage, so it's a good start.

Xacur said...

To Blame an artist for smoking... even when it's a bad exemple I think it's just weakminded. Parents must educate their children not the TV . Unforgetable? If you don't like her, well, just dont look at her, don't listen to her music, and don't mess with her.
Maybe it's just because my country is absolutely different to japan but I can't understand all those opinions.
And in the top of it "show must go on" and Aibon must sing if it's what she wants.

Aprilis said...

I half expected Japanese fans' reaction to be a negative one, but I'm glad there are Aibon supporters in Japan.

Maybe one year is too short... I mean sure, to us fans one year seems like a life time. But maybe Aibon really needs more time than one year to collect her thoughts and self.

Radicalpatriot said...

Very complete analysis on a very tough subject. Best track toward a comeback is for Aibon to try and use the coattails of W's as-yet-unreleased third album. Get those songs down, get with Nono (who seems to want to rebuild W) and start slowly choreographing again. That's the start. Slow and easy. The rest will come flooding back; I predict the fan reaction to be massive, overwhelmingly emotional and positive. The kid deserves to continue. She regrets the offensive behavior. One major issue: Will the rest of H!P accept a return? Won't this stick in the craw of many H!P hopefuls who religiously follow some pretty brutal rules? Yes, get it done after Yossi's graduation, and maybe even do it on TV, maybe on Yaguchi's show, with Nono. Slow ... and easy.

paul.thomas said...

It's good to see that there's some mixed feelings amongst the Japanese, I was worried that all the blogs would be completely rammed with hate for Aibon. I can kind of understand where they're coming from, they take all this idol business very seriously and as with everything idol based it's all about the image and her image in the past certainly doesn't mix with breaking the law and sitting around puffing on ciggies.

Although I have to agree Xacur, its down to the parents to educate and not the TV, but bearing in mind if you take the UK as an example, all the most famous pop stars that I know of go out and get completely smashed and if they can batter someone (normally a photographer or on the odd occasion the toilet assistant) or get their hands on some drugs all the better...Then you go out on a Saturday night and it's what everyone's doing (well at least down my way, Romford on a Saturday night...NIGHTMARE!), not that I'm blaming TV, but everyone has a role model don't they?

I also think that it's knocked her down a couple of pegs, before the incident I though both Nono and Aibon were *untouchable*, so who knows what Aibon thought.

All in all though, I'll be glad to have her back, it's been too long...and the idea of binging her back on Mari's show with Nono as well is pure genius!
Thanks, for checking all them posts jinryuichi I've been wondering for a while what the Japanese fans thought of all this.

Ayu-chan said...

Personally, I think it's good that Kago's coming back into the spotlight somewhat slowly. Although everyone's watching her like a hawk once again, she's not taking advantage of that, if you know what I mean.

If she's going to appear at all at Yossie's graduation, PLEASE let her show up at least once beforehand. that way it won't be this huge shock seeing Aibon on stage again. That could either boost or destroy Yossie's graduation, depending on your view of it.

This is a big year for the 4th gen, it seems. All that's happened and is happening to Yossie, Aibon's return, rumors of Nono going solo, Charmy and Biyuden doing well.

Maybe the whole 4th gen will show up for Yossie's graduation. Like... sort of like what happened with Asami and Miuna's graduation. Konkon showed up even though she wasn't a member of the group anymore. Perhaps the other three will come to congratulate Yossie?

Anyway, Aibon's return should happen either shockingly fast or progressively slow. In between is going to kill me...

Anonymous said...

aibonnineee tutte su con le maniiii (aibon came back please) alluccate ttutte assime mi arraccummanno (all united for aibon)

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