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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Romance of the Wotagei ~ ヲタ芸のロマンス

In the beginning, there was Japan. Then the Japanese created "idols". And for a time, it was good... RRRIIPPPP!!!

Okay, enough of the Animatrix reference, but I swear its soundtrack was playing my head while I was typing this post. ^_^

Why I did create this post for such an old topic? Because I have recently discovered that there is wotagei in my neighbourhood. Check this out, this culture is now in Malaysia!!

Man, I didn't think it was possible~~~~ Obviously I was wrong... (^_^;)

According to fellow blogger Artszfar of, the guys read from this blog about the time when visited a karaoke centre called Yumekukan in Plaza Mont Kiara. Then they gathered their army and their Morning Musume T-Shirts, booked a room and did the Wotagei. (Funny, because that karaoke centre was at the ground floor of the building where my office is located. How did I miss it? Haha~~~! ^_^)

Well anyways, "what IS wotagei?". For the benefit of those who don't know yet, it's a unique Japanese culture where a group of concert goers would include hand-clapping, cheers and dance routines during a song performance by their favourite idols. It serves to increase the tension of the song and as a way for the fans to show their love and support to the performers. As this culture was a trademark for wotas (Morning Musume otaku), it was aptly named "wotagei" (lit. "the art of wota").

The discovery of this culture began when the performers and concert staff started to notice some fans spinning around while jumping during concerts. Further investigations found their answers in Akibahara, the material haven for wotas. In fact they are an organised group of people, and have set up headquarters and clubs in many cities in Japan. (Kinda like the mafia. ^_^)

This culture is arguably exclusive only to Hello! Project, though it should be noted that the wotagei has already extended to other acts such as AKB48. Generally, many still believe that this form of art is born out of Hello! Project concerts. Out of the many H!P songs, the wotagei is most closely affiliated to Fujimoto Miki solo hit "Romantic Ukare Mode". But it need not necessarily be only for Mikitty's song, any other (preferably up-beat) songs is just as good.

Today, this culture has travelled across the oceans and has been embraced by many international wotas. At the top of this post, the Malaysian wotas are enjoying themselves, forming an (unofficial) H!P Fan Club.

A while ago I saw a video clip of a bunch of guys in Mexico singing "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari" in a subway train and another clip of the same guys doing the wotagei on the train. (Annoying the hell out of the other passengers obviously ^_^). Now we have a properly organised Mexico H!P F.C. doing the deed in front of the bronze Angel of Independence statue.

I'm thinking that some these people have probably been to Japan, maybe stayed there for some time, and later brought the culture back to their home country.
So I'm pretty sure other countries may have adopted the wotagei as well, especially Taiwan, Hongkong and Korea.

As for me,..... I do not know how do it and most certainly did not practice the wotagei. I wanted to say that I'm too old for that kind of action, but suddenly remembered that some of the Japanese wotas are over 30 or pushing 40. I guess my way of being a fan is different...

Personally I think it's okay to show your support to your favourite H!P idol in whatever way you wish, whether it's the wotagei way or the common way. Some of you may think it's a bit extreme, but I look at it as being the most basic and pure way of showing love not in words, but in "actions". Just remember that it does not apply to every single concert. Imagine doing the wotagei in a Beyonce Knowles or Westlife concert... (^0^)

\\(^0^) Urya~ Oi!! (^0^)// Urya~ Oi!! \\(^0^) Urya~ Oi!! (^0^)// Urya~ Oi!!



Anonymous said...

very interesting. i wounder how h!p members feel about it. i remember watching a clip where wotas danced in a room with berryz koubou behind the curtains listening. when the curtains droped they were so supprised

Xacur said...

¬¬ It's always the same Miki-sama, the same song, the same dance, and the same video reference...
Wotas are limited to Miki only?
^^ Sorry never liked that wota thing and is one of the biggest reason why I don't like MIki... right now I'm thinking I could have liked Miki at least a bit, if was not for those wotas,
I hope people don't confound wota with jpop fan, would be a shame.
Here in Mexico there are some self-proclaimed wotas too.
^^ they are energetic
Even thou good post ;)

Skyline said...

I wish that I could say that wotas are the primary reason I don't like Miki, but I can't. They are, however, a major contributing factor, and the reason that I can no longer listen to "Romantic Ukare Mode" ever again.

KuS-KuS said...

I have a question. Do these guys realize that hey probably freak the hell out of the h!p girls?(I remember hearing some secret backstage recording of Makoto(?) and Kago(?) saying it was creepy or something like that, I don't know if it was fake or not though)
I know the question sounds a little harsh towards them, but it's just probably the truth. I actually think it's fine doing it. I do find it weird, but it's better letting them have their fun.

Xacur said...

Yes, as long as they don't mess with anyone they have the right to do what they want with their wotagei.
And I think it was Rika who was recorded...

Hellofan1 said...

I'm very glad for your coming back Jin. I've got to tell you I already knew about the wota thing in Mexico and I love the wotagei, because it matches perfectly with H!P songs. It's a whole system that allows creativity by itself. I think it'll spread in every country where there is an H!P fanclub in the end as well. As far as I know the idols just think it's funny and they've even been mimicking them from time to time lately.

Mick a.k.a. jinryuichi said...

@Anon... Aye, that is one funny show. The girls seem to find it awkward, but in any case, I think they are used to it by now.

@Xacur... Every wotagei starts with Mikitty's "romantic ukare mode", i guess. that has to be the first song they ever learn to dance to. And yeah, Rika was taped as well, Makoto and Aibon too.

@KuS-KuS... Actually, most of them wotas think that their wotagei motivates the girls. ^_^ Yeah, it's weird...

@Skyline... Same here. But I prefer Mikitty in Morning Musume rather than solo.

@Hellofan1... Thanks, it's good to be back. ^_^ Are you from Mexico too? Do you know those wotagei guys ?

Anna said...

xD As a girl, I find it uncomfortable, but yet I come to understand it a bit more because it's their way of showing affection during concerts and perfs, so I guess I'm use to it.

I still remember Koichi of Kinki Kids imitating them on his show. XD

Mick a.k.a. jinryuichi said...

@anna.... Yeah, from Doumoto Kyodai show, right? ^_^
however, I am curious how those guys are able to perform those erratic moves in a crowded concert. Perhaps they cannot...

Gaki said...

H!P supporters adopted the Otagei because H!P songs easy match the Otagei performance .Romantic Ukare -Mode is the one that matches the best to the Otagei performance of all H!P songs .

The culture is a lot deeper ingrained in society then you may believe .H!P has supporters at Universities that do it and sporting events it takes place

Waseda University

J-League Football (Soccer) team Kawasaki Frontale ( in full wota dress)

It is also not limited to the dances . Ogawa has pro speed boat racers who are her fans ,who have a race called the P-Mako Cup in her honor .

I hope that you don`t mind me adding this link as it`s not H!P related , but I think it will support your article as this not being limited to H!P.

Fan Girls of the Vision-Kei rock bands have their own routine to show their support . It`s different for each band as they follow the lead of the singer and his arm movements.

Antic Cafe and their fan girls

Hellofan1 said...

I am not a mexican, I am peruvian. I haven't been able to meet any mexican wotagei performer personally. But I've had the chance to study closely the wotagei, because there's plenty of of information available in spanish about the steps on the internet, and a manual.

Mick a.k.a. jinryuichi said...

Gaki, you stole my next blog post! (>_<)

Actually, I have prepared a follow-up post to this one in draft mode, where I will be talking about the emergence of wotagei that took place outside of the boundaries of H!P concerts. Similar examples with yours. The cafe girls, sporting events... etc. The P-Mako and Waseda Uni examples were news to me though. Kinda... bizarre, methinks. (^_^;)

I was also going to mention the Wobagei where a group of comedians mock the wotagei by dressing up as obasan and doing the wotagei. (I think it's recent)

But in any case, many thanks for additional info, I appreciate the input. Please by all means, include any more comment that you want to share with us if it is related to the topic, I'd love to read them. (^_^)/

Mick a.k.a. jinryuichi said...

@hellofan1... That's cool. So you must have a group of buddies to do the dance together then. Could you perhaps email that manual you mentioned to me? Just curious... ^_^

I found some tutorial videos of the wotagei myself, though they don't really break down the steps for a complete song, like "romantic ukare mode".

wu-san said...

haha, what a find mick :P

can you tell me if Morning Musume was around In Malaysia in 2004? just in terms of records being in stores, as 2004 is the last time I was back in Malaysia, and I'd explored my fairshare of music stores etc...Maybe I held in my hands something H!P without even knowing it, as I had no idea what H!P was back then.

Anyway, I can't believe the Malay Wotagei was so close to you :P

Anonymous said...

oh.. i miss the gath though .. damn because of my tutorial and class is on the next day and i study in Terengganu... anyway it was really fun. maybe next time i try to participate too!


Gaki said...

I am just glad that I could be of help and could contribute .The races are very new , it`s to honor their birthdays . It just started happening one day and is gaining in popularity .

Aichan, Junjun, Eri and Reina were recently on TV and they used a mock wota in the segment with them . MM played along with it .

Some more examples for you to consider
Waseda is not the only University that is doing this , a number of the top private Tokyo Universities have followers of MM .
Keio University
Tokyo University

You mentioned that your update will have maid café girls . In 2006 a mini drama came out about maid café girls . It had 6 parts each 15 mins long . This is one of the episodes ,it has English subs .In part 2 a Otaku explains to one of the maids why they like maid girls . Replace maids with idols and the same thing can be said by H!P supporters .
Pt 1
Pt 2

クリス said...

I was the only member of Hello! Project Fanclun Mexico who traveled to Japan and met a lot of wotas there...

Now, I was expelled from that club but I really don't care... I love also doing wotagei with anime songs or other Akihabara related songs...

Here's my blog:

And here's my Youtube channel:

Keep in touch with wotagei, female idols love it... ;)

Gaki said...

Ogawa`s boat race . A little bit of clearing up . The wotas set it up . There are pro MM & H!P people involved with the races and the coverage . They had one for Sayu`s Birthday .

Anonymous said...

MM and all of H!P really seem to feed off the wotagei energy. When I first started seeing videos of their live concerts I thought I was going mental. Thousands of people cheering and dancing in unison, I'd never seen anything like that before. I wonder if it freaked MM out the first time it happened on a large scale.

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