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6:00 PM on 10.31.2014

Idol of the Week: Ai Shinozaki

Name: Ai Shinozaki Birthdate: February 26, 1992 Hometown: Tokyo, Japan Measurements: 87/60/88 cm  When I haven't done Idol of the Week for a while I start to feel bad about depriving my dear friends of the lovely comp...

Hiroko Yamamura


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Japanator Interviews: Morning Musume '14 photo
Japanator Interviews: Morning Musume '14
by Hiroko Yamamura

After eleven amazing years, current Morning Musume '14 leader, Sayumi Michishige is graduating after their current tour. The super group known to fans as Momusu have been lighting up Japan's pop charts since 1997, and have absolutely no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. Michishige leaves the always revolving line-up to the other 13 girls, with new girls being added to the gorgeous line-up.

Morning Musume saw a big spike in popularity last year, after a few years of a lull. Many contribute the group's success to Michishige's unique presence and grace, as well as god given amazing looks. Before their show in New York earlier this month, Sayumi took a few moments to speak to me about her thoughts on leaving the mega-pop machine.

Japanator -  Michishige-san, thank you for taking the time to speak to your fans in the United States. What are your expectations for your upcoming show in New York? What do you think of U.S. fans?

Sayumi Michishige - U.S. fans always show such strong feelings, and it's been a long time since I've seen them face to face. They're going to see a new side of Morning Musume。with a lot more dancing.

Japanator - Morning Musume has had non-stop success since their first single, "Morning Coffee". What is the secret to the group's success and popularity?

Sayumi Michishige - Four new members were announced recently, and it's our biggest group in a long time. Morning Musume is constantly developing by adding unique and colorful members. I think that this style of group which never loses freshness grabs the heart of the fans.

Japanator - We are all very sad to hear you are graduating this year, and feel you have really been the face of the group for so long. Can you tell us about any immediate acting or singing projects you would like to announce?

Sayumi Michishige - It seems like it's coming up fast, but at the same time there's a lot of work to do until that day. I'm thinking about what I can do for MorningMusume right up until the end.

Japanator - What has been the hardest part of being the leader of Morning Musume? Are you a little relieved to be graduating?

Sayumi Michishige - The challenge is about how to treat and teach the junior members. I wanted to be in the position of a leader, but I had never actually been in that position before. So, at the beginning I agonized a lot.

Japanator - While visiting New York, is there anything you are hoping to do in your free time?

Sayumi Michishige - There are so many great places to see! New York is a place for fashion, so I'm thinking about that.

Japanator - Please give a message for your fans in the United States and the readers of Japanator.

Sayumi Michishige - It seems like a long time, but now we're coming to the U.S. and the moment has come to perform live in New York. We will perform with all we've got, so please follow us!

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8:00 AM on 10.04.2014

Morning Musume '14 to play in NYC this Sunday

Morning Musume changed their name this year into Morning Musume '14. I'm not 100% sure what that really means for the flagship idol group of Hello! Project, but they're having a concert in NYC's Best Buy Theater on Sunday, October 5th. You can get tickets here and partake their first live in New York. We'll be there to take a look.

Jeff Chuang

6:00 PM on 09.12.2014

Idol of the Week: Haruna Kojima

Name: Haruna Kojima Birthdate: April 19th, 1988 Hometown: Saitama, Japan Measurements: 80/60/86 cm  There a few things that you can count on in life. Death, taxes, and that AKB48 will continue showcasing s...

Hiroko Yamamura

8:00 AM on 09.08.2014

Even AKB48 want to kick Nintendo's butt

Nintendo's been ramping up the hype train for its next Super Smash Brothers game, and in Japan, that means getting AKB48 involved, naturally.  It's a good thing that one of the key features of the upcoming 3DS and ...

Josh Tolentino

4:00 PM on 08.22.2014

Idol of the Week: Sayumi Michishige

Name: Sayumi Michishige  Birthdate: March 4, 1987 Hometown: Miyazaki, Japan   Measurements: 87/58/86 cm   This week get our visit from our favorite member of Japan's hit sensation Morning Musume, Sayu...

Hiroko Yamamura

6:00 PM on 08.01.2014

Idol of the Week: Asuka Kishi

Name: Asuka Kishi Birthdate: November 4th, 1991 Hometown: Osaka, Japan Measurements: 90/58/88 cm  I actually know very little about this week's idol, Asuka Kishi. When I was looking online for the gal who ...

Hiroko Yamamura

6:00 PM on 07.11.2014

Idol of the Week: Sano Hinako

Name: Sano HinakoBirthdate: October 13, 1994Hometown: Tokyo, JapanMeasurements: 84/51/87 cm  This week's amazing idol is talented actress an model Sano Hinako. She's sporting a killer smile and lips that just don't quit. She's a super charming babe, that I would share a meal with anytime. However I just have to ask. What's with the knit hat in the tropical pictures? Is that a thing now?

Hiroko Yamamura

4:00 PM on 07.04.2014

Idol of the Week: Tomomi Itano

Name: Tomomi Itano Birthdate: July 3, 1991 Hometown: Kanagawa, Japan Measurements: 76/56/79 cm  While she may not be tearing up the stage as a member of AKB48 anymore, the always adorable Tomochin is enjoying a hugely su...

Hiroko Yamamura

6:00 PM on 07.02.2014

AKB48 handshake events to resume this weekend

After two members of AKB48 and one staff person were viciously attacked by a knife wielding idiot, I was pretty confident that the super-groups already creepy handshake events were coming to an end. The girls are often made t...

Hiroko Yamamura

4:00 PM on 06.27.2014

Idol of the Week: Risa Yoshiki

Name: Risa Yoshiki Birthdate: July 27, 1987 Hometown: Chiba, Japan Measurements: 80/59/88 cm  Since we're only on our second week of seeing amazing gravure idols from Japan, I thin it's best that we visit with some of...

Hiroko Yamamura





2:00 PM on 06.25.2014

Perfume are finally coming to the US!

I can't believe it. This year is freaking amazing for fans of Japanese pop music. First, we have the return of May'N at the J-Pop Festival in San Francisco. Next, we find out out the pint-sized head bangers of BABYMETAL are ...

Hiroko Yamamura

12:00 PM on 06.18.2014

A Daily Dose of Music: Especia

If you haven't noticed, the 80's is back in full swing in Japan -- whether the artists can effectively emulate the era or not. One pop group that is embracing the blown-out campiness of the era is Especia, as evidenced in this PV for No1 Sweeper.

Dae Lee

1:35 AM on 06.17.2014

BABYMETAL is coming to LA

When BABYMETAL announced its world tour this year, I was severely disappointed that the US was not listed in the schedule. But lo and behold, we just got breaking news tonight that BABYMETAL will be reigning its particular br...

Dae Lee

11:00 PM on 06.13.2014

Idol of the Week: Ai Shinozaki

Name: Ai Shinozaki Birthdate: February 26, 1992 Hometown: Tokyo, Japan Measurements: 87/60/88 cm The fact that Ai Shinozaki has decided to show her adorable face as well as other assets around here can mean only one thing,...

Hiroko Yamamura



ACEN '14: Wake Up, Girls! photo
ACEN '14: Wake Up, Girls!
by Jeff Chuang

Anime Central and Crunchyroll teamed up over the weekend and brought to the USA the anime-idol group Wake Up, Girls! I am more than excited to be able to cover them over the weekend and attend some of their events. Below the jump contains a list of pictures, questions and answers for the seven-girl idol team from their press panel, but also a few from the anime producer and director Hiroaki Takeuchi and Yutaka Yamamoto, respectively.

The Wake Up, Girls! attended ACEN to help promote their movie and TV show, both are currently streaming from Crunchyroll. And as those of you who have seen the show may expect, having the seven idols in front of you really does complete the full experience. Lastly, for the unfamiliar, the Wake Up Girls, from left to right (top image), are Miyu Takagi, Nanami Yamashita, Minami Tanaka, Mayu Yoshioka, Airi Eino, Kaya Okuno, and Yoshino Aoyama. On the left of WUG is director Yutaka Yamamoto, and on the right is producer Hiroaki Takeuchi.

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1:00 PM on 05.05.2014

Morning Musume '14 is coming to NY in October '14

Idols, while a huge part of the music and marketing culture in Japan, is incredibly niche overseas, making it hard for even the biggest acts to justify coming stateside for concerts. Morning Musume, despite it's deep history ...

Dae Lee

3:00 PM on 05.01.2014

Breakout idol Kanna Hashimoto now powers mobile game girlfriend

The Japanese mobile game Girlfriend (Beta) has an all-star seiyuu cast and launched late last year. It accidentally fueled a meme earlier this year, when veteran voice actress Sakura Tange's French-named character crunched o...

Jeff Chuang

5:00 PM on 04.14.2014

Wake Up, Girls! to shake up Anime Central

Anime Central announced last Friday that seiyuu-idol group Wake Up, Girls! will be attending as guests, along with their producers--anime director Yutaka Yamamoto and producer Hiroaki Takeuchi. Naturally the WUGs will be pres...

Jeff Chuang

11:00 PM on 03.29.2014

Cri-moe-a: Natalia Poklonskaya responds to getting anime-fied

Depending on where you get your news, the recent actions of the Russian government in the Ukrainian state of Crimea could be a correction of a historical mistake or the violation of a nation's sovereignty...or it could be an ...

Josh Tolentino

2:00 PM on 03.01.2014

2014 JSDF calendar will recruit you with cuteness

What's a better recruitment tool than cute girls? Japan's last recruitment tool, moe mascots for the JSDF, saw recruitment numbers rise by 20%, so why not try real girls? The 2014 JSDF calendar features models posing in unifo...

Brad Rice

1:00 PM on 02.21.2014

Are you lady?! New Idolmaster: All For One details

I'm a secret Idolmaster fan. Ok, maybe it's not so secret since I'm publishing that fact on the internet, but oh well. The reality is that I'm pretty excited for the new PS3 game, The Idolmaster: All For One. Players wil...

Elliot Gay





6:00 PM on 02.06.2014

Kana Hanazawa says 'no boys allowed' for meet & greet

Sorry guys, you're going to have to sit this one out in the cold. Kana Hanazawa's next meet and greet event is going to be a girls-only affair. The event, dubbed Kana Matsuri, will feature a meet and greet, live performance, ...

Brad Rice

12:00 PM on 02.04.2014

Utada Hikaru to tie the knot

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to have your still beating hearts ripped directly from your chest. The lovely Utada Hikaru is soon to be off the market, again. Yesterday, Hikki took to her website and announced to her fans that...

Hiroko Yamamura

4:00 PM on 02.01.2014

Cosplayers reenact Beyond the Boundary idol dance

Hey, remember that crazy filler episode of Beyond the Boundary where the whole crew tries to take down a monster by distracting it with an idol dance number? I seem to recall spending way more time writing about that inciden...

Karen Mead

10:00 AM on 01.24.2014

Wake Up, Girls! PV clips show idols in the flesh

The seven girls of Wake Up, Girls! anime are an unusual representation of their real idol selves as the group Wake Up, Girls! It's got this interesting gap going when the anime and the idol group is made in twain, one based ...

Jeff Chuang



First Impressions: Wake Up, Girls! photo
First Impressions: Wake Up, Girls!
by Jeff Chuang

When critic and director Yutaka Yamamoto announced that his next work would involve an idol group made up of girls from the Tohoku region, it was easy to be skeptical and make a face; I know I did. Given his outspoken and often controversial outbursts regarding not just his works but the state of the entertainment industry in Japan, it's easy to get cynical about his intentions. And, to be fair, anyone who's seen Fractale from start to finish may have second thoughts about watching another full-length TV anime from him.

With Wake Up, Girls (WUG for short), director Yamamoto is taking his ideas about anime and drama to the idol industry. It kicks off with a 52-minute movie, and that segues straight into a 1-cour TV show. This first impression piece will focus on the movie as well as the first episode of the TV anime, as the movie is almost a must-watch if you want the full WUG experience. Don't make the mistake of skipping the movie, because you'll miss out on what makes this series so unmistakably Yamamoto.

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1:00 PM on 11.27.2013

Let's dating Yukari Tamura!

[Update] With a heavy heart  I must inform you that the video has been taken down. But, if you are really curious, the Blu-ray is only $50! (Dot, dot, dot.) Ah, technology. It allows us to do things that we would normal...

Eric Koziol

3:00 PM on 11.25.2013

Kohaku New Years show to feature Linked Horizon

The 64th Kohaku Uta Gassen, or that NHK Kohaku new years variety show where top popular singers from teams red battle the same from team white, will feature Linked Horizon. And guess what they will sing?  Anime music has...

Jeff Chuang

5:00 PM on 10.29.2013

Arpeggio's Trident release first single, "Blue Fields"

Arpeggio of Blue Steel's ending theme "Blue Fields" features several of the voice actresses from the series, Mai Fuchigami, Manami Numakura, and Hibiki Yamamura, who've formed a virtual idol group with their characters from t...

Tim Sheehy