One thing that is really fascinating about living in Japan is seeing what’s considered “popular” here in the country. When I used to teach younger students, I would ask them about what kind of music they liked or something pertaining to pop culture. I noticed many patterns. Many of the students were into bands such as ARASHI, and Kanjani-8. Then, they showed me pictures of these artists. It is quite different than America!
If you watch mainstream movies and listen to popular music, you’ll see a trend. Handsome performers with big muscles and beautiful women. Comparing them to the male entertainers in Japan (which usually have incredible looking hair, but are a little thinner than American actors), the idea of what is “cool” in Japan compared to America is something that fascinates me. Although this is just one example, it is one of the most distinct differences between cultures.
Another aspect that is interesting about Japanese entertainment and popular culture, is the prevalence of the jimusho. In the US, actors and entertainers do have representation and agents, but the artist still collects a large amount of the money. I am not sure about the jimusho system however, as I read in the past that the people in charge of the promotion tend to make more money than the stars themselves. That was something I couldn’t believe. All in all, both cultures have interesting approaches to popular culture.
1) Who is your favorite actor or singer and why?
2) When is the last time you saw a movie? What did you see?
3) What do you think about pop culture or trends in Japan?
4) How often do you follow and listen to entertainment news?
5) What are jimusho and why do you think they are used in the Japanese media industry?
Key Words and Phrases:
pertaining / mainstream / entertainers
entertainment / prevalence / representation
in charge of / all in all
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