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Nogizaka46’s Official Website Unintentionally Posts Internal Staff LINE Chat on August 27, 2017. Member Idols Mentioned. English translation provided.

On August 27. 2017, Nogizaka46’s official website unintentionally posted an internal staff LINE chat on this page (they took it down quickly, as one would expect): http://www.nogizaka46.com/news/releases/

We translated the contents of the LINE chat (presented side-by-side with the original Japanese screenshot).  Members are mentioned, but there’s no serious scandalous material (except that Akimoto Manatsu has an “erotic” persona behind the scenes, Sasaki Kotoko is technologically challenged, and Nishino Nanase could be a diva).  It gives a brief look into what’s keeping staff busy these days and how they refer to and discuss the member idols.  The biggest aftermath among Japanese fans is ire at how silly and unprofessional the staff were to have allowed such a leak to happen.  The best guess as to how it happened is that a staff member meant to copy text (a blurb about the Asahinagu movie) and paste it into the official website but instead of copy they hit screenshot and pasted that in.  Voila.

Here is a link (archived) to a Japanese webpage that covered it as it occurred (taking excerpts from 2channel).  Someone posted a screenshot from their mobile of the page when the LINE chat was still posted on the official website.

Translation: Conjyak
Typesetting: Veiem

Nogizaka46 LINE leak imagew.jpg

 

Pay and Television Appearances in the Japanese Entertainment Industry

I found some interesting sources (both in Japanese) on pay and television appearances in the Japanese entertainment industry.  I don’t know how reliable these sources are, but, well, they’re still interesting.

Pay

http://geinoupro.com/guarantee.html
Archived

Unfortunately, there’s no clear date for these numbers, but it says “2016” at the bottom of the page.  There are a bunch of different categories and in each category are listed some famous people/examples and their estimated yearly earnings/pay per project.

(Generally speaking, 100 million yen ≈ 1 million USD, or 100 yen ≈ 1 USD.)

In the actors section, there’s Takeda Tetsuya, who has appeared in the Gaki No Tsukai New Years Eve Batsu before and is also very often parodied in Gaki No Tsukai and other comedy shows, at 80 million yen/year.

In the actresses section, there’s Yoshitaka Yuriko, who has appeared in the Gaki No Tsukai New Years Eve Batsu before, at 260 million yen/year.

In the singers section, some names that have been parodied in Gaki before: Kuwata Keisuke, Yazawa Eikichi, and Mori Shinichi.

In the comedians section, there is (limiting mentions to people who are both famous and whom I know have appeared on Gaki before) Matsuko Deluxe (she shouldn’t be in this section.  She should probably categorized as a general/non-specific tarento), Hamada Masatoshi and Matsumoto Hitoshi, Miyasako Hiroyuki and Hotohara Toru (Ameagari Kesshitai), Chihara Junior, and Sekine Tsutomu.

Some of the highest sports earners are Tanaka Masahiro (MLB), Kuroda Hiroki (MLB; last played in 2014, though, so the list may be from that year or older), Nishikori Kei (tennis), Darvish Yu (MLB), Ishikawa Ryo (golf), Kagawa Shinji (Premier League, Bundesliga), Honda Keisuke (Serie A), and Ichiro (MLB).

Creators of the biggest manga are high up there: Oda Eiichiro of One Piece and Toriyama Akira of Dragonball taking in A-list Hollywood/CEO level yearly earnings.

Variety TV show pay: the production costs for one hour of a prime time variety show ranges from 20 million to 30 million yen.  An A-list MC for such a program (e.g. Downtown) earns 2 million to 3 million yen while major guests go from 300k to 800k yen and medium level comedians from 100k to 300k yen.

Drama TV: production costs for prime time dramas cost per hour anywhere from 15 million yen to 70 million yen.  NHK Taiga dramas are in a different tier, spending more than 100 million yen per hour.   The lead role in a drama (1 season about 4 months) takes in from 1 million to 2 million yen per episode.

Work outside of TV/media (for example, entertainment at some event): Medium-level comedian earns between 200k and 500k yen/event, a top model at 500k yen, and an A-list tarento at 1 million yen.

For TV show appearances (I think non-MC, so as a guest), an A-list tarento earns between 1 million to 2 million per episode on the major national networks (half for TV Tokyo, since TV Tokyo is a regional network).

Producers at major TV networks earn from 10 million (mid-level) to 20 million yen and above (executive producer) per year, producers at production companies earn about 500k yen per year, and an AD (assistant director) at a production company earns around 180k yen per month.

But the most interesting information to me here, at the bottom of the page, is how the revenue of entertainers is split between the entertainer and the talent management agency in which he or she resides.  Talent agencies in the Japanese entertainment industry are really powerful and I would say are an oligopoly that sit squarely in the middle of the negotiating table between the entertainers and the places at which they hope entertain (TV, movies, commercials, events, etc.).

Here is a ranked list of the most powerful talent agencies, from the same website: http://geinoupro.com/top100.html.  (Archived.)  At number 3, you see Yoshimoto, Downtown’s talent agency, as well as that of the rest of the Gaki cast (Hosei, Cocorico, even License).  A huge majority of (if not practically all) Kansai-based comedians are from Yoshimoto.

An entertainer finding any kind of entertainment work on the side without going through their agency is a no-no (probably has that in their contracts).  If the MC of a popular TV show is from a certain talent agency that’s powerful, the agency can stuff that show’s guests every episode with their own entertainers.  If you notice that the participants/guests at shows hosted by Downtown or Ninety-Nine seem to be over-represented by Yoshimoto comedians, that’s not a coincidence.

On the other side of that, if you cross a talent agency, you can get blacklisted.  If a powerful agency denies a TV network its stable of comedians or star actors, that’s major trouble for that network’s variety shows and dramas.  If a powerful agency has good relations (or demands good relations, using its power as a stick) with other agencies and networks, a blacklisted entertainer will have real trouble getting any kind of work (the term for this in Japanese is 干される, “to be dried.”  Kinda sounds like the English “hung out to be dried,” but blackballed or blacklisted is the real meaning).  The usual ways that can happen to an entertainer is if he angers someone high up or tries to break his contract either to try to move to another agency or go independent (create his own agency).  Trying to move to another agency – which one would think should be made easy for entertainers in a capitalist economy – is tricky especially if agencies are on good terms with each other and want to limit turnover and instability in their stable of entertainers.  Trying to create your own agency, of course, is just adding a purely new entrant into the market, so you wouldn’t expect other agencies to really like that.  Yet, moves to other agencies and creations of new agencies do happen, either because the entertainer is on good terms with their current agency (probably the most important factor) or when it’s a move to a larger/more powerful agency (e.g. a regionally successful tarento moving to national-level media) or when it’s a powerful entertainer creating their own agency.  For example, Downtown probably could create their own agency if they really wanted to.  Beat Takeshi created his own talent agency.

But let’s go back again to how the revenue of entertainers is split between the entertainer himself and the talent agency in which he or she resides, on the bottom of this page.  What I noticed (and what you might already have heard if you watch Japanese variety TV and entertainers speak about this subject – it’s not a secret or anything and is openly talked about on TV) is how large a share of an entertainer’s revenue agencies take and how much it varies.  Note that this is how revenue from individual appearances (TV, movies, events, etc.) are shared.  I believe entertainers get a base salary that’s separate from this.

Talent Agency: Entertainer’s share to Agency’s share

Avex: 9 to 1
Asai Kikaku: 7 to 3
Office Kitano (Beat Takeshi’s talent agency): 7 to 3
Ota Production: 6 to 4
Jinrikisha: 6 to 4
Sun Music: 6 to 4
HoriPro Com: 5 to 5
Watanabe Entertainment: 5 to 5
Ken-On: 3 to 7
Jobby Kids: 3 to 7
Shochiku Geinou: 2 to 8
Yoshimoto Creative Agency (Downtown’s talent agency): 1 to 9
Not found on that page but from Wikipedia is HoriPro (HoriPro is the parent company of HoriPro Com): 0 to 10 (i.e. salary only).

HoriPro is actually a major agency (ranked 4th in that list from above) with some big names.  I assume that their big names are able to negotiate high salaries for themselves, but yup, the crazy thing is that their entertainers get no revenue from individual appearances, i.e. for each piece of work that they do.  Yoshimoto isn’t much different at 1 to 9.  The reasoning I believe is that agencies like that will help their entertainers by finding them jobs (or “allot them jobs,” considering how powerful they are) and if they’re successful, negotiating with the networks to give them their own shows.  For example, Yoshimoto might negotiate with a TV network to try to get Cocorico their own show.   And then you have some agencies that are 9 to 1 or 7 to 3 (Kyaeen is from Asai Kikaku).  Perhaps these agencies don’t give as much support to their entertainers?  Being a smaller agency might also mean that they just don’t have the power to give that support (nor to attract entertainers if they took too much of the revenue), so they give good rates to their entertainers.  Avex is mainly in music, so the situation there might simply be different.  Rather than having to deal with an oligopoly of major TV networks (NHK, NTV, TBS, Fuji, Asahi), maybe music sales are more of a meritocracy?  As long as you have sales one way or another, your power as a musician rises, so a giant middleman agency guarding the gates to TV media is much less powerful there.

Agencies that take up a lot of the revenue may also be able to financially support their middle and lower ranks more.  In effect, Yoshimoto might take Downtown’s revenue and financially support its huge number of up-and-coming (or even failing) comedians who aren’t on TV at the moment.  In return, Downtown gets in-kind support – basically an army of underlings who can be personal assistants or proteges at any time for them.  In a way, in these kinds of talent agencies, perhaps they’ve turned the existence of an entertainer almost into a white collar worker in a large company.  Downtown is effectively like a C-level executive of the sales department.  Downtown is responsible for the movement of a lot of money into the company but he doesn’t personally take home all of it and instead the money is used by the company to support the rest of the staff below.  In return, Downtown has a huge number of subordinates for whatever they might need – from doing their dry cleaning to appearing at the last minute on one of their shows as a guest (which of course doubles as an opportunity for that subordinate to further his career).

Television Appearances (and TV Commercial Sponsors)

Here are links to lists of entertainers who had the most television appearances and TV commercial sponsors in recent years.

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Interestingly, you don’t see Downtown in these.  I think because Downtown MCs a lot of shows, they appear in those shows once a week.  Perhaps because MCing takes more time in some cases (e.g. for Gaki No Tsukai, Matsumoto thinks up and decides on what segments and series to do), or simply because MCs are paid more, or because MC-level tarentos don’t want to dilute their brand, MC-level tarentos tend to not appear as guests on other shows as much and stick to their own shows.  On the other hand are some tarentos who don’t MC as much but appear in a lot of programs as guests.  Some entertainers who are perennially at the top of these lists (generally tarentos who both MC and appear as guests on other shows a lot) are Shitara Osamu of Bananaman, Ariyoshi Hiroiki, Okubo Kayoko of Oasiz, and Matsuko Deluxe, who’s also often near the top of the CM lists.  Rola for a few years was also near the top in appearances, and continues to be near the top of the CM lists.

Gaki No Tsukai, #1355, aired May 14, 2017, Tanaka Divorce Excerpt, Subbed

This is a short subbed clip of an excerpt from Gaki No Tsukai episode 1355, aired on May 14, 2017, in which the cast mentions and ribs Tanaka for his divorce from Kohinata Shie.  So far, this is the only mention during Gaki No Tsukai of Tanaka’s recent divorce.

Thank you to Veliem for typesetting!

[Edit: Here is a link to a later Gaki No Tsukai episode where they feature Tanaka and his divorce and here is a link to an earlier post about details on the divorce when it first became public.]

DL: MG
Key: !FsvCod-9yK1ibrvqgblFiSVQvfdv5SBF8ITnQ8hMUUU

Streaming: YTDM, VK

FB, TW

Untitled

Fan of Suda Akari arrested over threatening tweets. Translated news article and the arrested fan’s tweets.

Implied Threat to Murder SKE48 Suda Akari. Male Fan Arrested. States that He “Liked Her Too Much.”

https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20170615-00000356-tokaiv-soci (Link has died since this post was made.  Original Japanese is pasted after the translation below.)
June 15, 2017. Transmitted at 21:19. Tokai TV.

A 46-year-old male office worker living in West Ward, Nagoya City was arrested for writing implied threats of murder on the Twitter of a member of idol group SKE48.

Arrested was Matsui Hideo (46 years old). The suspicion is that in May of this year, he threatened SKE48 member Suda Akari (25 years old) by writing implied threats of murder such as “Die” on her Twitter.

Suda saw the writings and filed a report with the police. When police investigated, they were able to identify that it was the act of Matsui, the suspect, who had frequently attended Suda’s events.

During interrogation, Matsui said that he, “Liked her too much and did it out of jealousy,” and is thus admitting to the charges.

The police believe that Matsui was unhappy seeing Suda interact only with other people on Twitter, which led to his acts.

Tokai TV

Original Japanese text:

SKE48須田亜香里さん殺害をツイッターで示唆 ファンの男逮捕 「好き過ぎて…」と供述

アイドルグループSKE48のメンバーのツイッターに、殺害を示唆する書き込みをして脅迫したとして名古屋市西区に住む46歳の会社
員の男が逮捕されました。

逮捕されたのは、西区の会社員・松井秀夫容疑者(46)で今年5月、SKE48のメンバー・須田亜香里さん(25)のツイッターに「 死ね」などと殺害を示唆する書き込みをして脅迫した疑いが持たれています。

書き込みを見た須田さんが被害届を出したため警察が捜査をしたところ、須田さんのイベントに頻繁に訪れていた松井容疑者の犯行と特定されたということです。

調べに対し松井容疑者は「好き過ぎて、その嫉妬からやった」と容疑を認めているということです。

警察は松井容疑者が自分以外の人とばかりとツイッターでやりとりをしている須田さんに不満を持ち犯行に及んだとみて調べています。


Below are Matsui Hideo’s tweets with translations:

pic1

pic2

pic3

pic4


Translated by: Conjyak
QC, Edited by: Veliem

Tanaka of Cocorico and Kohinata Shie to Divorce. Custody of Two Sons goes to Tanaka.

Here is a translation of a Sponichi article on May 2, 2017, followed by summaries of discussion on the divorce from High Noon TV Viking! on May 3 and Wide na Show (a talk show hosted by Matsumoto) on May 5.

Original article: http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/news/2017/05/02/kiji/20170502s00041000135000c.html

Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20170502190307/http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/news/2017/05/02/kiji/20170502s00041000135000c.html


May 2, 2017

Tanaka Naoki (46 years old) of comedy duo “Cocorico” announced on the 2nd that he obtained a divorce.  A divorce by mutual consent was agreed upon and the divorce papers were already filed.

Tanaka announced by fax, “Apologies for the personal affair, but I, Tanaka Naoki, have divorced Kohinata Shie.  This conclusion was reached after discussing over the matter many times.”

Tanaka will have custody of both children – two sons – but nothing else was made public and there are no plans to hold a press conference.

Tanaka married entertainer Kohinata Shie (37 years old) in June of 2003.  They had their first son a year later in June of 2004 and had a second son in April of 2008.

The full comment:

Apologies for the personal affair, but I, Tanaka Naoki, have divorced Kohinata Shie.  This conclusion was reached after discussing over the matter many times.

From this point on, we won’t be husband and wife, but we plan to uphold our responsibilities as father and mother to children.

My sincerest gratitude to those around us for your support and to colleagues.

Tanaka Naoki

May 2, 2017


SID0027945_fhds

Tanaka from a 2017 drama (Masuyama Chounouryokushi Jimusho).

b5f4c34257ccd5234d845048696843e3

 

 

 

 

Kohinata’s official profile photo.

 

 

 

On the May 3rd episode of High Noon TV Viking! (thank you to Batosai for the link), speculation and discussion:

-Kohinata used to upload content about Tanaka and their children on Twitter but from about 2 years ago, Kohinata stopped uploading content about Tanaka (she continue to Tweet about her children).

-From about 4-6 years ago, the two may have started to become more distant.  Around this time, Kohinata may have been putting more energy into her career.

-In Japan, the father gets parental rights in a divorce in about 10%-20% of all cases.  Some factors are children’s opinion (depending on their age), time that each parent spends with the children, the living environment that a parent can provide.  Additionally, just because there was “an issue with the mother” doesn’t equal “father gets parental rights.”

-Tanaka and his agency made announcements about the divorce but Kohinata has yet to do so.  Then, perhaps Kohinata is the who one had some development in her life that caused the divorce?

From the May 5 episode of Wide na Show (a talk show hosted by Matsumoto) on May 5 (thank you to ErnieYoung for the upload):

-Tanaka told Matsumoto of the divorce before his public announcement.

-Matsumoto says that he doesn’t want to know the details as any married couple surely has their own issues anyway, so he told Tanaka that he doesn’t need to tell him why they divorced.

-Matsumoto says that on Gaki No Tsukai, it seems that at least one of the five is always single. When the other four were married, Matsumoto was still single. When Matsumoto got married, Endo was divorced. After Endo re-married, Tanaka has now divorced. He says that after Tanaka has re-married, perhaps Hamada will finally be abandoned by his wife.

-Matsumoto says that he hopes divorces by comedians can be treated less gloomily. The fact is that they wanted to divorce and they got a divorce. Loosely translated, “Compared to people who want to divorce but don’t or compared to the past, it’s better. People say they feel sorry for the kids, but that’s for the kids to decide. I’m sure the kids will have many happy times in their lives after this. It’s none of people’s business whether they think the kids will be happy or not after this. So I hope that divorces by comedians can be treated, not exactly like in a ‘more fun’ way, but less gloomily. After all, for a comedian, a divorce is like a funny joke. I don’t really know if it’s the marriage or it’s the divorce that’s the funny joke, but… And in Tanaka’s case, his joke is falling flat a bit here.” The studio laughs at Matsumoto’s comparison of a comedian failing to get laughs from his joke and a comedian’s gloomy divorce.

-In the past, parental rights almost always went to the mother, but recently, there are more cases where it went to the father. But if the father, like Tanaka, is very busy with work, it remains a question who takes care of the children. There are cases where the father has parental (guardian of asset) rights but the mother has childcare (custody) rights. But rumors are that Kohinata is the one who physically moved out of the home.

[Edit: Here is a link to a later post on a Gaki No Tsukai episode where they mention Tanaka’s divorce for the first time and here is a link to another later post on an episode where they feature his life after the divorce.]

FB, TW

majide2ch.blogspot.com, Utada Hikaru, Hamada Masatoshi, and other J-pop divas

majide2ch.blogspot.com is unfortunately not active, but it’s an amazing site.  It translated excerpts from 2channel, which is a Japanese textboard, or message board, or forum, whatever you call that.  It’s probably something between Reddit and 4chan in terms of the conversations and content that comes out (4chan was inspired by Futaba Channel, which was inspired by 2channel.  Wikipedia, archived.).  What I find amazing about majide2ch.blogspot.com is that it is an accurate and faithful translation of the raw comments of Japanese netizens.  If you think about how indecipherable internet slang – like 4chan slang and greentext – is to the common English speaker, think about translating internet slang of another language (from no less than the origin of 4chan-style internet forums) to the common English speaker.  That’s what majide2ch.blogspot.com did and it has a pretty huge catalogue, too.

The previous subs posted here, Wide Na Show, 20140121, (Matsumoto Hitoshi, Fujimoto Miki, Takeda Tetsuya), has a segment mentioning Utada Hikaru.  I remember a while back reading some hilarious and entertaining posts on majide2ch about Utada Hikaru, which I just wanted to share here.

One topic also concerns a controversy that Hamada Masatoshi of Downtown caused, which I will describe here: On Downtown’s music program Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ, Hamada commented that new singer Kuraki Mai was a rip-off of Utada (video here).  Kuraki’s agency complained vehemently and there were even reports that right-wing groups had begun to protest and make trouble around Fuji TV, the network that broadcasted the Hey! Hey! Hey! program (source and archive).  Hamada and Utada apologized for their statements and made up with Kuraki, and the right-wing protests also stopped.  An article (here and archive) claims that a mafia connection helped calm things down – a mob friend of Shimada Shinsuke, a comedian who is Hamada’s senior at the Yoshimoto agency, talked with and convinced the right-wing groups to stop their activities directed at Fuji TV and Hamada (the Japanese mafia, aka yakuza, are known at times to have a working relationship with right-wing groups).  Shimada Shinsuke was recently forced to retire from show business when his connections with the mafia came to the public light.  And if the story is true, it also means that Kuraki’s agency has right-wing connections that it uses to intimidate others if need be.

(Note that the following are raw and unfiltered opinions of netizens (well, except they were filtered by the majide2ch translators), so obviously they’re going to tend towards the hilarious and entertaining but also controversial and inflammatory.  Also, don’t be stupid enough to think that the majority of Japanese people think of something one way because you saw a translation of a 2channel post on the internet, unless you’re stupid enough to read 4chan posts and think that the majority of Americans think of something that way.  But there still is value there because while not the majority, it shows that there is at least a non-zero number of people who think the way a post is written.  If nothing, at least it can be entertaining.)

I’ve excerpted some of the comments that I find noteworthy, but you should definitely check out the original posts.  Internet treasure, IMO.

 

How amazing was Hikaru Utada during her peak? (June 29, 2013)

Archived

“7 million albums sold, that seems unthinkable in this day and age”

“She used to have a mustache”

“It was said that she won’t do TV appearances, so it was a huge shock when she appeared on HEY! HEY! HEY!” (referring to Downtown’s former music program.)

“Even a Utada knock-off was able to sell 1 million albums” (referring to Kuraki Mai)

“She thought she’d be a success in the US but flopped and dropped her stock big time.
It would have been much better if she just kept on making the Japanese people think that she could make it big there.”

“Her decline began when she started going out with this guy” (referring to her first husband)

“It’s like how we cannot forget about Hibari Misora, Yumi Matsutoya, and Miyuki Nakajima. Hikaru Utada will also remain in our minds forever.”

“She came right before the Internet exploded.
She might be the last artist who was widely celebrated on TV. ”

“She’s singing the songs that she composed!
She’s on a different level from Seiko Matsuda, Akina Nakamori, Hamasaki, and Amuro.”

“When you talk about 1997~1998, that was the concentration of the Komuro Boom and also when rock music took the front lines with the likes of Glay, L’Arc and B’z.
Then someone suddenly appeared out of nowhere bringing in her R&B. FM radio and Usen pushed for her, and since she didn’t appear on TV, everyone bought her CDs.”

 

Ayumi Hamasaki’s peak vs. Kumi Koda’s peak (March 14, 2014)

Archived

“They’re both washed-up, but who was more amazing in her peak?
If it’s the length of their peak, then I think it’s Ayumi Hamasaki’s victory, no contest.”

“If you’re talking about the peak, then it’s got to be Ayumi Hamasaki right?
But they’re both relics of the past”

“Hamasaki felt like she got hidden behind Utada’s shadows, rather, there was this very strong image that she always lost to Utada so I feel like Koda was the one who stood at the top”

“Without any sort of bias, Ayumi Hamasaki’s upsurge was far greater than Kumi Koda’s. When you compare Hamasaki to Hikaru Utada, then yes, her CD sales might have been inferior, but I think Ayumi Hamasaki was quite a phenomenon herself.
They used to say nothing but “Ayu this, Ayu that” during the morning showbiz news reports everyday back then.”

“Social phenomenon degree
Namie Amuro >>>>>>> Ayumi Hamasaki >>> Kumi Koda”

“Amuro, rather, the Komuro boom really was amazing… at that time”

“If it’s about vulgarity, they’re pretty much the same, but if it’s foul-mouthedness, it’s definitely Koda.
If you’re talking about bad personalities, then Hamasaki without question.”

“Utada is a true-blue artist of the music industry. Her fashion sense and her looks were almost never talked about.
Compared to this, Hamasaki and Koda are stereotypical celebrities. Their fashion and visuals were undoubtedly looked at, because that was their selling point.”

 

Hikaru Utada to get married to an Italian (February 4, 2014)

Archived

“Huh, wait, I’m not Italian?”

“If she wants to protect the privacy, then don’t marry a regular person. Of course people will chase after the guy.”

“So she’s even going up against Hamasaki when it comes to getting remarried? w” (referring to Hamasaki Ayumi marrying a foreigner as well).

“She and Hamasaki are destined to be eternal rivals”

“I didn’t even know that she got divorced”

“Ehhh— She was supposed to marry me!”

“Honestly, all I can say is I’m disappointed.
I always thought that I would be the one to marry Hikaru Utada and her fortune since she’s a divorcee and that no one wants to take her anymore…”

 

Mai Kuraki and Hikaru Utada, who was more popular? (June 22, 2014)

Archived

“I heard that it was pretty much split even between the 2 of them around the year 2000”

“Utada, with a ratio of 8:2”

“It was Hikaru Utada, and it’s not even worth debating”

“Kuraki was also popular among the idol wotas”

“It’s not like Mai Kuraki wasn’t popular. It’s just that Hikaru Utada was too amazing.”

“That era was like the culmination of the girls’ R&B boom which began in 1996. Singers like JUJU and Thelma Aoyama still came out after 2005, but the boom completely vanished around this time thanks to the mass influx of AKB.”

“I like Kuraki too, but it’s not right to compare her to Utada who was a social phenomenon”

“But Kuraki was just an Utada rip-off”

“Hama-chan said that which became an issue, right?” (referring to Hamada Masatoshi of Downtown.)

“It felt like Downtown became more subdued around the time they apologized to Kuraki”

“Kuraki just doesn’t stand a chance, both in sales and ability. She was bad at singing, and her voice was so small, she shouldn’t have been a singer in the first place. If you want to compare someone to Utada, it should be Hamasaki.”

“Is Kuraki still active in the business? I haven’t been hearing much of her. Utada’s going astray now as she just got married to this Italian guy.”

“If only Hamata kept silent about it, then the genius would have never gotten involved with the commoner” (Hamata is a derogatory nickname for Hamada.  Mata = crotch.)

“Kuraki was considered like pus in this industry thanks to the Hamada fracas”

“And compared to these 2, you can not help but be amazed at how stable Amuro has been. People thought that she’d disappear along with the end of the Komuro boom, but she actually proved her worth much more when she was separated from Komuro. Even if she’s from Avex too, it just goes to show that Hamasaki and Koda were nothing more than mere fads.”

“Japan was split into pro-Kuraki and pro-Utada and was englufed in a huge flaming war.
Then it all exploded because of Hama-chan’s comment and caused quite a huge uproar. It was something unimaginable from the current Japanese society where interest and concern have been segmented from each other.”