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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.”

 

 

 

 

8 English Words that Come From Japanese (Merriam-Webster)

Tycoon (大君), honcho (班長), kudzu (葛 クズ), skosh (少し), ramen (ラーメン), futon (布団) – which means something different in Japanese (mattress you lay on the floor), Sudoku (数独), rickshaw (力車).

 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/8-english-words-that-come-from-japanese/tycoon

Why were Ami Suzuki, Thane Camus, and Yui Asaka fired?

Great translated article from 2014 about a dark underside of the Japanese entertainment industry: the power of talent agencies.

ArchivedOriginal Japanese article, archived.

BradfromBradford

[This is an article I’ve translated to practice my Japanese and translation skills. I have no affiliation with the article source or any parties mentioned and the views expressed are not necessarily my own. I’ve done my best to translate accurately, but as it is practice there may be errors in the translated version. Feel free to point them out.

The original (Japanese) article may be found here.

I chose this article because I used to enjoy watching Thane Camus, an a) American fluent in Japanese, b) graduate of an international school just down the road from one of mine, albeit long before my time, and c) grandson – we think – of writer Albert Camus. However, he seemed to disappear rather abruptly from Japanese tv, so the other day I decided to do some Googling. This is what I came up with.

I talk about the translation a bit at…

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