Hosted by Director Kyoko Miyake
They are pretty, smiling, bursting with energy and young, sometimes very young. They are “idols,” the more-or-less professional Japanese pop singers who live only for the pleasure of their fans. Their admirers, mostly men between the ages of 30 and 50, are borderline religious in their devotion. More than 10,000 young women in Japan currently perform in this field, feeding a lucrative domestic industry.
TOKYO IDOLS presents one of them, the cheerful and hard-working Rio Hiiragi (or “RioRio”), only 19 years old. Rio is already old for her job, but it does not stop her from giving body and soul during countless performances on the stages for emerging idols, or even via webcam from her bedroom. Wherever she goes, her faithful are always there. The artist and the fanatics form a whole, two parts of a symbiotic relationship that goes far beyond entertainment.
A recipient of a prestigious Peabody Award, documentary filmmaker Kyoko Miyake offers a critical and feminine perspective this controversial phenomenon of Japanese popular culture. Miyake, who approaches her subject with great openness, a genuine concern for nuance and kindness towards her protagonist as well as her male subjects, never gives in to easy judgment and mockery. Likewise, she avoids all the Western clichés regarding Japanese pop, in a film that explores a well-known subject in the otaku universe from a new and profound angle.
- translated by Rupert Bottenberg