He Said – She Said ~ A to Z of Japanese Music – The Letter F


"I am A Fish and I begin with F ! ! !"

“I am a Fish and I begin with F ! ! !”

faye-80She Says:

Welcome to the letter F ! ! !   Gosh we are at F already ! ! ! !  That means this week we are sharing some views on the crazy world of Japanese J-pop fans, some cool music from Shibuya, Tokyo’s capital of cool, some really nice pop punk and a great girl band who even sing in Engrish ! ! !  I think it is really fun week and we hope you like it  ! ! !

mrp3He says:

A letter that means a lot of things to a lot of people, some of them quite rude. Nevertheless we must cover it and here is our selection of music related things that begin with F. We hope you find them interesting.

teacher 2P Sensei says:

Do not forget He Said – She Said is educational and not just fun.  Learn Japanese the fun and easy way with my world famous one word a week method, available exclusively in He Said – She Said on The Spill ! ! ! 

➺    ➺   ➺   ➺    ➺

faye1She Says: F is for Fan ! ! !

J-pop fans are really very enthusiastic and this enthusiasm shows in some ways that western people find a little strange.  The popular image of an idol fan is of a sad loner sat in his room collecting figures and posters but actually being a fan is an activity you usually do with friends or “circles” which are like unofficial clubs that meet for events and concerts.

Japanese fans follow their idols in some ways like British people follow a football team.  You are part of group, you sing the same songs together you wear a “team” scarf and t-shirts, you all learn the same chants, and you do the same dances.  You bore friends with pointless discussions about if Maeda Atsuko ( Ronaldo ) is better than Jurina Matsui ( Maradona ) You collect concert ( match ) programs and take long drunken bus rides to obscure places to watch concerts ( away matches ) and can not understand why anyone who is not a AKB48 ( Manchester ) supporter can not understand the world significance of the Graduation ( Transfer ) of Maeda Atsuko ( Ronaldo ) ! ! !

AKB48 Fans

AKB48 Fans

I do not know if British soccer fans do ritual dances before a game ,  but at most J-pop concerts you will see a group of fans performing OtageiOtagei are basically a special dance the fans perform either before or sometimes even during the concert.

Here is a clip of some fans doing an Otagei and enjoying themselves at the entrance of a Morning Musume concert.  These particular fans are fans of Miki Fujimoto and they “worship” her as a goddess and refer to her as Miki Sama ( Mistress Miki ) in their chanting. You will notice they being their dance in praying position and at about 3 minutes you will them prostrate themselves before her “altar” Of course they are only worshiping her in fun and nothing is taken seriously except the sense of all supporting the same idol and having fun together.


The another thing is the level of involvement of the fans in the groups.  The groups management make a big effort to create a feeling of belonging and

Kanagawa Prefecture Governor - Yuji Kuroiwa is a great AKB48 Fan ! ! !

Kanagawa Prefecture Governor – Yuji Kuroiwa is a great AKB48 Fan ! ! !

involvement with the idols and giving the fans opportunities to support their favorite idol, and elections are a major part of this.   Fans can vote on who will be the “center”  ( sing the main part of a song ) or appear in videos, or in popularity competitions.  The  biggest of these popularity elections is the AKB48  Senbatsu General Election.  Of course in order to gain voting rights you need to buy a CD and many fans will buy scores of CDs to have extra votes so that they can vote for their favorites.  The AKB48 elections are major national event and huge and dramatic TV show is shown covering the elections.  More people vote in the AKB48 elections than in the parliament elections actually ! ! !  ( maybe )



Some fans become very emotional when the elections are announced :



You can also get tickets for a  hand shake event by buying special editions of CDS.  The hand shake events of the most popular groups are huge public occasions and an opportunity to gather and socialize with other fans and also to actually shake the hand of your idol ! ! !  Ten thousand fans attended this AKB48 event in Kobe and they all bought a CD to get the ticket and many bought several ! ! !   You can see that the people are all in groups with friends and that it is a very social event.

Another feature that is particular to J-pop is the synchronised chanting that takes place during the concert during certain songs.  Here the fans will chant in unison at certain points in a song, it is another way of sharing the togetherness that the fans feel.

Being a fan of a J-pop group is a fun and social activity, of course just like soccer clubs the groups management make a lot of money from the fans, but in the end the fans have a lot of fun and that is what J-pop is all about at the end ! ! !

I will leave you with the fabulous Melon Kinenbi in concert with their friend Maki Goto as a special guest.  Melon Kinenbi started their career as backing dancers and singers for Maki Goto and they have been friends ever since then.  You can hear the chanting in this song quite nicely I think.

Melon Kinebi + Fans – This is Unmei ( This is destiny )

mrp2He Says:

What can you say ! It’s a very “Japanese” thing, I think. We do have similar “crews” following people like Lady Gaga and  Beyonce etc but they rarely show quite the same level of devotion to the cause. I’m certainly in favour of the “fun” side of it but I think it can be a little exploitative too. The “graduation” thing for the idol groups is clearly designed to keep the group going longterm without the need to worry about the stars ageing, getting married or going crazy etc.
The synchronised dancing is impressive though and I don’t mind a bit of Melons now and again.

~ ♥  ~ ♪ ~  ♫ ~  ♪ ~  ♥ ~

Little Fujiko

Little Fujiko

spike 80-1He Says: F is for Little Fujiko

Just daft fun, as Sakura said, totally mad.There’s not really a lot else to say !


Little Fujiko – The Scale Monster

mss4She Says:

Little Fujiko formed in 1996 and were the indie Rookies of the year.  They released two really great albums.  White Peach Jelly Fish ( which this track is from ) and in 1998 and Little Fujiko in 1996.  They were a great band that are impossible to define . . . .except as totally mad ! ! !  This is maybe my favourite track from them ! ! !

~ ♥  ~ ♪ ~  ♫ ~  ♪ ~  ♥ ~

mss3She Says:  F is for Flippers Guitar

Flippers Guitar we only together for a short time, but they were very influential and helped shape the Shibuya Kei style of music.  Shibuya is a neighbourhood in Tokyo which is a famous fashion and night life area.  It is a hip and young people area and many of the latest fashion and street styles start here.  Shibuya Kei means Shibuya style

Shibuya Kei as a music movement maybe formalised at the end of the 1980 decade.  The feature of Shibuya Kei was these groups rejected the mainly American

Flippers Guitar

Flippers Guitar

influence and in rock and pop and looked to 1960’s Europe and Brazil for their influences.

Keigo Oyamada and Kenji Ozawa were two friends who formed Flippers Guitar as a reaction to what they saw as an overwhelming US influence in Japanese music.

Flippers Guitar were maybe the first band to be considered fully Shibuya Kei and in some ways defined the style.  The members went on to have successful careers as musicians, producers and writers after the band split.

Flippers Guitar – Young Alive and in Love

spikeHe says:

Who knew dolphins could play guitar ! The Shibuya sound is heavily influenced by “Euro-pop” and I think you can hear that very well here. It’s all Gaulloise and Dubonnet. Nice !

~ ♥  ~ ♪ ~  ♫ ~  ♪ ~  ♥ ~

mrp2 He says:  F is for The Floppy Pinkies

I know nothing about this band other than this song which is from a compilation and is totally awesome. The vocals are what does it for me here, the “yelping” really enhances the “ready to break” feel. Lovely.


The Floppy Pinkies  – Ready to Break

faye-80She Says:

Mr P always does this to me ! ! !  I really know nothing about The Floppy Pinkies except they are a group of two girls and a guy and have a really unhelpful website ! ! !.  They seem to be a new group and are from Norarikurari in Tokyo.  They seem to be very active in playing the club scene and I will definitely go to see them later this month as they are playing near my my home.  I really enjoyed this track ! ! !  I think this type of pop punk is something that really suites girls voices and this group really do it well ! ! !  I really made me want to dance around my apartment ! ! !

~ ♥  ~ ♪ ~  ♫ ~  ♪ ~  ♥ ~

P Sensei’s Word Of The Week ! ! !

Learn Japanese the fun and easy way with P Sensei’s Word Of The Week ! ! !

teacher 2P Sensei Says ~ F is for Fundoshi



Underpants. Yes, traditional Japanese underwear, a kind of “pouch and thong” thing , is called “Fundoshi” ( putting the “fun” up your “doshi”). A useful word if you find yourself alone and naked in Tokyo in the middle of the night….or something.
Suitable for both men and women and sometimes worn with nothing else at all.

~ ♥  ~ ♪ ~  ♫ ~  ♪ ~  ♥ ~

faye and spikeShe Says:

I hope you liked this week’s episode ! ! !   I hope you found something new, i certainly did  ! ! !  We are doing our best to earn our sponsorship money from the Ministry of Culture by educating The Spillers in Japanese language and culture  but we hope you had fun also ! ! !

He Says 

So there you go, we hope you had fun with “F”. We certainly did. I wonder what next time’s letter  will be…..


10 thoughts on “He Said – She Said ~ A to Z of Japanese Music – The Letter F

  1. Wow, firstly fantastic effort from you both. That’s a truly brilliant article and so informative.

    I love the football analogy (even though I’m not a football fan – shush DarceysDad, you’re in a very precarious position!!)

    I’ve heard of the ‘fanaticism’ within Japanese culture for many things but the election process just sounds bizarre, but I suppose if you are a true fan you’ll do pretty much anything to get to one of these hand-shake events.

    I loved the Melon Kinenbi video and yes you can feel / hear the emotion in the chanting.

    I hope I am never naked in Tokyo and need to use your word of the week, I’m more likely to say Gomen’nasai osoreiri kudasai and rush off very embarrassed. 😉

    Thank you both for a great article.

    • Glad you enjoyed it. Japanese fans certainly take things that one step beyond the rational at times. It’s all terribly well organised.

      • I do like the idea of actually taking the football analogy and going with it even more – give the bands a league table (football here is mostly ‘product’ entirely to do with money, not sport, any more) the league table needs to include more than just a sales chart – the amount of ‘nutty’ (in the nicest possible way) fans has to be counted… and well; just everything is bizarre isn’t it? and would be brilliant to tot up.
        The clip of the fans is just incredible – I’ve sang along at gigs – I’m on a Pixies B side – but co-ordinated dancing is asking a bit too much from me. Love it.

        Not my thing to listen to….. The Floppy Pinkies were more my thing – hope it didn’t slip out of their Fundoshi while recording.

        great fun – and brilliantly written you two – cheers.

      • HI Shane

        I am pleased you liked the post ! ! ! Thank you for reading and taking the time to post. I think it would be good to have a league with the strangest or most enthusiastic fans for the groups ! ! ! !

    • Hi Leaveitallbehind ! ! !

      I am really pleased you like the post ! ! ! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment ! ! !

      I hope you never find yourself naked in Tokyo, but if you did then your phrase would be good,but maybe a little long. Most people would say – Hazukashii desu ! ! ! This means “I am embarrassed ! ! ! It is really useful and you can use it in any situation ! ! !

  2. A great installment you two. You managed to express the sense of fan devotion perfectly Sakura – I always think it is more of a social thing than a real obsession and I love the AKB system, it makes it much more interesting – I am always glued to election night!

    I knew Melon Kinenbi and Flippers Guitar as bands, but didn’t know the tracks. Enjoyed them all – especially the insane one from Little Fujiko

    • She’s excelled herself this time, hasn’t she ? Sakura is at her best when writing about cultural aspects I think, she really ought to be a travel writer or “cultural commentator” or something like that.

    • Thank you for stoping by and i am really pleased you liked the post ! ! ! Little Fujiko are great ! ! !

      I must admit I always watch the AKB48 elections also ! ! !

  3. I was trying to think if there was some non-footballing, musical equivalent of the Japanese AKB48 elections here in Britain. The nearest I could get was the X-factor finals which don’t really compare.
    Of course in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest feelings do run high in several countries across Europe (or the Eurovision Zone which isn’t quite the same) but that owes more to nationalism as to musical devotion.

    In the UK back in the 1970s, teenage girls did become rather tribal about which pop group they were devoted to. Bay City Rollers fans had to have the tartan scarfs at least, if not the full outfit.
    They even had that chant that started “B A Y!, B A Y!” and I read in the music press of the time that concerts by other teen idols sometimes featured chants from the audience which insulted them. e.g. “if the Rollers make you sick clap your hands” which I think was sung by fans of Slik, Midge Ure’s first band.

    I lived in Merton Park at the time so Wimbledon was my nearest shopping centre. The TV presenter Sally James used to host a thing called the “Saturday Scene Road Show” at Wimbledon Theatre on Saturday afternoons.
    She’d play records and various acts would turn up to perform their latest hit. The whole of Wimbledon Broadway was a sea of tartan when the theatre emptied out.
    It was very similar to the end of a football match.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.