Japanese Idols & American Celebrities: Similarities & Differences

Topic started by takashichea on June 11, 2012. Last post by sickVisionz 2 years, 9 months ago.
Post by takashichea (16,596 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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Hello everyone!

Inspirations: A few weeks ago, I was doing dub cast blogs for Gintama's movie, Deadman Wonderland, and Kore wa Zombie desu ka? anime series. The discussion I had with the community was excellent because we're debating on which VA is good or not. Plus, Kelleth was uploading a lot of Pop Idols images at the same time. Also, I remembered MadPierriot's blogs on Japanese culture and anime, and the survey blog for Anime Vice (started by Superevill225) that showed that the community wants more topics on Japanese culture. This is why I did this blog to satisfy the community's demands.

Banner notes: If you guys and gals have some rad banner skills, please feel free to replace this one. I don't have the skills.


I did some research, but it's not complete. I apologize for that. This is where you guys and gals come in and share your comments and patterns you see among Japanese Idols and Hollywood Celebrities. I will put down all your comments in this blog because this is a community driven blog. Thank you for help, everyone!

Since I'm a naturalized U.S. citizen, I used mostly prior knowledge of U.S. celebrities from TV and the internet. For Japanese Idols, I did some research on them. Together, I did my best to piece patterns for this blog. Plus, I'm not in tuned with both celebrities in both cultures.

Note: For the Japanese Idols, I feel that I limited this blog to covering female stars. Most of the time, Japanese Idols are female, but there are a few male stars. For the picture, I originally intended to have a group of Japanese Idols and Hollywood Stars. For some odd reason, I can't seem to find a group of Hollywood stars with more than 3 people. Instead, I get single shots. If you guys and gals have a great picture of a group of American Celebrities. That would be great.

Before we start, I will apologize in advance if any of these comments appear a bit ethnocentric. I will fix and make them neutral.


I am amazed at how big the world of Japanese Idols and American Celebrities is.


  • Medium: Their medium is the television, radio, and the internet. Both Japanese and American mainstream culture, the celebrities come in different types: musicians, movie stars, models, TV stars, etc.
  • Rise to Stardom: This is a bit difficult for me and remains a question as well. A lot of U.S. celebrities go through auditions, TV shows such as American Idol or America Got Talent, or the use of the Internet such as Youtube. You have U.S. singers using Youtube to gain popularity and soar to stardom quickly due to the mass social media. This is where I hit the wall in my research on Japanese Idols. I heard of talent agencies in Japan where a young girl has to pass her audition. I don't know if the use of Internet in Japan is a strong catalyst in helping young girls become Idols.
  • Maintaining a Good Public Appearance: Both celebrities strive hard to maintain great public relationships and a good reputation. Public images of celebrities can be tarnished quickly by gossip, scandals, and certain comments that the person had stated on national TV.


  • Age: This is a big difference. In the Japanese culture, the idols are very young from the age of 14 to 18. This is a rough estimate. Most Japanese Idols I seen are very young when I look them up. In American culture, some celebrities can start off young, but most of times, they start in their twenties. The age bracket in America is much wider than the Japanese's. You have female celebrities who are still working beyond age of 40, and some of them retain their youthful appearances. (I've been trying to find what age Japanese Idols retire because I haven't seen any older idols than age of 30).
  • Perceptions in Media: I find it interesting that Japanese Idols are viewed as the "perfect female form in Japanese society and the ideal symbol of female sexuality." For U.S. celebrities, I didn't see that perception, and they are not seen that way to a lesser extent. For Americans, U.S. celebrities are viewed differently.
  • Animation: In American culture, there are some American celebrities doing voices for animated cartoons. This is the same for Japanese culture. However, the animation world with Japanese Idols are more in-depth and involved. In Japan, idols gain a lot of fame if they sing, dance, and voiced a character in an anime. For U.S. celebrities, there is not much fame with animated cartoons. U.S. Voice actors don't receive the same amount of attention when you compared them to Idols.


As I research, I still have questions. I hope you guys and gals can shed some light.

  • How do Japanese Idols and U.S. Celebrities rise to stardom? What do they rely on to help them?
  • What is the age group for Japanese Idols? When do they retire?
  • Philanthropy: I know that U.S. celebrities use their money for philanthropy causes and this helps their image. They have a lot of influences in American culture and the youth with their talents and money. Does a Japanese Idol have the same influences in terms of philanthropy?

Sources and Related Topics

I couldn't find much credible sources online that is not too biased. I want the comments to be neutral and clean of any ethnocentrism.

Thanks again for reading this community blog.



I keep forgetting that Anime Vice is an international community. If you guys and gals are from Canada, U.K., or other regions, feel free to talk about your respective celebrities. It will be a great discussion. We'll find a lot of similarities and differences together. :)

Post by Kelleth (7,798 posts) See mini bio Level 20

Hmmm the age thing isn't quite correct, For instance Nana Mizuki is 32.

Post by takashichea (16,596 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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I see. How could I fix it? What do you think about the general age group for Idols? Is there stigma for Idols who are above the age gap? I remembered reading one of the blogs about how Idols retire due to pregnancy and marriage. I didn't put that down for credibility issues. For U.S. celebrities, age or parenthood doesn't hinder them. Barry White is a big example.


Thanks for pointing out my mistakes, Kelleth.

Post by Kelleth (7,798 posts) See mini bio Level 20

@takashichea: Neither does it for Japanese Idols. But some of them just quit because they have found something else in their lives. I never really can seem to think up older idols when it comes to voice actresses. I know a few older ones though. But they are Gravure idols and JAV Idols not the normal pop idols you are searching for

Post by takashichea (16,596 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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I should cover those types of Idols to clear things up. Thanks again.

For those who are in the dark like myself:

  • Gravure Idols - Their age range is from late teens to mid twenties. Their profession is doing photo shoots and videos for magazines aimed at male audiences
  • JAV (Japanese Adult Idols) - They are the counterparts to American's concept of porn stars. Their age range is from 18 to ?.
  • Pop Idols - These Idols sing and dance in cute outfits, mostly school girl outfits. Their age can range from 14 to 32.
Post by sickVisionz (4,332 posts) See mini bio Level 24

I've always thought of Japanese idols as like umm... if people never left the Disney Channel tv/movie/music system. Like that, except even more blatantly manufactured than Disney, who has never made any pretense or had an attitude like they aren't selling these kids and packaged pop products. Non-porn JP idols all seem like Backstreet Boys/NSync/New Kids on the Block/New Edition type of groups where the members are like characters assigned to play a certain role (like the bad boy, the clean slate preppy kid, etc).

AKB48 seems like the most extreme example as they aren't even trying to hide just how manufactured the groups are, they're just flinging 48 members out in a bunch of sub groups and whatever sticks, sticks. It's like they've made artist development into a group and every now and then someone stands out and gets promoted to being a legit solo act/group while the others have to bust their hump in an individuality less sea until they do something to somehow stand out and not be extra meat for the stage show.

I probably sound harsher than I want to, but I kinda love it. I think business stuff is pretty cool and Japan is so about that managed business man approach of this makes money and business sense so we'll do it with no shame intrigues me, even if I don't like the end product or like how it affects actual artistry.

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