Following the orbital rise of Korean girl unit Girls Generation, Japanese pop has been searching for who can combat the continental ladies' incredible leg power. This answer, it is being touted, is this new group, Bikyaku Jidai -- literally "Beautiful Legs Era" -- who have been formed for this express purpose. The main qualification for the seven ladies in the group was that they had lovely legs. With such single-minded approach we suspect their musical success may be rather limited. This is one of their masterpieces. By way of comparison, here are the Korean ladies in ...

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Maki Goto is proof that you can have a life after being part of a multi-member pop band. A former Morning Musume starlet, Maki is one of the few who has made that transition to soledom with some degree of success. Around a year ago, though, sadly she basically retired from showbiz, but not before posing for some nice risque ...

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Only yesterday we were lamenting the victory of K-Pop over Japanese rivals. And now we see news that kind of confirms how stranger and strange local pop music is getting. As if the boy band Sexy Zone (comprised of kids only just into their teens) or the army of AKB48 (not as young as they look, but looks are everything), now comes a new group with a much-trumpeted average age of just 13.7. Formed by an agency to appear in TV dramas and sing terrible songs, Her Best is made up of 14 girls. There were over ten thousand applications to audition, leading to the name Her Best (sounds ...

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Ayumi Hamasaki surprised the entertainment just over a year ago by announcing her sudden marriage to an Austrian model and actor who had starred in one of her music videos. Hamasaki's sales have ailed in recent years and we speculated that perhaps she might retire and start a family. The latest twist is that Ayumi and Manuel Schwarz are already divorced! Less than a year is not a great length for any marriage, to be sure, but Ayumi officially blames the March 11th earthquake, which forced her to stay in Japan and remain close to her beloved fans. Rather than move to America with ...

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Singer and model Takako Uehara (28) is suing the editors of a magazine for 30 million yen ($400,000) after claims it made in an article about disgraced comedian Shinsuke Shimada. Shimada famously had to resign after allegations that he has had long connections to the yakuza -- it's well known that the whole entertainment industry in Japan is in cahoots with the mafia -- and Shimada, no stranger to scandals, was made an example of (probably so he could go and do other things, including reportedly hoping to enter politics!). In the article in the September issue of weekly tabloid Shukan ...

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She might have been losing some ground with the public of late if those Senbatsu Election results are anything to go by, but you'd be a fool to count the achingly cute Tomomi Itano out just yet, especially when she's capable of producing material as pleasing to the eyes and ears as her new single 'Fui ni', released this week. The song, available in Japanese retail outlets from the 13th, is the second physical single release from the 8th-placed AKB48 starlet, following last year's quite well-received 'Dear J'. Cleverly (or should that be cynically?) coupling a pounding, ...

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It might seem more than a tad cruel to publicly name and shame the least popular members of your group while vaulting others onto a pedestal to flaunt at the head of your column (at least until the next election rolls around). Then again, with 48 members to keep track of, the marketing team over at AKB headquarters are probably grateful for any help at all in that department - hate to put a dud on the next single cover, after all. Thus, we have the results of the 3rd Senbatsu Election to mull over. The divine Atsuko Maeda has, somewhat predictably, nabbed the top spot in this year's ...

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Underage fans of overlarge idol groups rejoice - the long-standing ban on under-18s attending SDN48's theatre performances has been lifted at last, granting you access to the AKB girls' older, edgier counterparts in (almost) all their raunchy glory. SDN, the brainchild of AKB48 producer Yasushi Akimoto, was conceived as an "adult idol" group, differentiated from AKB through sexier attire and their focus as a "Saturday Night"-style act (hence the name) aimed at a more mature audience. Having made their major label debut on Universal Music in November of last year with the single ...

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Japan's lingering global reputation for being the spiritual home of all things tacky, wacky and weird may be largely undeserved, but the Japanese don't exactly help themselves when they choose the most bizarre things to obsess over and popularise (Pachinko? 1950s-style greaser dance groups? Ganguro girls? Stitch?!). Mediocre 2006 Disney-Pixar effort Cars is one such curiousity (its popularity in Japan strikingly disproportionate to, well, its popularity everywhere else) and, with a sequel set for release this summer, the folks behind the movie (albeit unwittingly) have rewarded the Japanese ...

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Appearing to promote the new AKB48 offshoot band Not Yet, Yuko Oshima sat down with the super plastic Kano Sisters, Kyoko and Mika. Livedoor reports that Oshima had actually been wanting to meet the sisters for a long time and got her chance during a very intimate interview section on the music show Hey! Hey! Hey!. Not one to mince her words, Oshima dove right in saying she had been a big fan of the sisters and had a few requests very reasonable requests. "I want to put my hand in your cleavage!" "I want you to put my face in your cleavage!" "Kiss me!" The truth is that our adorable ...

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