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The eye of the fandom : America, Fuck yeah

For those who didn’t get the joke on the title, you can get it here.

The american representative is the first “well known” fan around.

First, introduce yourself : your name (or nickname), age, status (job, student, etc)

Hello! My name is Josh (or known as JoshBox), I am  24 years old and I work as a editor for a post-production house, and as a freelance photographer. I am probably known on the internet for making videos that revolve around AKB48G, Nogizaka46, and Keyakizaka46. I make a weekly news video about these groups and even have special videos like taking quizzes (Like Gocchisama’s 😉 ), interviewing people about the groups and even playing  games with idols. I also am part of a podcast that talks about Sakamichi (Nogizaka46 and Keyakizaka46) every Tuesday Live on Youtube.

Do your acquaintances know that you have idols as your hobby? What do they think of it?

All of my friends know that I like idols and I have even shown them funny segments of variety shows to show them that it is entertaining. Even my coworkers know about my hobbies (My background picture at my work computer right now is Nogizaka46). They aren’t into the hobby, but they know that I am into it and don’t think it is weird or anything. I have shown them variety shows as mentioned before and talking about them like any other hobby helps them normalize it in their head removing any preconceived notions about it.

How did you got to know Keyakizaka? Were you into other idols beforehand?

I got into Keyakizaka a bit later than everyone else. When I started to like idols like Nogizaka and AKB Keyakizaka was still Toriizaka and recruiting. They still hadn’t gotten my interest even with their variety (which I thought was weaker than how other groups started). It wasn’t until their second single that I really got into them heavily.

Who is your oshimen, and why? What do you think is her main appeal? (Or are you a DD)

If we are counting Kanji and Hiragana, then my Oshimen is Sasaki Kumi. She has a really fun personality and you can tell she goes out and gets what she wants. Her variety skills impressed me when she first showed up on Keyakitte, Kakenai. She wasn’t afraid to scream, “Oniichan” at the top of her voice, which many members that started in Kanji wouldn’t try to do. She is very much a leader type that knows when to play dumb and smart when needed to which usually is a big sign I look for in an oshimen.

Have you been to concerts before? Or handshake? If yes, what was your impressions?

I unfortunately have not gone to a concert or a handshake. I am saving money for it though so in the future I can attend. Getting the tickets for a concert would be the only roadblock. Handshakes have to be planned in advance so hopefully for the next single I can look at the dates and plan accordingly.

Do you collect goods, like towel, glowstick, or cards? How much do you spend for your idol hobby in average?

I collect the photobooks of the members. I am traditionally a photographer (what I studied in school) and decided it would be great to have photobooks of the members and have them as coffee table books. I slowly started to get more and even make videos about each one. Now I get them mostly for collection and to let viewers know what I like or dislike about the photobook in videos.

What’s your favourite A-side? And why?

My favorite A-side has to be Futari Saison. It is a different feel to Keyakizaka even looking at it now. Futari Saison is more airy and free than other singles. Listening to the song just gives you energy that doesn’t get you excited, but gets you recharged which helps the energy stay with you longer.

Where do you get your informations? Social network, video platform, magazine, others?

I get my information from different sources on social media. It is through 2 main sites though. First is Twitter, which I get information firsthand. Second is jshowbiz.com , he compiles all of the information that relates to 48/46 very well and is really easy to find exactly what you missed. Contrasting to twitter which you have to constantly be on or you miss something and spend too long looking for it again.

What do you think of the japanese fandom? Have you interacted with them in real life or just Social network?

I have only interacted with a couple of names in the  Japanese fandom. The interaction that I have had with them has been great and of great help to me. I plan to interact with them and more once I go to Japan and have already made plans with them to do so.
Though I have interacted with the international community in real life! I have to say having a group of people or even one other person that likes the same things really does make a difference. Interacting online is great and in real life it just multiplies.

What do you think of the foreign fandom? People being fans of a japanese group, completely different of their culture? Do you think Management should show interest going more global?

I think the foreign community is a bit different from the Japanese community. I think we are a little more carefree about things, yet very  harsh on other things. Not interacting with the members and seeing more of them has a bigger impact on it then we like to think. What we see are only things that media shows us whether it is tv shows, magazines, or radio shows. Thankfully we now have mobame which helps us bridge the gap more with the members. (Knowing enough Japanese is the problem for most people though)
It is great that people are getting more into  the group. As long as they are respectful about it and don’t hate on the girls or on each other.  

I think management should put some effort into their foreign fans and gaining new fans internationally. Re:Mind on Netflix and Keyakizaka on Spotify have been great steps toward that goal. Now they need to step it up and think a little outside the box to get more fans internationally. The only problem I see with that is that international fans in general are cheap compared to Japanese fans. So make sure to subscribe to your favorite members on Keyamessage at the least!

 

Recently Hiragana and Kanji are doing more and more activities separately. What do you think of it?

In the beginning I was disappointed in the separation especially since they first introduced Hiragana as the same concept as Nogizaka’s Under members. When they started to be more of a backup team for Kanji I thought it wasn’t interesting to keep them like this together giving Hiragana the shorter end of the stick. Now they have started to separate more and Hiragana is now using the Keyakizaka name for their benefit. There is still the trouble of people not knowing the difference or even knowing there is a different group. I would be happy if they called themselves Hiragana46 or even HiraganaZaka46 to help differentiate themselves more, because regular people would only get them confused.

Recently hiragana 2nd gen has debuted their activities. What are your expectation for them?

I expect them to be great! I see a lot of potential in them! I can see that there are already defining characters in the group and with the addition of the 1st gen, who already has so many different characters, they can be a really strong group in every field.

Recently we’ve seen Yuichanzu Wcenter for Glass o ware. What are your thoughts on changing center?

I like this refreshing breeze of air that Yuichanzu brought to the table with their performance. I think it really works out with the “battle” that happens on the stage. Though I do have my thoughts that this might be temporary. I feel like Techi might make a return to the center for this song, which would make fans go crazy. Management knows what they are doing to some respect and I can see this in their plans. Also Wcenter Yuichanzu for the next center!

Japanese and Foreign culture diverge on some topic, like love ban rule. What is your opinion on this?

The topic of the love ban is an interesting one to talk about since everyone has their own opinion on it. Some love it, while some hate it. I think that it is okay to love, but only if it doesn’t affect your work life. In an idol’s case the fans are a big part of not only their career, but their success. Having a boyfriend would hinder them from gaining more fans and even keeping their old ones. That is why I think if it is out of public eye, and a certain newspaper we know, it should be fine for them to have boyfriends. After all they are human with human desires like you and me.

Overall, What do you think makes keyakizaka different? What do you think of the current keyakizaka? Doing well or points to improve?

I think what makes Keyakizaka different is two things. One is how they started off really strong. Being part of the Sakamichi series and having the sister group Nogizaka rising to the top really put a spotlight on Keyakizaka, and they needed to nail it from the start if they wanted to be big quick. Thanks to the skills of everyone evolved it happened and they have quickly become one of the biggest idol groups in Japan. Second thing that makes them different is their target audience. They generally target 10-20 y/o girls as seen in demographics of their  sales. This is a huge market that other groups under AKB have not really directed their entire attention to. The current Keyakizaka is really good, but they have always been really good. I think they need to step their game up in certain fields in order to have a healthy balance in the world of entertainment. A big example of this is variety. Hiragana is great at variety, meanwhile looking at Kanji most of them really lack in variety. Another aspect they could improve on is working smart. They really are some hard workers, though if not used efficiently there will never be improvement.

Thank you for your time. If you have a shoutout to do, please go ahead.

Thanks for the interview! You guys can check out my youtube channel youtube.com/mrjoshbox  for a lot of Keyakizaka, Nogizaka, AKB videos. Whether it is news, photobook critiques, quizes, interviews, challenges, or punishments then you can find it there. I am also a part of a Keyakizaka/Nogizaka podcast called the SLOPE Podcast https://www.youtube.com/theslopepodcast with fellow co hosts Jimmy from SwoletakuTV and Boy from bsgsbkhts. You can also ask me stuff on twitter https://twitter.com/MrJoshBox and check out my patreon https://www.patreon.com/mrjoshbox so I can make even better videos in the future.