An idol (アイドル, aidoru) is a type of entertainer marketed for image, attractiveness, and personality in Japanese pop culture. Idols are primarily singers with training in acting, dancing, and modeling. Idols are commercialized through merchandise and endorsements by talent agencies, while maintaining a parasocial relationship with a passionate consumer fan base.
Japan's idol industry first emerged in the 1960s and became prominent in the 1970s and 1980s due to television. During the 1980s, regarded as the "Golden Age of Idols", idols drew in commercial interest and began appearing in commercials and television dramas. As more niche markets began to appear in the late 2000s and early 2010s, it led to a significant growth in the industry known as the "Idol Warring Period." Today, over 10,000 teenage girls in Japan are idols, with over 3,000 groups active. Japan's idol industry has been used as a model for other pop idol industries, such as K-pop.
An idol is a type of entertainer whose image is manufactured to cultivate a dedicated consumer fan following. Talent agencies commercialize idols by recruiting preteens and teenagers with little or no experience in the entertainment industry, and market them as aspiring stars. Idols are predominantly singers, but are also often trained in acting, dancing, and modeling. This style of recruiting and training was pioneered by Johnny Kitagawa, the founder of Johnny & Associates, and has since been used in other pop idol industries such as Korean idols in K-pop.
Music from idol singers is generally categorized under J-pop, though talent agencies may label them under the sub-genre "idol pop" for further distinction. Some talent agencies do not rigorously train their idols, and market them as amateurs who will gain experience over the course of their careers and with the support of their fans. Many idol singers find success as groups rather than individually.
Idols are marketed for their image, attractiveness, and personalities.:6–7 An idol's main objective is to "sell dreams", offering fans a form escapism from the troubles of daily life. As such, they are seen as role models to the public, and their personal lives and image can sometimes be tightly controlled by their talent agencies. Common restrictions include not being allowed to smoke or drink in public, or pursue romantic relationships. Idols often spend time isolated from family and friends while enduring busy work schedules, with some agencies withholding job assignments from their talents and notifying them of work on short notice to prevent them from taking time off.
Within each idol group, the members are sometimes given distinct roles. One example of a role is the center, who occupies the center position in the group's choreography and thus receives the most focus. Another example is the leader, usually relegated to the oldest or most experienced member in the group, who acts as an intermediary for the members and the staff.
Idols are typically expected to change careers after aging out of the industry, with female idols typically changing careers at age 25 and male idols at ages 30–45. Because of their manufactured image and often fleeting careers, idols are generally not regarded as "serious" artists; consequently, many young Japanese artists pursuing careers in acting or music reject the idol label in their bid to be seen as professionals. Idols who leave a group are often given a farewell concert known as "graduations" (卒業, sotsugyō). The term originated from the idol group Onyanko Club, as the group's youthful concept drew similarities to an after-school club, and the fact that Miyuki Nakajima's final single before retirement was released around graduation season in Japan. Prior to the 1980s, the terms "retirement" and "disbandment" were used. "Graduation" saw usage again in the 1990s during the revival of idol groups when, Tsunku, who produced the group Morning Musume, used the term as a euphemism regarding one of the members leaving the group. An idol having a "graduation" ceremony is seen more favorably than terminating a contract or voluntarily withdrawing, as the latter two terms are negatively connoted with scandals.
The diversity of Japan's idol industry has created several sub-category markets, each with a specific concept appealing to certain audiences.
- Gravure idols (グラビアアイドル, gurabia aidoru): Gravure idols are models who pose in pin-up-style swimsuit photographs in magazines and photo books marketed towards men. In 2000s, there was a significant growth in the gravure idol industry.
- Junior idols (ジュニアアイドル, junia aidoru): Junior idols are singers and gravure models who generally are 15 years old and younger. During the 1990s, a number of young girls were recruited to become idols, leading to what media named the "Chidol Boom" (チャイドルブーム), with the term "chidol" (a combination of the words "child" and "idol") coined by journalist Akio Nakamori in the magazine Weekly Spa! In the 2000s, "chidol" saw fewer usage, and it was eventually replaced by the term "junior idol" to legitimize them as part of the idol industry as well as removing the focus on their age. While the industry is still considered legal in Japan, it has been criticized for sexual exploitation of minors.
- AV idols (AV アイドル, AV aidoru): AV (adult video) idols generally refer to pornographic actresses and models, with the industry first emerging in the 1980s.
- Net idols (ネットアイドル, Netto aidoru): Net idols are Internet celebrities who emerged with the accessibility of the Internet in the 1990s, using self-made websites and blogs to discuss their daily lives. Net idols currently conduct the majority of their activities through video streaming websites and social media beginning in the 2000s.
- Idol voice actors (アイドル声優, Aidoru seiyū): Since the 1970s, several voice actors of anime and video games also held successful singing careers in addition to voice acting. At the start of the 2000s, several voice actors were marketed as idols to also promote their music, with Yui Horie, Nana Mizuki, and Yukari Tamura being the earliest examples.
- Virtual idols (バーチャルアイドル, Bāchuaru aidoru): Virtual idols are digital avatars representing a fictional character or persona. The first fictional idol gaining mainstream crossover Lynn Minmay from Macross in the 1980s. In 1997, Kyoko Date was created as the first virtual idol. In 2007, Crypton Future Media released Hatsune Miku as its latest addition to the Vocaloid software, who subsequently saw positive reception from amateur songwriters, with her character and music based on user-generated content. Virtual online streamer Kizuna AI, who first appeared in 2016, led to a boom of Virtual YouTubers who similarly conduct their activities through a digital avatar on YouTube and other streaming websites.
- Underground idols (地下アイドル, Chika aidoru): Underground idols are independently managed idols who perform at small venues.
- Akiba-kei idols (アキバ系アイドル, Akiba-kei aidoru, lit. "Akihabara-style idols"): Akiba-kei idols are type of underground idol based in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, drawing influences from its otaku culture. Music from Akiba-kei idols are generally sold as self-published CDs at Comiket or promoted through Niconico. Akihabara Dear Stage is a dedicated venue where they perform. While Akiba-kei idols are niche, Haruko Momoi and Dempagumi.inc are cited as an examples of an Akiba-kei idols crossing over to mainstream media. Dempagumi.inc's music producer, Maiko Fukushima, describes the music from Akiba-kei idols as distinct from anime songs, with most composers being "amateurs" and its organic music culture facing a state of the Galapagos syndrome, as they had no direct creative input from J-pop or other music genres. However, Fukushima noted that songs from R-18 games were also key components of Akiba-kei music. In 2007, Vocaloid greatly influenced the growth of Akiba-kei music and idol culture. AKB48, one of Japan's most recognized idol groups nationwide, originated from Akihabara, but it is not considered an Akiba-kei group.
- Local idols (ローカルアイドル, Rōkaru aidoru): Also written as gotōji aidoru (ご当地アイドル) and chihō aidoru (地方アイドル) or shortened as "locodol" (ロコドル, rokodoru), local idols primarily promote in rural areas in their specific communities, where accessibility to celebrities is limited. The emergence of local idols was traced back to the early 2000s with Perfume and Negicco. The "Idol Warring Period" in the 2010s led to an increase in the number of local idols, with the 2013 television drama Amachan inspiring an accelerated growth. Journalist Mamoru Onoda estimates there are approximately 2,000 local idols active as of 2021. Most of the local idol groups are independently managed, relying on popularity through word-of-mouth. Several local idol groups who have crossed into mainstream media in the 2010s are Rev. from DVL and Dorothy Little Happy, the former after a photo of then-member Kanna Hashimoto went viral on the Internet.
- Japanese-Korean idols (日韓アイドル, Nikkan aidoru): While Japan and South Korea agencies have created collaborative idol groups in the past, with Route 0 in 2002, during the third Korean wave in the mid-to-late 2010s, the term saw usage again to refer to collaborative idol groups promoting primarily in Japan, but with music, styling, marketing, and presentation produced in the K-pop industry. The earliest example is Iz*One in 2018, followed by JO1 in 2019 and NiziU in 2020.
- Johnny's (ジャニーズ, Janīzu): Male idols contracted to Johnny & Associates are nicknamed "Johnny's idols" by the media and include groups such as SMAP and Arashi, who have led strong careers both individually and as a group. Since the company was founded in 1962 by Johnny Kitagawa, who is credited for pioneering the idol trainee system and popularizing the performance aspect of modern idols, the company has held a monopoly over the male idol industry in Japan, with Kitagawa pressuring the media to reduce coverage on male idols from other companies until his death in 2019. Johnny's idols also rarely get negative press such as scandals due to Kitagawa's influence on the media.
1960–1980: Post-war era and idol beginnings
The popularity of young female singers can be traced back to Sayuri Yoshinaga in the 1960s, as well as the Takarazuka Revue and theater shows from the Meiji era. In 1962, Johnny Kitagawa founded Johnny & Associates and created the group Johnnys, which is retroactively considered the first idol group in Japan. He is also credited with pioneering the idol trainee system, where talents would be accepted in the agency at a young age and train not only in singing, but also dancing and acting, until they were ready for debut. However, the concept of an idol wasn't defined by mainstream Japanese media until in November 1964, when the 1963 French film Cherchez l'idole was released in Japan under the title Aidoru o Sagase (アイドルを探せ). Many Japanese audiences took interest in Sylvie Vartan, whose song "La plus belle pour aller danser" from the film sold more than a million copies in Japan. Vartan was heralded for her youthful, adorable looks and musical talent, leading the Japanese entertainment industry to assign the word "idol" to singers who shared a similar aesthetic.
Television greatly impacted the popularity of the idol phenomenon, as beginning in the 1970s, many idols were recruited through audition programs. In addition, the availability of having home television sets gave audiences greater accessibility of seeing idols at any time compared to going to theaters.:201 Momoe Yamaguchi, Junko Sakurada, Saori Minami, and Mari Amachi, some of the idols recruited through television, were some of the more popular figures of this era, along with groups such as Candies and Pink Lady. Saori Minami, who debuted in 1971, was noted by scholar Masayoshi Sakai to be the turning point of when teenage stars became popular in mainstream media. Music was produced by a shared climate of songwriters and art directors seeking a step towards a depoliticized youth culture. Idols grew in popularity over the 1970s, as they offered audiences escapism from political violence and radical student movements.
Idols at the time were seen as ephemeral because of how short-lived their careers were, and how they would disappear from the public after retirement.:203 In public, idols played a distinct character to uphold the illusion of perfection, such as having a virginal image.:203 Other examples include being told not to use restrooms in public and answering interview questions about their favorite food with feminine-sounding answers such as "strawberries" and "shortcake.":203
1980–1990: Golden Age of Idols
The influence idols had on television led the 1980s to be known as the "Golden Age of Idols", in part due to Japan's economic bubble and growing commercial interest in them. Several figures who defined the Golden Age of Idols are Seiko Matsuda, Akina Nakamori, Kyōko Koizumi, and Onyanko Club. Television programs in which idols appeared often enjoyed high viewer ratings. Dentsu also created the "CM idol" business model, where idols were able to gain fame by singing and appearing in commercials.
Onyanko Club, in particular, shifted public perception of idols from professional stars to ordinary schoolgirls who would gain experience throughout their career. They were also the first group to introduce a "graduation system", where older members would eventually leave the group while newer inexperienced members would join, with the system being named such as the group drew similarities to a school club. Onyanko Club also led to idols becoming closely associated with television, as the visual component became important to the overall enjoyment of their music.
At the same time, male idols gained popularity, with acts from Johnny & Associates normalizing idols singing and dancing at the same time. However, fewer male idol acts from other companies achieved the same success as Johnny's idols due to the company's CEO, Johnny Kitagawa, controlling the media and pressuring certain programs not to invite male idols from competing agencies, an act that would remain until his death in 2019.
1990–2000: Waning popularity and Chidol Boom
Around 1985, idols soon became unpopular after the public became disillusioned with the idol system. By the 1990s, public interest in idols began to wane, as audiences lost interest in singing and audition programs, particularly due to a shift in attitudes caused by Japan's economic collapse. As a result, more young people yielded aspirations to be defined as an artist instead of an idol. During this decline, public perception of idols again shifted from inexperienced amateurs to strong, independent women, in part due to a rehaul in Seiko Matsuda's public image. Namie Amuro, who gained fame as the lead singer of Super Monkey's, found popularity among young girls who emulated her appearance. At the same time, Speed also found a fan following. However, neither Amuro nor Speed referred to themselves under the idol label. Because of the lack of publicity over idols on television, many turned to the Internet.
Johnny & Associates observed the popularity of former Shibugakitai member Hirohide Yakumaru's success as an MC on variety shows, which prompted them to develop and market their current acts with distinct public personalities. Groups from the company began gaining more attention, drawing in fans from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and their marketing success led to many other idols doing the same.
In the mid-1990s, there was an increase in young idols in the elementary school age, which the media described as the "Chidol (child idol) Boom." The term "chidol" was coined by journalist Akio Nakamori in the magazine Weekly Spa! In the 2000s, "chidol" saw fewer usage, and it was eventually replaced by the term "junior idol" to legitimize them as part of the idol industry as well as removing the focus on their age.
2000–present: Media crossovers and Idol Warring Period
The 2000s saw the rise in popularity of idol groups again after Morning Musume's debut in 1997 and the formation of their musical collective, Hello! Project. Around the same time, there was an increase in gravure idols, who competed in magazine and photo book sales. In addition, anime voice actors, such as Yui Horie, Nana Mizuki, and Yukari Tamura, were also marketed as idols to promote both their activities and singing careers.
While idols briefly experienced another decline after 2002, AKB48 debuted in 2005 and later became known as nation's idol group. The public image of idols had diversified, with each idol group having a specific concept appealing to different audiences. To celebrate the diversity of idols, AKB48, Shoko Nakagawa, and Leah Dizon performed a medley called "Special Medley: Latest Japan Proud Culture" at the 58th Kohaku Uta Gassen in 2007, introduced as "Akiba-kei idols" with each act described as a different sub-genre of idols.
The idol industry experienced a rapid growth in the beginning of the 2010s, and the media coined the nickname "Idol Warring Period" (アイドル戦国時代, Aidoru Sengoku Jidai) to describe the phenomenon. Lawyer Kunitaka Kasai cited the Internet as a reason for the rapid growth of idols, as anyone can upload videos onto websites, and AKB48's business model encouraged this even further through creating more opportunities for fan interactivity. The 2013 television drama Amachan also inspired more idol groups to appear, the majority of them being "local idols" who performed in specific rural communities. Several independent idol groups also crossed over into mainstream, such as Dempagumi.inc, Dorothy Little Happy, and Rev. from DVL, the latter of which gained mainstream popularity after a photo of then-member Kanna Hashimoto went viral.
Since 2010, the biggest idol concert festival, Tokyo Idol Festival, has taken place. More than 200 idol groups and about 1500 idols performed, attracting more than 80,000 spectators in 2017. During 2014, about 486,000 people attended AKB48 and Momoiro Clover Z's live concerts, which was the highest record of all female musicians in Japan. Momoiro Clover Z has been ranked as the most popular female idol group from 2013 to 2017 according to surveys by The Nikkei, while male idol group Arashi that was ranked as the most popular artist overall in Japan according to Oricon polls of 20,000 people. There were more than 10,000 teenage girls who performed as idols in Japan in 2017. In 2019, there were over 3,000 female idol groups.
Beginning in the mid-to-late 2010s, the Japanese idol industry crossed over with K-pop with the third Korean wave in Japan, which was sparked partially from positive reception of the Japanese members of the South Korean group Twice. In the years that followed, several Japanese and South Korean companies collaborated to form K-pop influenced groups for a global consumer base, such as Iz*One, JO1, and NiziU.
| Cute - Cutie Circuit 2011|
Fans are swaying glow sticks in the color of their favorite band member and cheering their idols with chants. When a Cute member sings a solo line, everyone shouts her name. (For example, from 2:11: "Maimi!", "Airi!, "Maimi!", "Airi!")
| Momoiro Clover - "Z Densetsu".|
The audience is filled with fans dressed in the color of their favorite Momoiro Clover Z member.
Passionate male fans of idols are colloquially referred to as wota (ヲタ), derived from the word "otaku." Beginning in the 1980s, they formed cheering groups known as bodyguards (親衛隊, shineitai) to support idols at concerts and public appearances. During these events, the wota perform wotagei, an organized sequence of fan chants and dancing to show appreciation for the idols. Fan chants where an idol's name is called after each bar is sung was popularized by Mari Amachi's fans in the 1970s, referencing her appearance in the 1971 television drama Jikan desu yo.:202
Idol fan culture has introduced several slang terms into the Japanese public, including::4
- DD, an abbreviation for daredemo daisuki (誰でも大好き, lit. "I love everyone"), applying to people who do not have a favorite member or group.:4 The term has negative connotations. Writer Riyan suggests that while there are fans with no favorite members or groups, they are not likely to identify themselves as DD. A variation of DD is the word bako oshi (箱推し, lit. "supporter of the whole package"), which indicates support for an idol group.
- Oshimen (推しメン), a favorite member or group:4
A notable trait of idols that sets them apart from typical celebrities is their relationship with fans, and they are marketed intentionally by talent agencies to have a high emotional connection with their consumer fan base. Fans are built as active supporters into the narrative of the idol's journey to become a professional entertainer, viewing them as siblings, daughters/sons, or girl/boy next door types due to how easily they can relate to the public. One documented example are fans of female idols, typically consisting of men from 30 to 40 years of age, who seek interactions with them as a way of having a long-term relationship without the prospect of supporting a family or dealing with awkwardness outside of a controlled environment. The idol fan culture idealizes the idea of moe, where vulnerability is seen as an attractive trait.
Using idols from Johnny & Associates as an example, male idols appeal to female fans by representing a pseudo-romantic ideal for them.:207 However, there are some female fans, particularly in Japan, who prefer to put themselves in the role of an external observer.:207 For them, the absence of other women is a way of watching the male idols interact with one another and imagining their interactions to be similar to yaoi.:207
Fans spend money on merchandise and endorsed products to directly support their favorites, comparing it to spending money on "loved ones"; some express feeling happy that they were able to make someone they admired happy. Dedicated fans may give up their careers and devote their life savings to supporting and following their favorite members. To foster a closeness between idols and fans, some talent agencies offer meet-and-greets in the form of handshake events, where fans have the opportunity to shake hands, take a photograph, and speak briefly with the idols. AKB48's business model created more opportunities for fan interactions with their "idols you can meet" concept. An example of this are their elections, where fans can vote for their favorite member, thereby including the fans directly into the members' individual success. Because idols share an intimate relationship with their fans, fans may feel "betrayed" if idols reveal unfavorable parts of their personal lives that are different from the image they present, or break the illusion that they are there exclusively for fans.
Idols often appear in advertising, with 50-70% of commercials in Japan featuring an idol. The "CM idol" business model, conceptualized by advertising agency Dentsu in the 1980s, uses idols' public image as a marketing asset. As the career of idols are dependent on their image, contracting offices create their image based upon trends in the market and with the intent of generating as much revenue as possible. Along with promoting products, commercials are also a cross-platform to promote idols at the same time by keeping both brand and idol product in the forefront of the consumers' minds. Pitches for commercials are often made with a specific idol who matches the company's image in mind. Idols contracted to particular brands are expected to uphold the brand's image and may not work for competing brands or networks; the agreement extends to magazine advertisements, online videos, and appearances in dramas. Idols may also provide the music or jingle for commercials.:5 The idol industry makes approximately $1 billion a year. The success if the idol trainee system led the format to be adopted in other pop industries, such as K-pop.
Beginning in the 1980s, companies would compete to secure contracts for idols in dramas, which led to the current four-season television cour in Japan. Variety, talk, and music shows also became popular, in part for featuring idols as guests or the stars of the show.:5
Anime and video games
The idol industry has crossed over to voice acting in anime and video games. Early examples of voice actors who had an idol-like presence were Mobile Suit Gundam voice actors Toshio Furukawa and Toru Furuya in the 1970s, who gained a sizeable female following after forming their band, Slapstick. In the 1980s, idol singer Noriko Hidaka eventually became a voice actress after gaining recognition for playing lead in Touch. The series Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel was used as a vehicle to launch Takako Ōta's singing career and was the first notable anime series to use a "media mix" marketing strategy, where Ōta would provide the voice to the main character and portray her at music events. Beginning in the 1990s, several voice actors held successful concurrent singing careers alongside of voice acting, such as Hekiru Shiina, Mariko Kouda, and Megumi Hayashibara.
As the anime industry began producing more late-night series in the 2000s, the term "idol voice actor" was popularized when more voice actors with a cultivated fan following began appearing on television. While previous examples involved voice actors who incidentally drew in fans through their singing careers or former idol singers who turned to voice acting, Yui Horie, Yukari Tamura, and Nana Mizuki were intentionally produced and marketed as idol voice actors by their record labels. Around the time when the Idol Warring Period was occurring during the mid-to-late 2000s, there was a significant boom in idols voice acting in anime, with Oricon naming Aya Hirano and Koharu Kusumi as prominent examples, as both of them were established actresses and singers in mainstream Japanese entertainment before entering voice acting. While character song tie-ins were already common in the film industry by then, some voice actors also began making crossover television, stage, and concert appearances as their characters as well, leading them to be closely associated with one another.
As for fictional characters, the first fictional idol to cross over to mainstream media is Lynn Minmay from Macross in the 1980s, whose song, "Ai Oboete Imasu ka", charted at #7 on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart. In the late 2000s, Vocaloid software Hatsune Miku was received positively among amateur music producers, who used her as an avatar to perform their compositions, influencing Akiba-kei music. As the Idol Warring Period took place, in the early 2010s, idol-themed multimedia projects, such as Love Live!, The Idolmaster, and Uta no Prince-sama, became popular and brought focus to both voice actors and the characters they portrayed. The term "2.5D", which picked up frequent usage in the mid-2010s, was used to describe voice actors who would portray their characters in real life, such as television or stage plays. Music produced by voice actor idols and fictional idols have crossed over to mainstream music charts, while fictional idols have been treated like real-life celebrities. Idol-themed anime and video game series have been compared to the sports genre in anime due to a similar competitive nature and team-building the characters face, as well as being linked to the Odagiri effect for featuring attractive people of the same gender interacting with each other. The magazine Seiyū Grand Prix noted that over 1,500 voice actors were active in 2021, compared to 370 voice actors (145 men and 225 women) in 2001.
The idol fan culture is heavily tied to anime and manga, and most fans of anime are also fans of idols. The idea of "moe", which was popularized by anime, can be projected onto both idols and fictional characters, linking the two. Some may prefer fictional idols due to them never disbanding, leaving groups, or getting into scandals. A 2005 study by the Nomura Research Institute revealed that idol fans were the third largest group of otaku interests, following comics and anime.
The idol system has been criticized for its strict rules, intense work schedules, and offering idols little control over their personal lives. The system has been likened to salarymen in Japan who are unable to disobey their employers. Labor rights activist Shohei Sakagura stated that idols get very little revenue and are ill-prepared for the work force after leaving their groups, as many of them spend their academic years learning poor job skills. In addition to this, Rob Schwartz from Billboard addressed that Japanese mainstream media outlets rarely bring attention to controversies and allegations of power harassment due to self-censorship on what they are allowed to write. Sasetsu Takeda of GQ Japan wrote that talent agencies dismiss idols regardless of their popularity, sometimes intentionally blocking job offers in order to pressure them to leave, all while declaring that they are "resting from illness" to the public. Independently managed idol groups offer even less protection, with idols given ambiguously-worded contracts that keep them in their companies for years, while offering almost no pay and compensation for transportation and costuming fees. Lawyer Kunitaka Kasai stated management may be poor, especially among independent idol groups, because they were established by people with a lack of experience to fill a demand for idols over the industry's growth.
Work schedules for idols have been criticized for being excessive, as idols are expected to work even when sick. Miki Gonobe from Nikkan Sports noted that idols generally do not have a labor union and agencies see no need for one, as they view idol activities akin to extracurricular activities at school. She voiced concerns about young girls becoming idols at an early age, especially elementary school students. In addition, Sasetsu Takeda of GQ Japan criticized some idol managements for intentionally preventing their talents from taking time off, mentioning it "strange" that idols are only notified of their assignments the night before. He also condemned the idol industry for not providing talents access to better mental health resources, as idols are often suspended or dismissed for publicly showing they are stressed out of concern that they may cause fans to feel worried or upset.
In March 2018, Ehime Girls member Honoka Omoto committed suicide, with her family launching a lawsuit against her talent agency in October 2018. Allegedly, Omoto was working 10 hours a day at the expense of her studies and when she had asked to leave the group, a staff member threatened her with violence while Takahiro Sasaki, the head of her managing company, told her she would have to pay a penalty fee of ¥1 million. In June 2018, a former member of Niji no Conquistador filed a lawsuit against Pixiv representative director, Hiroaki Nagata, for sexual harassment during her time with the group, and Nagata resigned several days later.
Most idols are not allowed to form romantic relationships or must obtain permission from their agencies to get married. Yasushi Akimoto, the producer of AKB48, likened the group's dating ban to similar dating bans for baseball teams competing at the Kōshien, where dating is seen as a distraction from preparing for tournaments. On the other hand, critics have suggested a dating ban is implemented in order to sell a fantasy of idols being accessible to their fans and disagreed with them for being inhumane. The Japan Times noted that aside from talent agencies, idol fan culture has contributed to this, especially with male fans of female idols; male fans buy into the idea of "moe", which fetishizes weakness and submissiveness while asserting "complete control" over the girls' sexual independence.
Several idols who were confirmed to have been dismissed, suspended, demoted, or forced to leave their groups following reports of them dating or having sexual relations include Mari Yaguchi, Ai Kago, Aya Hirano, Rino Sashihara, and Minami Minegishi. Minegishi, in particular, caught international media attention after her apology video went viral, causing international criticism over the management of her group, AKB48, as well as the Japanese idol industry. A talent agency filed a lawsuit against a 17-year-old former idol singer for accepting an invitation to a hotel room by two male fans, which had caused her group to disband within the first 3 months of their debut. In September 2015, Judge Akitomo Kojima, along with the Tokyo District Court, ruled in favor of the talent agency and fined the woman to pay ¥650,000, stating that the dating ban was necessary for idols to "win the support of male fans." In January 2016, a similar lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court ruled in favor of a 23-year-old former idol, with Judge Kazuya Hara stating that the dating ban "significantly restricts the freedom to pursue happiness."
Since handshake and other related events allow fans to be in close proximity with idols, critics also believe that marketing the idols' accessibility may cause fans to be unable to distinguish between fantasy and real life. Talent agencies have also been criticized over offering inadequate protection towards idols after several incidents of violent attacks on female idols such as the saw attack on Anna Iriyama and Rina Kawaei, the stabbing of Mayu Tomita, and the assault of Maho Yamaguchi.
Idols are often sexualized, especially female idols, some of whom also work as gravure idols and have suggestive swimsuit photo shoots that are published in magazines targeted towards adults. With the idol system commodifying youth, the industry is criticized for putting minors at risk, most particularly junior idols, who are aged 15 years and younger. Idol swimsuit photo books are often sold in the same sections as pornographic titles. In 1999, Japan banned production and distribution of sexually explicit depictions of minors, which outlawed photo books depicting nude junior idols. Multiple junior idol distributors closed after possession of child pornography was made illegal in Japan in 2014. However, junior idol content currently stands on legally ambiguous ground due to open interpretations of child pornography laws in Japan.
List of idols
- ももクロ、初のAKB超え タレントパワーランキング. Nihon Keizai Shimbun (in Japanese). 24 June 2013. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese). Nikkei BP (June, 2013): 48–49. 4 May 2013.
- タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese). Nikkei BP (June, 2014). 2 May 2014.
- タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese). Nikkei BP (June, 2015). 2 May 2015.
- タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese). Nikkei BP (June, 2016). 4 May 2016.
- タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese). Nikkei BP (June, 2017). 4 May 2017.
- タレントパワーランキング トップ100. Nikkei Entertainment (in Japanese). Nikkei BP (June, 2018): 81. 4 May 2018.
- Craig, Timothy (2 May 2000). Japan Pop: Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture. United Kingdom: Routledge. ISBN 9780765605610. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
- Sevakis, Justin (24 July 2015). "Why Can't Idol Singers Have Lives of Their Own?". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- "The mystique of the Japanese male idol". CNN. 3 May 2012. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
- Aoyagi, Hiroshi (15 July 2005). Islands of Eight Million Smiles: Idol Performance and Symbolic Production in Contemporary Japan. Massachusetts: Harvard University Asia Center. ISBN 9780674017733.
- Galbraith, Patrick W.; Karlin, Jason G. (31 August 2012). Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Limited. ISBN 9780230298309. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- Stevens, Carolyn S. (22 August 2007). Japanese Popular Music: Culture, Authenticity and Power. United Kingdom: Routledge. ISBN 9780415492218. Archived from the original on 30 April 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
- Edgington, David W. (1 April 2003). Japan at the Millennium: Joining Past and Future. Canada: UBC Press. ISBN 9780774808989. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
- Hoover, William D. (18 March 2011). Historical Dictionary of Postwar Japan. Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 202. ISBN 9780810854604.
- Matsutani, Minoru (25 August 2009). "Pop 'idol' phenomenon fades into dispersion". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 8 January 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- Gingold, Naomi (8 January 2019). "Why The Blueprint For K-Pop Actually Came From Japan". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 13 May 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- St. Michel, Patrick (10 July 2019). "Johnny Kitagawa: The mogul who defined and controlled Japan's entertainment industry". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 11 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Культура - Музыка - Популярная музыка [Culture - Music - Popular Music] (in Russian). Embassy of Japan to Russia. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Covington, Abigail (18 July 2014). "Unraveling a fantasy: A beginner's guide to Japanese idol pop". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 28 September 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- Park, Jin-hai (3 July 2018). "Why Japanese idol trainees lag behind Koreans". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 12 February 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
- Martin, Ian (1 February 2013). "AKB48 member's 'penance' shows flaws in idol culture". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- McAlpine, Frasier (30 June 2017). "The Japanese obsession with girl bands - explained". BBC. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- Galbraith, Patrick W.; Karlin, Jason G. (2012). The Mirror of Idols and Celebrity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Limited. ISBN 9781137283788.
- Oi, Mariko (26 January 2016). "The dark side of Asia's pop music industry". BBC. Archived from the original on 16 December 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- Sevakis, Justin (3 September 2018). "Why Isn't Idol Culture Bigger in America?". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- Takeda, Sasetsu (5 March 2019). "No More Objectification of Me: 女性アイドルはなぜ「謝らされる」のか?". GQ Japan (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- "アイドルが目指すセンターとは何なのか？". Dwango (in Japanese). Kadokawa Corporation. 25 September 2016. Archived from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
- "AKB48高橋みなみが語る、「リーダー」と「アイドル」とは？". Da Vinci News (in Japanese). Kadokawa Corporation. 10 December 2015. Archived from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
- Grunebaum, Dan (7 October 2010). "As Japan Ages, Pop 'Idols' Aren't as Spry as They Used to Be". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
- Shibutani, Kyotaro (9 March 2019). "錦戸亮も脱退か、男性アイドルの「賞味期限」と「定年適齢期」". Jujo Prime (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2019 – via Yahoo! News Japan .
- William W. Kelly, ed. (15 July 2004). Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan. New York: Suny Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780791460320. Archived from the original on 9 July 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- 戦隊モノ、アイドル...、グループにおける色と役割の関係. Nikkei Business Publications. 5 December 2011. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- Morissy, Kim (27 January 2020). "Keyakizaka46 Member Yurina Hirate Leaves Group Following Health Issues". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "女性アイドル界から減少する「解散」 「卒業制度」がもたらした変化とは？". Oricon (in Japanese). 3 February 2016. Archived from the original on 17 October 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- Oshima, Takashi (25 January 2020). "アイドル「脱退」「卒業」の20年史 いかに表現が変わっていったか". J-Cast (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 23 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
- Onoda, Mamoru (12 August 2020). "2010年代のアイドルシーン Vol.3 アキバ系カルチャーとのクロスオーバー（前編）". Natalie (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 14 February 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Onoda, Mamoru (4 February 2021). "2010年代のアイドルシーン Vol.5 ローカルアイドル文化の隆盛（前編）". Natalie (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Sakai, Masayoshi (May 2015). "特集 アイドルが輝いていたところ アイドル国家日本の成長とアイドルの奇跡" [When Idols Shone Brightly: Development of Japan, the Idol Nation, and the Trajectory of Idols]. Chūō Kōron. Chuokoron-Shinsha. pp. 142–151. Archived from the original on 13 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
- Sherman, Jennifer (17 January 2018). "AKB48 Rumored to End Swimsuit Gravure Photos for Underage Members". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
- Nakano, Naga (22 April 2018). "浜辺美波・正統派美少女の系譜と"生粋の女優"としての輝き". Oricon (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- Onoda, Mamoru (26 May 2020). "2010年代のアイドルシーン Vol.1 "アイドル戦国時代"幕開けの瞬間（前編）". Natalie (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 16 February 2021. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- "進化する元祖チャイドル". ITMedia (in Japanese). March 1999. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- Galbraith, Patrick W. (8 July 2009). "Innocence lost: the dark side of Akihabara". Metropolis. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2021 – via JapanToday.
- Hongo, Jun (3 May 2007). "Photos of preteen girls in thongs now big business". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 28 October 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
- Tabuchi, Hiroko (9 February 2011). "In Tokyo, a Crackdown on Sexual Images of Minors". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 5 November 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
- Ozawa, Harumi (27 January 2018). "'Little idols': Japan's dark obsession with young girls". Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 28 June 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020 – via The Jakarta Post.
- Ashcraft, Brian; Ueda, Shoko (13 May 2014). Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 68–. ISBN 978-1-4629-1409-8. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
- Kogawa, Tomo (1999). "「デジタル特捜隊 ネットの有名人たちspecial ネットアイドルBEST10 1999年夏篇」". Kodansha (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 11 October 2000. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
- "「アイドル声優」のブームは継続中！ その歴史は意外と深いって本当？". Tokyo School of Anime (in Japanese). 4 January 2019. Archived from the original on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- "角川とアップフロントがアイドル声優オーディション開催". Oricon (in Japanese). 2 July 2008. Archived from the original on 29 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
- Eisenbeis, Richard (7 September 2012). "The Fictional (Yet Amazingly Popular) Singers of Japan". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 13 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- "Virtual idol Kyoko Date breaks new ground in cyberspace project". The Japan Times. 2 January 1997. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Considine, J.D. (25 September 1997). "Kyoko Date: The world's first virtual pop star". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- St. Michel, Patrick (24 August 2017). "Animated pop star Hatsune Miku is only 10, but she has had a huge impact on music". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Kelts, Roland (19 December 2015). "Hatsune Miku: the 'nonexistent' pop star". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 4 August 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Furukawa, Yuki (22 September 2019). "How virtual streamers like Kizuna Ai became Japan's biggest YouTube attraction". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Ogawa, Misa; Isobe, Mayuko; Hirabayashi, Misa (21 December 2018). "The dark side of Japan's underground idols: Little pay, long hours and unbreakable contracts". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- "「モモーイ」こと桃井はるこ アニメ好きになった意外な理由が「食物アレルギー」って？". Sankei Sports (in Japanese). 25 March 2017. Archived from the original on 13 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- "橋本環奈だけじゃない! "かわいすぎる"ご当地アイドル一挙紹介". Oricon (in Japanese). 8 March 2014. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Koyanagi, Akiko (21 February 2019). "よしもとばなな原作小説、日韓で映画化 少女時代・スヨンが初主演」". Aera (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- "日韓合同アイドル「NiziU」大躍進に沸く韓国 「彼女たちのように日韓が協力しあえば世界を席巻できるのに」【日韓経済戦争】". J-Cast (in Japanese). 25 November 2020. Archived from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Narikawa, Aya (19 December 2020). "NiziU、日韓で認知度に大きなギャップのわけ". Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 9 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Chang, Dong-woo (13 July 2020). "Exporting the template: K-pop agencies' overseas idol projects yield solid results". Yonhap News Agency. Archived from the original on 19 July 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Fukue, Natsuko (14 April 2009). "So, you wanna be a Johnny?". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Schilling, Mark (18 July 2019). "Johnny Kitagawa: Power, Abuse, and the Japanese Media Omerta". Variety. Archived from the original on 27 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- Sims, Calvin (30 January 2000). "In Japan, Tarnishing a Star Maker". The New York Times. p. 12. Archived from the original on 10 March 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Simone, Gianni (3 February 2019). "From cosplay fan to idol, Yuriko Tiger's journey has been a colorful one". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- Iwabuchi, Koichi (8 November 2002). Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780822328919. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
In the 1970s and 1980s a televised star-search audition became the basis for the development of the Japanese pop idol system—the process by which media industries manufactured pop idols.
- Enami, Hidetsugu (6 July 2006). "Show biz exploits 'volunteerism' image in packaging of latest teen idol". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- Saijō, Noboru; Kiuchi, Eita; Ueda, Yasutaka (15 March 2016). "アイドルが生息する「現実空間」と「仮想空間」". Bulletin of Edogawa University (in Japanese). Japan. 26: 199-258. Archived from the original on 15 May 2021. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
- Martin, Ian (26 May 2011). "'Golden age' of kayoukyoku holds lessons for modern J-pop". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 14 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- Brasor, Philip (10 May 2014). "Brush up on pop idol feuds before the exam". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 29 June 2021. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- "元チャイドル野村佑香、第２子の写真を公開 自宅に戻ったことを報告". Sports Hochi (in Japanese). 11 February 2019. Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- "58th Kouhaku Utagassen History". Archived from the original on 13 May 2011.
- Udagawa, Haruka (18 November 2018). "Suicide of teen draws attention to poor working conditions, harassment of idols". The Mainichi. Archived from the original on 25 September 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- AKB48よりももクロが上 コンサート動員力2014. Nihon Keizai Shimbun (in Japanese). 4 December 2014. Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- 第10回好きなアーティストランキング『嵐が史上初の4連覇！音楽ファン2万人が選ぶTOP20の結果は？』 (in Japanese). Oricon. 25 October 2013. Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- 音楽ファン2万人が選ぶ"好きなアーティスト (in Japanese). Oricon. 24 October 2014. Archived from the original on 26 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- 音楽ファン2万人が選ぶ 好きなアーティストランキング 2015 (in Japanese). Oricon. 22 October 2015. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- 第13回 音楽ファン2万人が選ぶ "好きなアーティストランキング" 2016 (in Japanese). Oricon. 14 November 2016. Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- 第14回 音楽ファン2万人が選ぶ "好きなアーティストランキング" 2017 (in Japanese). Oricon. 7 December 2017. Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- Gonobe, Miki (28 January 2019). "アイドルの諸問題、悪いのは運営か、それとも…". Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- "「TWICEになりたい」 日本のアイドルの卵たちが、韓国デビューを選ぶ理由". NHK (in Japanese). 14 February 2018. Archived from the original on 11 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Dong, Sun-hwa (18 June 2018). "'Third hallyu' blooming in Japan". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- St. Michel, Patrick (6 December 2018). "Bridges built by the power of K-pop and J-pop". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 26 January 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- St. Michel, Patrick (4 January 2021). "What does 2021 have in store for J-pop?". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 3 February 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- St. Michel, Patrick (22 April 2021). "NiziU: Made in South Korea, totally Japanese". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 6 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Prideaux, Eric (16 January 2005). "Wota lota love". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 8 January 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- "Fans show love through dance". The Straits Times. 25 November 2016. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
- St. Michel, Patrick (3 February 2019). "An idol's fans have the power to make change in Japan". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 9 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
- Yamamoto, Yuki (2016). "オタク用語およびネット用語の意味の変化と一般化" [The semantic change and generalization of otaku and Internet slang] (PDF). Ibaraki Christian University Faculty of Letters Department of Cultural Exchange 2016 (in Japanese). Japan. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
- "【AKB48編】ファンが使っているあの言葉の意味は？ "沼落ち寸前のあなたに贈る"アイドル用語辞典". Oricon (in Japanese). 1 May 2020. Archived from the original on 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- Riyan (29 October 2020). "アイドルファンがDDを名乗ることは悪いこと？" [It's a bad thing for idol fans to identify as DD?]. Mirror. The Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- "「DD」って、どういう意味かわかる? アイドル業界の専門用語クイズ". MyNavi News. 14 December 2019. Archived from the original on 8 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- Jozuka, Eriko; Yakatsuki, Yoko (16 January 2019). "Why a pop idol's stand against her assault sparked outrage in Japan". CNN. Archived from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
- Glasspool, Lucy (2012). "From Boys Next Door to Boys' Love: Gender Performance in Japanese Male Idol Media". In Galbraith P.W.; Karlin J.G. (eds.). Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 113–130. doi:10.1057/9781137283788_6. ISBN 978-1-349-33445-2 – via SpringerLink.
- Lowe, Justin (20 January 2017). "'Tokyo Idols': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
- Minami, Marie (17 January 2018). "なぜアニメやアイドルに、お金を注ぐの？「沼」にハマる女性たちを描く『浪費図鑑』の作者に聞いた". HuffPost (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- Karlin, Jason G. (2012). Through a Looking Glass Darkly: Television Advertising, Idols, and the Making of Fan Audiences. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Limited. pp. 72–75. ISBN 9781349334452.
- Marx, W. David (2012). The Jimusho System: Understanding the Production Logic of the Japanese Entertainment Industry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Limited. pp. 36–37. ISBN 9780230298309.
- Dennison, Kara (11 July 2019). "Creamy Mami Character Goods Prove Showa Idols Are Forever". Crunchyroll. Archived from the original on 5 July 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- Yano, Junko (25 October 2006). "月島きらり starring 久住小春（モーニング娘。）『スーパーアイドル・きらりの2ndシングルPV到着！』-". Oricon (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- Tai, Hiroki (15 February 2015). "最近よく聞く"2.5次元"、その定義とは？". Oricon (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- Itabashi, Fujiko (1 September 2016). "「うたプリ」「Bプロ」…女性ターゲットのアイドルアニメ大豊作！ 新時代の覇者は生まれるか". Real Sound (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- "男性アイドルシーンに異変 「地方」「2.5次元」「アニメ」の異色出自アイドルたち". Oricon (in Japanese). 7 February 2016. Archived from the original on 17 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- "今人気のアイドルアニメソングは... TSUTAYAアニメストア11月音楽ランキング". Anime! Anime! (in Japanese). 15 December 2017. Archived from the original on 22 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- Orsini, Lauren (21 December 2016). "What is a Fujoshi?". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
- "声優人口、男女ともに増加で"史上最多" 「声優名鑑」20年で370人→1500人超と4倍". Oricon (in Japanese). 20 February 2021. Archived from the original on 23 February 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
- "New Market Scale Estimation for Otaku: Population of 1.72 Million with Market Scale of ¥411 Billion – NRI classifies 5 types of otaku group, proposing a "New 3Cs" marketing frame". Nomura Research Institute. 6 October 2005. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- Yamamoto, Mari; Adelstein, Jake (21 January 2019). "Inside the Weird, Dangerous World of Japan's Girl 'Idols'". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- Ashcraft, Brian (15 October 2018). "After Idol's Death, Bullying And Intimidation Allegations Surface". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- Ressler, Karen (1 June 2018). "Former Niji No Conquistador Idol Sues pixiv Representative Director for Sexual Harassment". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- Pineda, Rafael Antonio (6 June 2018). "pixiv Representative Director Resigns From Company Amidst Lawsuits". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- "AKBに「恋愛禁止令」なんてなかった？ 秋元氏「僕は一度も言ってない」発言で波紋". J-Cast (in Japanese). 3 December 2012. Archived from the original on 18 February 2021. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
- 矢口真里がモー娘。脱退引き金の小栗旬との恋愛語る. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 24 October 2017. Archived from the original on 8 April 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
- O'Connell, Ryan (22 April 2008). "Ex-Morning Musume star Ai Kago blazing a trail back to top (using a cigarette lighter)". Mainichi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008.
- "Japanese pop star sacked over sex scandal". AsiaOne. 4 August 2011. Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
- St. Michel, Patrick (2012208-15). "For Japan's Justin Biebers, No Selena Gomezes Allowed". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2021-08-04. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
|1=(help); Check date values in:
- St. Michel, Patrick (30 May 2019). "Rino Sashihara: Can one 'idol' beat the system?". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
- Komuro, Catherine (9 January 2018). "Sacrificial idols: in J-pop, Teen Dreams Become Nightmares". Bitch. No. 77. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
- Stimson, Eric (20 September 2015). "Idol Fined 650,000 Yen for Dating Contract Violation". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- "Court rules pop idol has right to pursue happiness, can date". The Japan Times. 19 January 2016. Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- Seale, Jack. "Unreported World: Series 39 - Episode 1: Schoolgirl Pin-ups". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 17 November 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
- Fackler, Martin (18 June 2014). "Japan Outlaws Possession of Child Pornography, but Comic Book Depictions Survive". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
- Reith Banks, Tash (15 June 2019). "Schoolgirls for sale: why Tokyo struggles to stop the 'JK business'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 August 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
- ""聖地"も閉店 ジュニアアイドルＤＶＤビジネスはあと半年の命か". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). 7 February 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- Kinsella, S. (2007). "What's behind the fetishism of schoolgirls uniforms" in Japan in fashion theory. UK.
- Kinsella, S. (2000). Adult Manga: Culture and power in contemporary Japanese society. UK: Curzon.
- Kinsella, S. (1999). "Pop-culture and the balance of power in Japan" in Media, culture and society, vol.21 pp. 567–572.
- Kinsella, S. (1995). "Cuties in Japan" in women media and consumption in Japan Brian Moeran and Lise Scov (eds). Curzon and Hawaii University Press.
- Lukacs, Gabriella (31 May 2007). "The Net Idols: New Forms of Creative Employment and Neoliberal Labor Subjectivities in 1990s Japan". AAS Annual Meeting. Retrieved 31 May 2007.
|Look up アイドル in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Japanese idols.|