[blog]: the irony in our stars (or the difference in fangirling Arashi & CNBlue)

(With apology to Shakespeare and John Green.)

Since I got into CNBlue, I’ve been amused and amazed at the huge difference between my two major fandoms.

While comparisons between Arashi and CNBlue cannot be inevitable (at least in my case since I fangirl both of them), they are by no means trying to put one down at the expense of the other. I just can’t help noting the differences.


Since I now follow CNBlue-related accounts on Twitter and Facebook, I am updated with their news and I was honestly shocked to find out the other day that there was live streaming of their concert in L.A.! Imagine if someone did that to Arashi, Uncle Johnny will go ballistic. That is, if any fan would actually be able to enter the venue and be allowed to set up a “mini studio” without those scary staff hitting you with a stick or bodily throwing you out of the place.


cnblue con(Credit on the pic)


Whenever Arashi has a concert, I rely on fans who translate Japanese tweets and do some sort of a live tweeting. But fat chance there will be photos and if there are paparazzi photos, they will appear the day after in legitimate media. Not on social media within the hour uploaded by fans who were lucky to have been there, like in CNBlue’s case. I mean, quality is one thing (I can’t blame the blurry photos when you’re so excited to even be standing in front of your idol) but to actually be able to do it and have Jung Yonghwa pose for your camera? Crazy!!!


yonghwa camera(Credit: YongShin on FB)


The same goes for videos. The media are invited to Arashi’s concerts so TV networks are expected to show them. But raw videos? Again, Uncle Johnny will have a coronary if an unedited video of Arashi gets uploaded (he doesn’t have to know of that fan video of Matsujun slipping during a concert though it did give pointers on “how-to-roll-with-a-fall-the-idol-way-and-still-look-kakkoi”).


The release of the DVD follows concerts logically, but Arashi fans would be the first to disagree with that considering that there has yet to be official news about an ARAFES ’13 DVD, aside from a mention by Matsujun on J-web. And J being the production bochan of Arashi, it might as well be considered a confirmation.

CNBlue, meanwhile, appears to have regular releases of their concert tours. And what’s more, they are also readily searchable and downloadable from YouTube. How convenient, right? But it also makes me question the business model and the revenue losses they incur from that. This illustrates why Japan is the No. 1 music market in the world because of their strict copyright laws. And really, I don’t mind paying top money for DVDs because as a fan, that’s one way to support them.


The only time we know Arashi is coming up with an album is if a member talks about it on J-web or Nino, Aiba or Riida mentions it on their radio shows. Then comes the official announcement immediately followed by online pre-order.

Meantime, CNBlue updates their Twitter (of course they are on social media, Uncle Johnny, but that’s for later) with a photo of the sound mixer at the recording studio and is that Yonghwa’s hand (he was the one who updated this)?


cnblue mixer(Credit: CNBlue @ Twitter)


Dates for their “comeback” are also spread. Now, speaking of comeback, it’s one Korean concept that I could not, or rather, refuse to grasp until now. I mean, you are only entitled to a comeback if you have previously left. But for those groups who have just shifted their activities to other areas, like live concerts, instead of albums, there’s no need for a comeback, is there? Oh enough of entertainment-related etymology.


I didn’t know there was a strict no-photo rule for Arashi until I violated it… in Korea. But that explains why out of the blue one reads information of them being somewhere but no photographic evidence considering we are in the gadget era and Japan is definitely not backward when it comes to technology. “It seems Arashi is in Okinawa.” The “seems” makes it even less certain. Who knows if it’s them or their doubles, right? Information of their whereabouts are merely that, no photo to accompany and erase the doubts… until paparazzi or official photos confirm, maybe days or weeks, later.

Now, CNBlue arrive in New York and are surrounded by hands with cameras, I mean, fans with cameras. Having been used to the strict JE rules, I still squirm whenever I see CNBlue photos like this. They’re people, not animals set free from the zoo, c’mon, give them even just a one-meter radius.


yonghwa jfk2(Credit: cnbluemakesmehigh @ tumblr)


This reminds me of a friend’s story when Arashi had a concert in Shanghai. When Nino saw some fans at the airport, he asked in a rather sarcastic way, “what are you doing here?” And also that story of Arashi, in their early days of fame, when they took the shinkansen back to Tokyo after a concert and the train was full of fans trying to jostle and take a photo of them. Accounts said Nino and Jun were glaring (and if these two glare the world will melt, seriously, into one hot lava) showing their displeasure and embarrassment at how the other passengers were inconvenienced because of them. J also later gave a scolding on his J-web. This kind of behavior also reflects Japanese culture and how appropriate behavior in public places is so important for them. An example would be those signs in the subway reminding people to speak softly on their phones. But I digress.


Last week, I tweeted if I’m also expected to give Yonghwa a gift after seeing him struggling with dozens of shopping bags. For sure, he did not go shopping soon after he arrived at JFK. Those were gifts from fans.


yonghwa jfk(Credit on the pic)


This is where JE rules fit me perfectly. I don’t see any point in giving someone, who can afford anything and everything, a gift that most probably will just end up being given to the staff (or in Kim Woo-bin’s case of the limited edition Balmain shirt, to his girlfriend boohoo) or worn once to show appreciation (and let fans note that the items were worn) and then discarded later. These guys are pampered with gifts from sponsors already so I really feel strongly about this. Fans should just save their money and spend it on CDs, DVDs, concerts or merchandise. That’s enough of appreciation to let their idols know they are loved.

Social media

Ah. We are in the 21st century already. But Uncle Johnny has archaic rules and perhaps that’s the secret to his continued dominance in the world of male idols in Japan.

CNBlue has an official Twitter account that they share. They post updates that somehow add a personal touch to fan service. They’re also on Weibo.

While it’s impossible for Arashi to be on Weibo (though some Japanese stars including Oguri Shun are), I don’t think the boys themselves are “social media un-savvy” (as opposed to being media savvy) not to have their private accounts. Jun is on LINE as he let slip on Shiyagare and that is already a form of social media, though not as ubiquitous as Twitter or Facebook. But an official social media account? That would be asking for the moon, the stars and the whole milky way where JE is concerned.

On one hand, it works because they are somehow still insulated from direct feedback, whether good or bad. Seeing how some people actually think that there are no barriers nor manners to mind in the social media space, that’s a good thing. And in the entertainment business, over-exposure and too much information sharing (as in the case of stars on Weibo and Tencent) have a downside. I still prefer my stars to offer some mystery, like how we will never fully understand the entire universe. Somehow, that makes them more appealing, their luster shining even more brightly like a rare diamond.

(No Arashi photo was used to drive home a point. Either that or I was just being lazy.)

© Yasminka Lee (blogging since 2001). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the contents in Orange Jasmine Purple Yam without permission from the author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Yasminka Lee/Orange Jasmine Purple Yam with appropriate link to the original content.


13 thoughts on “[blog]: the irony in our stars (or the difference in fangirling Arashi & CNBlue)

  1. I’ve also noticed the differences and although it’s frustrating in the J-ent cos sometimes I’m like, “just one measly, poorly pixelated photo dammit!” (of course only to have none) personally I prefer the J-ent way of fan showmanship more. Maybe it’s just Japanese culture and mannerism largely driving (less of) the not-going-batshit-crazy behaviors, but I appreciate the fact that Japanese celebrities, even if they’re at mega-stardom level like ARASHI, are able to lead a private life that is still mostly private. They’re treated more like people and less like animals on display.

    Which is exactly like you pointed out and one of my pet peeve with K-ent. It’s like they put these celebrities in a zoo for show, or something of that sort. Granted, with the existence of social media, most celebrities (ahem, idols) themselves condone and even encourage (perhaps actively choose to, even) the attention that comes their way, but the overtly open book kinda reveal rubs me off the wrong way. Though then again, maybe that kind of “sharing” just isn’t my thing.

    “(No Arashi photo was used to drive home a point. Either that or I was just being lazy.)”

    OMG you always write the best sentence closures(!!) Definitely hit the point home!


    • I’m with you! I don’t like the culture in K-ent too and don’t get me started on the sasaengs. I feel sorry for the artists! I’m glad indeed that Japanese artists like Arashi are still able to maintain that certain distance from the public though yes, those celebs who are in social media, they encourage such fan behavior blurring the lines between them and their fans. but it gives the wrong idea to the fans thinking they can get away with anything and no longer recognize the boundaries.

      and seriously, K-ent has to change the business model. YouTube hits do not necessarily translate to revenues. allowing cameras inside concert venues don’t help either. they have to protect their artists and their copyright. that’s why there are concert DVDs for that purpose. maybe they should learn a thing or two from Uncle Johnny lol


      • HAHA omg learn from Uncle Johnny! But it’s trueeeee. I’m totally in agreement about YT hits, they’re so obsessed with that and hitting #1 on digital charts. After awhile I’m like, “dude everyone seems to hit #1!”


  2. Pingback: [blog] pop culture shock | orange jasmine purple yam

  3. Hey! Now JE got Johnny West account on twitter.
    I do hope it might the start of Arashi having official twitter account so I could know if they have concert or not and where fast. After all, I’m not in Japan or in the official fanclub to know that info.

    I do agree that K-ent idols alike are all being paraded almost like an animal in zoo. I mean some of the artist had also ever express their displeasure of the fan being so persistent and gathering around the idol in public setting. Some fan even got hurt, making the idol even more frustrated.

    True. If Jun & Nino glared it’ll be like a doom glare. ^ ^; They’re after all straightforward and more blunt than the other three. Riida too but then again Riida won’t be bothered if he isn’t reaching his max patience.

    In term of sale, I do think J-ent is right in limiting all the social media links. But it is disadvantages to furthering the world of it. Even though Arashi did it anyway (that’s why Arashi is the best<3). K-ent had different way of thinking about it I think. After all the main objective of them is on further impact on Hallyu Waves and K-Pop.
    I notice J-Pop fans is smaller than K-Pop fans in net.
    Even if they still sell a lot.
    In RL I rarely met J-Pop lovers (excluding AKB fans) rather than K-Pop. Others are westerns


    • Thanks for the comment! Yeah when you fangirl a J-pop and a K-pop group, you’d really see how extreme they are. I have my quibble about the way Johnnys is so insular, but at the same time, such policy protects their artistes from the fall-out of social media, for example. Too much exposure is not a good thing even for celebrities. And I wouldn’t want Arashi’s privacy to be constantly violated. I don’t think they’ll take it sitting down either. All of them (maybe except for Aiba who is known to be yasashi) are really mindful about their private space.


      • True. But thanks to uncle Johnny. Exposure to group is much more predictable and distributeable. Any senpai and kouhai relationship in JE is pretty warm. Fans also don’t fight and insult the other group like the fanwar in K-Pop industry. I mean with just some words, some fans would insult their stan’s sunbae group like hell. I notice this a lot in certain group fans.
        I mean respect is like zero. Fans are totally out of control.

        Imagine Arashi fans insulting SMAP senpai like Nakai for words he said in recording, then attack him on media. *shudder*
        Fan or not, Arashi himself would scold their own fans hard. Most definitely Jun, Nino and Sho would state their case. Aiba and Riida too. But since Aiba is very nice I don’t think he would be able to scold their fabs as hard as Jun or as sharp as Nino might be.


      • so on point! ofc there are some tension sometimes like when people compare SMAP and Arashi and either fandoms do not like it, but the discussion is always civil and focuses not on personal insults but on respecting both groups. I won’t dream insulting SMAP as a sempai because that’s a bad reflection on Arashi and Arashi would definitely not like that. I’m proud of how Arashi members have raised their fans 🙂


      • *nodded nodded* That’s right.
        I’m so proud of Arashi and all Arashian!!
        Arashi remains a warm, friendly and humble group all these years! We could see evidence on how people still loves Arashi! *happy*
        While I’m happy stanning a certain K-Pop Group, I’ll still be leaning towards Arashi and J-Pop. Always Arashi for me!
        There’s Kinki Kids, Kanjani, KAT-TUN, HSJ, West but still Arashi is my best<3

        Lol I think I'll always be attached to a group I first relate it. It's pretty weird. Like there might be lots of western singers but I still loves Westlife the most! When 1D comes out, I'm not swayed at all.. It is the same with Arashi.
        Actually tomorrow I'm going to Shane Filan (the ex Westlife member) concert here in my city!! I'm so excited~ It'll be my first time meeting him. When he's still in Westlife, I didn't manage to get their ticket. I regret so much. But now..gosh! That ticket is MINE! *possesive grin*

        Anyway thanks for the reply and the blog~ I'm so glad to find it addressing the issue. Thanks for info and additional insights!! 😀
        Gotta run now. Thanks again~


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