Rockin’ at arafo

By Alisa - Last updated: 金曜日, 4月 27, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


Japanese television is famous for being loud and crazy, but it sure is not just that or else it would drive me insane and I honestly wouldn’t be watching it if that were all true. Jounetsu Tairiku, one of my favorite documentary shows on basic local Japanese television recently featured an old all girl Japanese pop-rock band. Princess Princess was a famous band during the 80s and early 90s but disbanded in 1996 so I was wondering why they were being featured on television 16 years later. Apparently they had reunited in order to help with the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami recovery efforts. I’m sure those of you who are more up to par than I am when it comes to Japanese music might be yawning at me for talking about a band of your parents generation but writing about recent Japanese music trends in not my point here.

I actually did not know this until after watching the documentary, but it seems like Princess Princess did a lot for women in the music industry during the 80s and 90s in Japan. Although it seems like their career decisions were not made with any feminist intentions, and I also wouldn’t consider their music edgy in anyway, they were a breakthrough for female artists during an era where idol groups dominated the market and could not even style their own hair. They wrote and played their materials and made their career decisions. A generation later, all band members are in their 40s and some are mothers. Although they were all singing old songs from the past in their recent concert, it was refreshing to see these women rocking away because it is not everyday you see a Japanese band made up of all what people here call “arafo” or “women around their 40s.”

Don’t get me wrong. Although there are many foolish Japanese women and of course men who really think female lives just go downhill after they turn “misoji” or the big three-oh, it’s actually finally starting to become a good time for women in Japan. Despite some people’s images of the Japanese music industry flooded with underaged idols, there is a strong presence of over 40 female songwriters that can actually sing, have influence, and have control over their careers and lives. However, unfortunately it is not everyday you see a group of moms and older women strumming their guitars and bases and beating the drums. Maybe just a few keyboard players? So although I honestly never was a hardcore fan of their work until now, I do find myself humming to a lot of their songs so maybe I might want to go to their concert at the end of this year to get some 90s infused girl power.

Alisa Sanada, (@asanada) web localization consultant for Karakururin and co-organizer for Nagomi Kitchen, is a former Texan currently residing in Kawasaki. She went from craving fresh jalapenos while working 7 years in the web industry in Tokyo and Osaka to craving fresh tofu while traveling across the globe for a year in 2011 as a full time nomad. Alisa hopes to bring together her passions, the web, travel, and food through her work.

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