Arts2213 Literature Review Essay

1250 Words May 13th, 2016 5 Pages
Japanese popular culture has been around for many years and is the leading wave of Asian popular culture. It includes a variety of media such as manga, anime, film and music. Japanese popular culture is also portrayed through physical forms such as products, celebrities, personalities, maid cafes and may others. SMAP is a Jpop boy band with immense popularity from Japan and is one form of Japanese popular culture. Darling-Wolf suggests that SMAP's popularity is due to its careful construction of appeal and masculinity.
SMAP is not well-known for their talents in singing, but rather for depicting Japanese personalities. Darling-Wolf refers to SMAP members as 'life-sized' pop idols (Aoyagi) who personifies a typical Japanese boy or girl
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An interesting suggestion from Darling-Wolf is that though a few SMAP members have a highly sexual and feminised image, this may still appeal to the female audience as well as the homosexual male audience. The female audience may be attracted to the fact that SMAP is able to have romantic relationships beyond boundaries such as gender roles and heterosexuality. This is a particularly interesting which could have been discussed further.
In contrast to the Western culture, hardly any boy bands have a feminine image. Most celebrities are afraid to speak out about their homosexuality and until recently, same-sex marriage was accepted in America, which may have made it easier for celebrities to speak out. Though there are openly homosexual western celebrities such as Sam Smith and Ricky Martin, they do not portray heavily sexualised and feminine personalities like SMAP members. They are particularly conservative and will hardly wear heavy make-up or cross dress. This is an observation that can potentially be further examined.
A few limitations of Darling-Wolf's article is that though there were heavy emphasis on male masculinity and boy bands, there were no comparisons to the female bands and their appeal. It is unsure whether this can be applied to females too. Topics that can be further explored include whether hybridity in identities

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