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2011年12月31日

The man who made AKB48  Wall Street Journal

AKB48。先日レコード大賞を取り、名実ともに日本の音楽業界を完全制覇しました。
私は実は、、、その支店的組織SKE48のガチヲタです(笑)。個人ブログの方を読めばなぜこんなことになってしまったのかわかるかと思います。割と最近の話なのです。えー、真面目に英語の勉強について書いてる人と勘違いしていた人にとっては、大変ガッカリすることこの上ないと思います。人生どこで間違うかわからんもんです。まだ新規ですけど、ヲタ日数の割に超詳しい部類だと自負しています。一言で表すなら、キモヲタというやつでしょうか?(笑)※あ、でも英語ブログさぼってたのはこれに乱心してたからじゃないですよ!

さて、そんなこんなでAKBについてもいつものようにその成り立ちから研究していました。
やはり面白いです。システムの構築からその紆余曲折のヒストリーなど。秋元康の著作までいくつか読んでしまうしまつ。もちろん正直どうなのこのやり方は?という気持ちも抱えつつ、乗っかってる部分もあります。なぜなら面白いから。

一言でいうなら、芸能の世界において

システムが才能を凌駕した持続可能な組織

がAKB48という感じです。基本の成り立ちとして、何に秀でているわけでもない女の子の中で、このシステムにもっともフィットする子が最も推され、最も人気が出るように仕組まれている。もちろんその子たち自身もそのシステムの上で求められていることを必死に努力してこなしていくことで、人々の心に訴えてくるというもの。努力したものが勝という意味では現実世界と同じ。そして、努力だけでどうにもならない運の要素も大きいというのも現実世界とまた同じ。※もちろん中には素晴らしい才能の持ち主もいます

完成したモノでなくて、完成までのプロセス

が全てのような、才能や出来不出来とは無縁の、努力するプロセスを面白おかしく楽しみながら応援しましょうというような感じです。
特に日本人の、がんばれ という言葉に代表されるような、誰かを応援したい気持ちの強さを巧みに利用した、隙のないシステムと言えます。


そんなAKB48に世界の警察にしてエンターテイメント界の巨人、米国が遂に興味を持ち始めました。そりゃそうだ、Lady GAGAより売れてれば気になるに決まってる。Google+との提携で何やらAKBという金のなる木、無敵のシステムはどうやらガチで使えるものらしいと気づいたのでしょうか?G+もわずか一月で数十万人〜100万人規模で日本での利用者が増えたことは想像に難くないです。
とはいえ、日本人と違い非常に合理的なアメリカ人が同じCDを何枚も何十枚も何百枚も買うとは到底思えませんが、、、中には外国人のヲタも存在するので(アメリカ人ではありませんでしたが会ったことあるので間違いないです)アメリカでもありえるかもしれませんね、、、

ここまで書いて、大ファンじゃんと思った人もいるかもしれませんが、実は個人的にはAKBはそんなに好きにはなりませんでした。SKEの存在により大嫌いから好きに変わったのでそれだけで随分凄いことですが。なぜ好きになりきれないか考えたところ、面白いには面白いんだけど、すでに飽きているのです。各大手事務所に所属した時点で今のメインの子たちはすでに一つ大きな目標を達成している感じがして、今更何を応援したらいいのだろうか?と感じますし、芸能にはわけあって詳しいのでわかるのですが、事務所の事情が透けて見えることが多いので興ざめ感もあります。
その点SKEは崖っぷちで来年AKB並みに昇るか、失敗すれば解散もあり得るような微妙な立場にあって、みなハングリーかつ才能もある子が多いと感じるので、面白く応援のしがいもあると感じているのでSKE寄りなのです。より面白い方が好き、ただそれだけの話です。そもそもアイドルが好きなわけじゃないのでNMBやHKTその他は基本スルーです。


前置きが非常に長くなりましたが、では今年最後、Wall street journalに掲載された秋元氏のインタビュー記事を引用して、英語の勉強をしちゃいましょう! 劇場をエルサレムに例えるあたり、やはり一種の宗教にまで発展させようとしてるんですかね、、、おそろしや


以下Wall Street Journal 12/28引用

By Kenneth Maxwell and Andrew Joyce


Yasushi Akimoto and Google vice president Bradley Horowitz smile with Japanese all-girl pop group AKB48 members.In his nearly 40 years in showbusiness, Yasushi Akimoto has seen it all. From writing the last hit for enka legend Hibari Misora before her death, to making a movie in New York with Yoko Ono, the 55-year-old pop producer has covered all the bases.

But even for Mr. Akimoto, 2011 has been a banner year, thanks to his biggest creation − AKB48. The girl group, with a total of 92 members currently, including up and coming “research students,” has rewritten the record books this past year. All five best-selling singles this year were AKB48 songs, with lyrics by Mr. Akimoto. The last three hits sold a million CDs each on their first day of release. According to chart compiler Oricon, AKB48 grossed total sales of about $215 million in 2011.

On the cusp of plans for a major expansion of his project overseas, with sister groups in cities like Jakarta and Taipei, Mr. Akimoto sat down for a rare interview with The Wall Street Journal on the 26th floor of a block overlooking Tokyo’s Imperial Palace Gardens.

Shrugging off the odd sign of tiredness from the hectic schedule that coming with retaining personal control of all things AKB48, the producer discussed the origins of the group, gave his take on why it’s grown from a first audience of just seven people, mused on prospects for exporting his project far and wide, possibly including the U.S., and answered the key question: How do you sell a million CDs in a day?

An abbreviated transcript of the interview follows.

How would you explain AKB48 to American readers who have never heard of them?

In America, performers are chosen through strict auditions of thousands of people, and those with the most talent have to go through difficult lessons and coaching before they’re “complete” and can finally stand on the stage. AKB48 girls are “unfinished.” In other words, they’re still not very good at singing or dancing. The fans are supporting the girls and cheering them on as they gradually get better – as they become the finished article – that’s what AKB48 is all about.

How does AKB48 differ from some of the Korean girl bands and other idol groups that are currently popular in Japan?

The biggest difference with K-Pop is the fact that AKB48 are “incomplete.” “Complete” means these groups make their debut after they have auditioned and practiced, but AKB48 are unpolished and fans can watch them progress−that’s the difference.

Why does the AKB business model work? In basic terms, how were you able to sell one million singles on the first day of release?

I often say we need to have content that is striking. What do I mean by that? It’s something that quickly grabs hold of you and doesn’t let you go. At first, there were only seven people in the audience at the AKB theater [for the band's first-ever show in its own purpose-built theater], and I wasn’t worried at all. All I wanted to know was whether those seven people liked what they saw. If they really liked it and were impressed, then I knew the number of people would grow. AKB48 are different from other ordinary artists in that they provoke this kind of feeling. That is one major reason why they have become so successful. I think the closest comparison is with die-hard baseball fans – they go to the key games no matter what it takes…it’s the same kind of feeling with AKB48. You can tell your favorite girl that their dancing has improved, or their singing has got better, or that they’d look better with short hair. The fans are also a part of the production team for AKB. That sense of solidarity, of being on the same team, is why it’s fun. Of course, having multiple types of CDs may be part of the reason why AKB catches peoples’ attention…but lots of artists do that. That alone would not make the CDs sell.

Many fans buy multiple copies of AKB singles to try to improve the prospects of their favorite members. Some people say this means the band’s success is not quite what it seems – that a core group of fans are responsible for much of the success. What do you think about this?

To sell one million singles it’s not enough just to have a core group of fans who each buy multiple copies. Of course there are fans that buy a lot of singles, but the important thing is that people who don’t know anything about AKB start to take notice, think it looks like fun and buy the singles too.

How did you come by the nickname of “the shark of showbusiness”?

When a fire sparks, I’m always to be found where it’s burning the strongest. People see me always at the front, always in the front row, and they think “Wow, that guy must be lucky.” But it’s not luck…I am actually the one lighting these fires. Once the fire is lit, I’m not trying to control it…I watch how it moves and spreads, and handle it depending on each situation. The wind always changes its direction.

Why Akihabara?

At first, I had the idea of starting something in Shibuya or Harajuku but, there weren’t any good venues there. I was told about a good spot in Akihabara. At that time Akihabara was starting to gain wider popularity… as an area known for otaku culture it was becoming ‘hot’…so I thought that would be interesting. At first, I wasn’t thinking about the number of members. Primarily it was an experiment –to see what would happen if I created a theatre and held a revue on a daily basis. From the beginning I thought a lot about what to name the group. Something like, for example, “Cherry Pie” would have sounded too much like other groups. Besides, AKB48 was still in its development stage. You often see cars that are still in development with names like AZ-9 or something − I wanted a name with a similar effect…an inorganic feeling.

How involved are you in the day-to-day running of AKB48? Do you write the songs? Lyrics? Are you in the studio?

I do everything. I listen to a lot of songs everyday and think of how I might arrange certain songs. Then I write the lyrics. From there I think about how the song should be promoted, or what to do for television programs, or what to do about online games or merchandise. So I do everything.

Are you a businessman or an artist?

I’m a producer; I’m the producer of AKB48. It’s like being an architect designing a building. I think about what color the walls should be, what shape the windows should be, and also the lighting. I think about where the furniture should be placed. Of course, various specialists get involved to help with the building, but I still have to watch carefully and say “That’s the wrong window,” or “Those curtains are wrong”… I have to watch everything.

What kind of development is possible in Asia for the AKB48 format?

I’ll hold auditions locally for groups like Jakarta 48 and Taipei 48. They will sing in their own languages and the audience will see people similar to them perform. It will definitely become popular. Then Jakarta 48 will perform in Taiwan, and Taipei 48 will perform in Jakarta. They’ll visit various places in Asia. Finally, there could be an Asia version of the election to see who is the most popular in Asia [regular elections among fans who buy AKB48 CDs select which members are rated the most popular]. By then America and England would take notice and may start to think that something extraordinary is happening here.

Who/what are your inspirations?

The most important thing is excitement for something new. As we get older, we are surprised by fewer and fewer things, but as children we are constantly amazed. That excitement becomes less frequent as we grow up. What I try to do is make something new, like AKB48, and try to capture that special kind of excitement. That’s my job…to create that feeling of excitement we have as children.

Which western artists do you most admire, or would like to collaborate with?

I think Lady Gaga is impressive. Just having good songs or lyrics won’t sell CDs, but rather how much buzz you can create…whether you can define current trends. When Lady Gaga came to Japan, she brought a Hermes ‘Birkin’ bag. That in itself is interesting – that someone with an anti-establishment attitude would carry such a classic, conservative bag. But she had also written a message to her Japanese fans, in Japanese, on the bag in marker pen. I thought that was really cool…to graffiti such an expensive, traditional bag. The producer, or maybe it was Lady Gaga herself, who came up with that idea really understood the current times. Just having good music alone is not enough.

The commercials that AKB48 appear in seem to be targeting men? Are you targeting male fans?

Not at all. When it started I needed a target, but once the fire was lit I just let it burn. It’s up to the direction of the wind. I’m not trying to specifically target men through the commercials that AKB48 appear in…rather, anything is fine. But it’s not enough just to have AKB48 appear in a commercial…I do things that are new, that are likely to create an impact. That’s how it grows and develops. So the commercial needs to add fuel to the fire.

At first, what kind of people did you target?

Of course, I targeted the kind of people who like ‘idols.’ That’s why I made a small theater in Akihabara, with young girls singing and dancing in a revue. I targeted people who would find that interesting and fun. Certainly at first those kinds of people were buying two or three copies of the CDs each. But the important thing is that 95% of AKB48 fans have never been to the theater…even if they want to go, they can’t. It’s like Christians; they can’t really visit Jerusalem, but they are still able to pray at their local church. That might be what JKT48 in Jakarta will be like, or in Taipei. Those fans want to come and visit the “head temple” in Akihabara, but that’s not the whole of it – they also have a great local version that they can support.

A lot of AKB48 fans do seem to be men. Is that a group that you are particularly looking to target?

I’m not targeting anyone. I’ve been in this business for nearly 40 years, and I’m telling you that you can’t do it like that. It would be too forced…you can’t tell people what they like. The important thing is that, once the fire is lit, I’m not trying to control it…I watch how it moves and spreads. AKB48 have all-round appeal. There’s no bias on one side or another. Boys like them because they think the girls are cute and fall in love with them. Slightly older men want to cheer them on and support them, as they would their little sisters or daughters. Girls who like AKB48 want to be like them…they want to be on the same stage.

For people in the U.S., the image of AKB48 may seem strange: Teenage girls dressing up in miniskirts and school uniforms. Many people may think that this is not an empowering image for girls. What do you think about this?

Some people in America might say that AKB48 would never work there, but to me that is an opportunity. They think the only things that can succeed are the things that they are already doing. America is the country that said Elvis Presley shaking his hips was bad…so it’s clear that this kind of view will be there. But when people think “this will never work”– that is precisely when you can make a hit. Businessmen might think about such risks. But I’m not a businessman, I’m a creator, and so I see this as a big chance.

AKB48 has performed in charity concerts to help efforts to provide relief for victims of Japan’s March 11 disasters. Do you have any thoughts about how Japan can recover?

First of all I think Japan has to stand together with Tohoku. We shouldn’t buckle under the pain. But on the other hand we shouldn’t forget that pain. What matters is how we can rise again with this pain. AKB48 may just be an idol group… I don’t for a minute think that they can save Japan… but I think there are things they can do. So other businesses and individuals can do their bit too.

引用元
ttp://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/12/28/the-man-who-made-akb48/全訳引用はこちら |ランキングへ 人気ブログランキングへにほんブログ村 英語ブログへTREview
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The Zen Steve Jobs ジョブズと禅 漫画

IMG03932-20111231-1129.jpg
IMG03933-20111231-1129.jpg

i-podが英語学習においても革命児であることは何度もこのブログで書いてきましたが、その生みの親、故スティーブ・ジョブズ氏と禅の出会いが、i-podのシンプルな形を生んだという話があります。

それについて書いてある本と思って買ったら、漫画でした(笑)。なぜ発売前に既に手元にあるか?まあいいでしょう。

短いですが結構面白いので興味があれば。
http://www.amazon.co.jp/Zen-Steve-Jobs-Caleb-Melby/dp/1118295269/ref=sr_1_1?s=english-books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325298945&sr=1-1

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2011年12月07日

村上春樹1Q84 Karuki Murakami Jay Rubin訳

1Q84って去年だかおととしだかに流行りましたよね?

自分も読みましたが、話はそこそこ面白いけど、なんじゃこりゃ?って感じの本でした。

その英訳が出てたのでネタとして買いました。



訳者のJay Rubinという人は重松清のロストオデッセイというゲームの小説部分を訳してて凄くわかりやすかったので、読み易いと思います。村上春樹の翻訳作品はほとんどこの人が絡んでます。
って確か前に記事にしたような、、、

めっちゃデカい本です。3巻丸ごと入ってますからね。

IMG03727-20111206-2352.jpg
これ一応青豆のつもりらしい

IMG03728-20111206-2353.jpg

IMG03731-20111206-2357.jpg
ハリポタの6巻ブルームズベリーのハードと比べてもこのデカさです。厚みはほぼ同じで、縦が数センチ長い。文字はもちろんハリポタより細かいので、相当読み応えありそうです。

まあ一回日本版読んでるからスイスイ読めそうですが、持ち運べるサイズじゃないので家で読むのが限定になる分なかなか終わらなそうです。

最近勉強してないんで、気合入れ直します!
ブックオフを近所に発見して以来日本の100円の本を漁って洋書離れが進んでるので、そろそろ洋書祭開催しようかと考えてます。 |ランキングへ 人気ブログランキングへにほんブログ村 英語ブログへTREview
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