Watch Out for the Jams | My Top 5 Da-iCE Songs

Hey there, idol fans! If you're looking for some song recommendations for this month's featured group then look no further. Today I'll be sharing with you all my top 5 songs by Da-iCE. Let's get started!



1. BILLION DREAMS

The main song from Da-iCE's fifth major single, "BILLION DREAMS" is a total jam. It's one of the songs that gets stuck in your head for days after just listening to it once.



2. WATCH OUT

The first song by Da-iCE I ever came across and it caused me to fall in love with them instantly. It's catchy as heck and I love the English version just as much as the Japanese. The B-side track from this single, "Sora" is also pretty amazing and both songs take me back to around the time when Da-iCE had their first ever overseas live in the US.



3. Splash

I'm a sucker for a good debut song and "Splash" definitely does not disappoint. From the group's self-titled indie debut mini album, this one is always a crowd-pleaser at lives.



4. Hush Hush 

"Hush Hush" is the main song from Da-iCE's third major single and I was addicted to it when I first discovered it. It's another really great one at lives due to its fun wotagei routine.



5. what you say

Surprisingly the only non-main song on this list, "what you say" is one of the tracks from Da-iCE's first full-length album "FIGHT BACK". I could honestly listen to this one on repeat for days.



An Introduction to Da-iCE | Group of the Month December 2018

Hey there, idol fans! I can't believe it's December already. Or Da-iCEmber as we're calling it here on DIG (I'm sorry, haha). That's right, our featured group this month is Da-iCE! Click here to see last month's group, ANTIME and be sure to subscribe to the Dansei Idol Girl newsletter to be ready for the first newsletter and Group of the Month of 2019. But anyway, let's get to getting to know Da-iCE (that was kind of a weird sentence)!


Da-iCE (pronounced 'dice') is a 5-member Jpop boy group under Avex made up of two vocalists and three dancers  (called 'performers'). They made their indie debut in 2012 with the self-titled mini album "Da-iCE". Their major debut though, was in 2014 with the single "Shout It Out". The idea behind the group's name is that each of the five members represent five sides of a dice, and the sixth side is represented by their fans.

The 'a-i' in their name ('ai' meaning 'love' in Japanese) is written in lowercase to represent the love from their fans, and fans of the group are known as a-i. They are a very well-loved group among overseas fans (and Kpop fans too), probably due to their modern-sounding songs, impressive vocal range and dance skills, and their accessibility and eagerness to gain fans outside of Japan. Their songs are available on iTunes and Spotify, and in 2016 they even performed live at an anime convention in the US.


The music video for "Hush Hush", the group's third major single.


Members


Wada Hayate


Position: Performer

Date of Birth: 1994.02.03

Hometown: Gunma Prefecture
  • The baby of the group.
  • Despite being the youngest he's the most experienced dancer.
  • Known for being very quiet and shy.



Hanamura Souta


Position: Vocalist

Date of Birth: 1990.08.15

Hometown: Hyogo Prefecture
  • Probably the member that gets bullied by the others the most.
  • Known for his high yet powerful voice.
  • Is nicknamed Murata but hates it, he prefers the nickname HanaSou (but no-one actually calls him that).



Ohno Yudai


Position: Vocalist

Date of Birth: 1989.04.01

Hometown: Aichi Prefecture
  • He was the one who came up with the group's name and the idea behind it.
  • He was previously a member of an acapella group called Fukkin Gakuen.
  • He's also an actor and acted alongside fellow member Hayate in the drama "Asuko March".
(Fun extra: I find it kind of amusing that his name sounds like "oh no you die" in English)

Upcoming Jpop Boy Group Releases for December 2018

Here are all of the upcoming music releases by Jpop boy groups for the month of December 2018. To have all of the latest releases and news sent straight to your inbox once a month be sure to subscribe to the Dansei Idol Girl e-mail newsletter!



FANTASTICS from EXILE TRIBE - OVER DRIVE


Release: 2018.12.05

Type: Single

Buy on CDJapan


MAG!C☆PRINCE - Bel!ever 


Release: 2018.12.05

Type: Album

Buy on CDJapan


MATSURI nine. - Gatten Shake!


Release: 2018.12.05

Type: Single

Buy on CDJapan


DA PUMP - THANX!!!!!! Neo Best of DA PUMP


Release: 2018.12.12

Type: Album



A Look at Former Johnny's Entertainment Members in the Entertainment Industry

It's more or less accepted that Johnny's Entertainment controls pretty much the entire entertainment industry in Japan. Anything that's released with the Johnny's name on it instantly going straight to number one on the charts, virtually every male lead in any currently airing drama is bound to be a Johnny's, and if Johnny's views any particular artist as a threat they can literally get them banned from all of the popular music programmes with just a request. Basically, no matter how hard you try to hide from JE as a Japanese entertainment fan you're still probably going to be assaulted by them from all angles.

With all of this media coverage and an almost cult-like following of dedicated and loyal fans, it's no surprise that JE doesn't have any real competition. Non-JE Jpop boy groups certainly do exist (hence this entire blog, haha) and do have their place but none of them have even gotten close to JE's legacy. That begs the question; what happens if a boy decides to leave Johnny's, realizing it's not for him (*cough* or gets kicked out *cough*) but still wants to be an idol? Would he still be able to find success? Is any other agency besides JE inevitably a down-grade? Let's find out by taking a look at a few of the more notable instances of ex-Johnny's going on to join other idol (or some non-idol) groups.

The first I'll mention is now Bullet Train (Choutokkyuu) member, Funatsu Ryoga. Ryoga was a member of Johnny's Jr. around 2006. After leaving the agency, he later in 2012 debuted as a member of Bullet Train and is now the leader of the group. Bullet Train has gone on to become one of EBiDAN's most popular groups and seems to be one of the most popular non-Johnny's boy groups overall. It should be noted that EBiDAN as a whole seems to be developing quite a legacy although on a smaller scale than Johnny's of course.

Lead singer of the ever-popular rock band ONE OK ROCK, Takahiro Moriuchi -- or Taka, as he is known professionally -- was the first member to leave JE group NEWS in 2003, having left even before they released their debut single. Taka is an example of a former Johnny's boy finding a huge amount of success -- what with ONE OK ROCK's large fanbase both in Japan and overseas -- yet maybe that has something to with him abandoning the 'idol' path for something a bit less restricting.

Morimoto Ryutaro -- once a member of JE group Hey! Say! JUMP but in 2011 was "let go" due to an underage smoking scandal -- made his return to the entertainment industry in 2016 as a member and the producer of male idol group ZERO. Almost two years later there's still no sign of the group releasing any CDs but they seem to be fairly active on social media and doing live performances.


Smile for the People | Asian Idols and Mental Health

TW: Suicide mention


This is a topic that is often at the back of my mind as an idol fan but after the recent news that King & Prince member Iwahashi Genki will be taking a break from the group due to struggling with panic disorder, I finally decided to sit down and write this post. First a bit of my personal background in regards to idols and mental health.

As a lot of us here in the online world seem to do, I suffered from mental health issues for a long time. I won't get too specific about what those issues were as that isn't the purpose of this post but I did talk about some of it in one of my posts last month, and the rest you can probably guess. It was in 2016 though that I sank to the lowest point I've ever been at. I was hardly leaving my house (or even my bedroom for that matter) and that's when idols came back into my life.

Back in 2012 I had been a huge Johnny's Entertainment fan but eventually lost interest. It was during one of those days in 2016 though that I was sat at home feeling depressed that I decided to get out my old Sexy Zone DVDs. After a brief trip down memory lane (checking out old Johnny's stuff and new stuff that had come out since I left the fandom), I started to discover lots of new boy groups outside of Johnny's Entertainment that I became very passionate about (I'm sure most of you know about The G=AGE Era) and long story short, that was how this blog was started. My love of idols just gave me something to smile about on those dark, lonely days where nothing about the future seemed certain and it also gave me that support I needed when I was ready to start coming out of that and making positive changes for myself.

Iwahashi Genki was actually one of my favourite Juniors back in my Johnny's days. He was so sweet, shy, and awkward and I suppose I emphasized with him a bit due to his history of being bullied and being unable to attend school due to his anxiety around the bullying. As far as I know Genki never mentioned having any sort of anxiety disorder but I could always sort of tell; like with how obviously nervous he would get before performances and the like, often getting stomach aches.


I was surprised when he ended up becoming quite popular, forming a sort of pair with Jinguji Yuta (another one of my favourite Juniors) but I was happy for him. When I heard he was debuting as part of King & Prince, of course I was happy but part of me did wonder whether he'd be able to cope, as while being a trainee is no walk in the park either, it must be a very different experience from being a member of a debuted group.

An Introduction to ANTIME | Group of the Month November 2018

Hey there, idol fans! So you may have noticed that there was no newsletter or Group of the Month in October. I took a bit of an unscheduled break for various reasons but now I'm back and probably a bit too eager to get started again. This month our featured group is ANTIME and not only that but we'll be having a bit of a Johnny's Entertainment (or maybe ex-Johnny's) themed month here on Dansei Idol Girl so stay tuned!

Check out September's Group of the Month -- Satori Shounen Dan -- here and to be the first to know about next month's group be sure to subscribe to the Dansei Idol Girl newsletter. But anyway, let's get started. It's time to get to know ANTIME (pun intended, sorry).




ANTIME is a 4-member boy group under STARBASE Records that is made solely up of former Johnny's Jr. members. They made their debut in 2017 with the indie mini album "Born Again". They are very aware of their overseas fanbase and their music can be easily found on YouTube, iTunes, and Spotify. The group's name comes from the French word "intime" meaning "intimacy", symbolizing the close bond between the members and the teamwork they possess.




The music video for ANTIME's "Number One" from their debut album "VISION"

Members


FU

 

Full Name: Takahashi Fu

Date of Birth: 1998.05.08

Hometown: Saitama
  • When he was in Johnny's he was quite well-known for being able to do a headspin. You can see him doing it briefly in Sexy Zone's music video for "Sexy Zone". He also breakdances and can do a backflip.
  • He appeared alongside several other Johnny's Jr.'s (including fellow ANTIME member AM) and the Sexy Zone member Sato Shori in the drama "49". He also took part in the recording of the song "Watashi no Okite" as part of Chicken Basket, a one-off crossdressing unit created specially for this drama.
  • His favourite foods are melon bread and curry.

U

 

Full Name: Kawaguchi Yuu

Date of Birth: 1997.03.27

Hometown: Chiba
  • He's actually the only member of ANTIME I hadn't heard of when he was in Johnny's.
  • His favourite musical artist is G-Dragon (Big Bang).
  • His specialty is rap. 

Being A Selective Mutism Mermaid | Dansei Idol Girl

Today’s post will be a little different. It’s not actually about Jpop but this topic is something that’s very dear to my heart and I want to raise aware about so I very much hope that you’ll take the time to take a quick look at it even if it’s not Jpop-related!

As a child, my favourite Disney princess movie was The Little Mermaid. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I liked so much about it. I was always captivated by anything magical, so maybe it was just the idea that these beautiful half-human, half-fish creatures could very well exist in our oceans and we had no idea about it.

I’ve retained my love of mermaids (and mythical creatures in general) even into adulthood. I’m not ashamed to say my bedroom is full of mermaid trinkets, I own several decks of mermaid oracle cards, and I may or may not be brushing up on my swimming skills just so I can buy myself one of those swimmable mermaid tails. There is another reason why the story of The Little Mermaid has become very important to me though, and it’s not because I want to marry a handsome prince (although that would be nice)!


The Little Mermaid tells the story of a young princess who falls in love with a prince. The one problem though, is that he’s human and she’s a mermaid. In order to become human so she can make her prince fall in love with her, she has to give up her voice. How is she supposed to do anything if she can’t speak though? How will she get the prince to fall for her? She can’t even order food for herself at a restaurant or tell someone if she needs some help. These are situations I know all too well because I had a condition called selective mutism.

Selective mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder which prevents a person who is physically capable of speaking from doing so in certain situations or to specific people. The sufferer will most likely speak freely and confidently at home, but may “freeze” in a situation they don’t feel comfortable in such as a new environment or around people they don’t know well.

MEN'S PANIC 2018 Fan Report | Male Idol Festival in Japan featuring M!LK, SUPER★DRAGON & more

Now, I've been wanting to go to Japan for a while. For almost 10 years actually so you'd imagine I'd have quite a hefty list of things planned for my trip. One thing I definitely wanted to do while I was there was see as many of my favourite male idol groups live as I could o this led me to BOYS NEON LIVE (a monthly event for male idols). While searching their website, I saw that during the month of August (the month I would be in Japan) they would be running an event called MEN'S PANIC and checking the MEN'S PANIC website, I couldn't believe how perfect it was. There was a whole host of male idol groups set to be performing at the event with more and more continously being added. Since we hadn't decided on the exact dates for our trip yet, I then made sure that our holiday would be booked to include the MEN'S PANIC dates.


MEN'S PANIC took place on August 11th (Saturday) and 12th (Sunday) at Makuhari Messe, a huge convetion centre in Chiba. I would've loved to go on both days but the tickets were quite expensive as well as taking into account the fact that I had to buy them via a shopping service before I arrived in Japan and I had to pay for my dad as well so I elected to only attend the Sunday, since M!LK and SUPER★DRAGON were performing on that day.

After arriving at the venue and queuing for a little while, we got into the hall just before 10am which was when the first performance was due to start. The members of some of the lesser-known indie groups like URAGAWA PROJECT and TOONBOYS were waiting by the entrance, eager to give out their flyers (although some of them seemed a little wary of us at first as I assume they wondered whether we could speak Japanese or not). The members of URAGAWA PROJECT were particularly keen; I ended up with about five different copies of their flyer, haha.

We took some time to familliarize ourselves with the set-up of the hall and then we went over to the Platinum Stage which was where the first performance I wanted to see was going to be. 10 o'clock came and then Starmen KiDS came running onto the stage, full of their usual energy. Admittedly I'm not a huge Starmen KiDS fan so I didn't know any of the names of the songs they performed but it was still super cute.

The next performance I wanted to see wasn't until 11:15 so I just hung around by the Platinum Stage after that, watching whichever groups came up next. I saw Milli Melle Holic and Rushx300. During Rushx300's performance there was a girl next to me who literally knew their entire dance routines and was dancing along with the members on stage which I thought was pretty impressive, haha. I really liked one of their songs too but I have no idea what it was called.

After Rushx300's performance, we moved over to the Diamond Stage since M!LK's performance was due to start soon. Zekkou Cho Dan☆LoVe were just finishing up their set then and yet again they had a super catchy song that I have no idea what the name of it was, haha.

There was a few minutes of waiting around then and then M!LK's name appeared on the screen to the sound of hundreds of screaming fangirls. My dad said, "Oh, it's M!LK!" in recognition because they're pretty much the only group I like that he actually remembers, haha. They came out onto the stage then and they opened with a new song that I haven't heard before but I'm still super hyped. I felt the same way as when I saw SUPER★DRAGON for the first time; there's just this special feeling that seeing your favourite Jpop group in person for the first time gives you that I can't really put into words.

After the first song they did their usual introduction. I was probably a bit too energetic joining in with the calls but I was having so much fun, haha. They also asked everyone to join in with the "towel spinning" for the next song.

The next song was "Summer Gamba!!". I didn't have a towel but I joined in with my penlight. They had back-up dancers for this song that came on stage wearing M!LK T-shirts and dancing with pom-poms, much to my dad's confusion. They did that dance -- I don't know the name of it but it's pretty popular right now -- the one that DA PUMP do in the chorus of "U.S.A".


The next song is "Shissou Pendulum" and even though this is normally one of my least favourite M!LK songs there's something exciting about hearing it live. Everyone doing the wotagei routine for the chorus part in unison gave me this weird sense of community almost, as cheesy as that sounds.

The went straight into "Ternero Fighter" then and I'm waving my penlight like mad because this is one of my jams. Everyone (myself included) was so full of energy during the "Ternero, ternero, ternero~" parts. It was during this song though that I became very aware of Haruki's absense. There's that part in the song where each of the members call out their names so they had to do it in a different order since Haruki's not around anymore and I think it was slightly confusing for them as well as the fans, haha.

An Introduction to Satori Shounen Dan | Group of the Month September 2018

Hey there, idol fans! Welcome to our fourth edition of Group of the Month. This month's featured group is yet another EBiDAN group, Satori Shounen Dan! If you missed it, check out last month's group -- SUPER★DRAGON -- here and to be the first to know about next month's group as well as all of the latest news in the world of Jpop boy groups be sure to subscribe to the Dansei Idol Girl newsletter.

 
Satori Shounen Dan (also called SATORI BOYS CLUB or SBC) is a 3-member dance and vocal unit under EBiDAN. They made their CD debut in 2017 with the single "Help You" but they were active prior to this as an EBiDAN THE STREET (the collective name for EBiDAN artists that mainly focus on performing street lives) group. The name was chosen because all of the members are of the "Satori generation". They also have a collaboration unit with fellow EBiDAN group EBiSSH called ONE N' ONLY.


The group performing "I wanna say..." (2016)

 

 

Members


Yamashita Eiku


Member Colour: Pink

Date of Birth: 1999.12.19

Hometown: Yamanashi

Extras: 
  • The lead vocalist of the group. He has a somewhat unusual voice and I like it a lot. I'd have to say he's one of my favourite vocalists in EBiDAN.
  • There's something about Eiku that I just love. I don't know what it is exactly. He just has a really friendly face and seems very sweet and gentle.
  • One of the reasons Eiku began his music career was because his dad was a big fan of Yazawa Eikichi, a very influencial Japanese singer. It seems this is also why he was named "Eiku".

Takao Hayato


Member Colour: Blue

Date of Birth: 1999.09.17

Hometown: Shizuoka

Extras:
  • One of the dancers in the group and he occasionally raps.
  • The only word I can think of to describe him really is 'yabai (crazy)', haha. He's just very energetic and funny.
  • He seems to get the crowd the most fired up during their lives.

Upcoming Jpop Boy Group Releases for September 2018

Here are all of the upcoming music releases by Jpop boy groups for the month of September 2018. To have all of the latest releases and news sent straight to your inbox once a month be sure to subscribe to the Dansei Idol Girl e-mail newsletter!


B2takes! - Brand New Anniversary / Not Alone


Release: 2018.09.04

Type: Single

Buy on CDJapan


BREAK☆THROUGH"5D - Viva Viva Bounce!


Release: 2018.09.04

Type: Single

Buy on CDJapan
 

 Sonar Pocket - Kimi no Namae


Release: 2018.09.04

Type: Single

Sh*tty Noise | My Top 5 SUPER★DRAGON Songs

Hey there, idol fans! If you're in need of some Jpop recommendations then check out my top 5 songs by this month's featured group, SUPER★DRAGON.



1. Get Treasure Journey

This song is an absolute gem. Incorporating the group's usual rap and dubstep-inspired sound with a surprising raggae/dancehall influence, even my dad who has always questioned my interest in Japanese music approves of this song, haha. "Get Treasure Journey" is one of the coupling songs from the group's 3rd single, "Monster!". As much as I love Jean, I feel like some of Supadora songs just don't really fit him very well and the writers are just kind of looking for a place in the song to shove him in just because he's the lead rapper but this is not one of those songs. This song fits him and his voice extremely well in my opinion.



2. City Noise

Another one of the coupling songs from "Monster!", I was in awe the first time I heard "City Noise". It's so modern-sounding and unbelievably catchy that I feel like even people who aren't really into Jpop will like this one. I can't help but giggle a bit though at how Hyoma pronounces "city" as "sh*tty".



3. Ringing, Love

One of the coupling songs from SUPER★DRAGON's most recent single "SWEET DEVIL", I fell in love with "Ringing, Love" instantly the first time I heard it when I attended the SWEET DEVIL Release Event in Chiba. We all know that Tsuyoshi has a gorgeous voice but hearing him sing the "I love you so bad" lines in English in this song gets me every time.


SUPER★DRAGON "SWEET DEVIL" Release Event in Chiba Fan Report | Dansei Idol Girl

Luckily enough for me, while I was in Japan SUPER★DRAGON (this month's featured group) were still in the process of doing their free live tour to promote the release of their newest single, "SWEET DEVIL". So with a lot of confusion and limited Japanese, my dad and I travelled down to Chiba for the day to catch their final performance of the tour.

 
The live took place in Seven Park Ario, a large shopping mall in Kashiwa. Thankfully there was a bus from Kashiwa Station that stopped directly outside the venue so we managed to get there without too many problems. When we actually got inside the venue though was when I had to properly break out my rusty Japanese for the first time on our trip (other than saying the odd word to people on the street giving us directions and the like) because we had trouble finding the stage so we ended up having to ask a group of giggly young girls holding SUPER★DRAGON uchiwas the way and they told us in a mix of Japanese and English.

Once we found the stage there was still a while before the live was due to start and on our search we'd noticed that there was a TOWER RECORDS inside the shopping mall so we decided to check that out in the meantime. In there I found a copy of the event edition of M!LK's "Ousama no Gyuunyuu" which I've been after for a while so of course I bought it.

We wandered around the mall for a bit more after that and it was then that I started to wonder where everyone had gotten the SUPER★DRAGON uchiwas from. I really wanted one as I thought it would be a great way to remember the event so I asked a couple of fans who were standing nearby and they explained that if we'd have gotten there early enough and bought a copy of "SWEET DEVIL" then we would've gotten a special ticket with it which could have been exchanged for either a picture with the group or an uchiwa. I was a little disappointed we hadn't gotten there in time but I was happy I'd managed to purchase M!LK's album at least and I still had the live to look forward to.

It was almost time for the live to start then so we went outside to the stage. People who had certain ticket numbers were allowed to go closer to the front but since I didn't have a ticket I was near the back but it wasn't overly packed so my view wasn't too bad. I felt sorry for the girl next to me though because she was smaller than me and could barely see so she had to keep jumping all through the live! My dad wandered off to sit on a wall nearby because it was hot, haha.

After an announcement from the staff, the live started and SUPER★DRAGON came running onto the stage to the sound of screaming fangirls. I think Jean was the first member I noticed and I swooned a little when I saw him. He's had blonde hair recently but it was back to brown now which I think suits him better and he had earrings in. He looked so handsome ;-;

An Introduction to SUPER★DRAGON | Group of the Month August 2018

Hey there, idol fans! Welcome to our third edition of Group of the Month. This month's featured group is none other than SUPER★DRAGON! If you missed it, check out last month's group -- M!LK -- here and to be the first to know about next month's group as well as all of the latest news in the world of Jpop boy groups be sure to subscribe to the Dansei Idol Girl newsletter. Feel free to let me know in the comments any groups you'd like to be featured in upcoming months but without further ado, let's get started!


SUPER★DRAGON (also called "Supadora" for short) is a 9-member EBiDAN group that made their performance debut in 2015 with the song "Hack My Choice". Their CD debut though, wasn't until 2016 with the single "Pendulum Beat!", the title track being used as the opening song for the anime "Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V". The group was based around the concept of a fusion between rock, dubstep, and rap and influence from these genres and more can be found in their music. The group is split up into two subgroups; FIRE DRAGON which is the four oldest members and THUNDER DRAGON which is the five youngest members.


"BAD BOY", the first music video the group released.

Members

 


FIRE DRAGON

 

 

Shimura Reo

Date of Birth: January 29th 1999

Hometown: Tokyo

Extras:
  • The oldest member but is very loud and likes to mess around. He often gets told off by those younger than him, haha.
  • The best dancer in the group.
  • Probably gets picked on the most by the other members.

Furukawa Tsuyoshi

Date of Birth: February 27th 2000

Hometown: Tokyo

Extras:
  • The lead singer of the group. In the group's earlier songs he was the only one who sang any solo lines.
  • He's the best singer in the group and probably one of the best singers in the whole of EBiDAN too.
  • Takes performing very seriously. Sometimes his voice can sound a little strained in concerts because he's probably pushing himself a bit too hard, bless him!

Jean Kaito

Date of Birth: May 4th 2000

Hometown: Tokyo

Extras:
  • The main rapper of the group. He has a very cool, bad boy kind of vibe to him.
  • He's half-Turkish.
  • He has a very unusual (and pretty weird if I'm honest) fashion sense. No-one really understands his fashion choices apart from him, haha.

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