But in all serious, having a member who's foreign can definitely add a bit of 'international flavour' to a group and can make the group seen more accessible to fans who aren't Japanese. It could be useful for Japanese people as well, as it could allow them to learn more about different cultures that they otherwise wouldn't come into contact with.
But whatever the reason, let's take a look at a few foreign or mixed boys in the Jpop idol industry!
We can't have a post about foreign male Jpop idols without mentioning Marius Yo. Marius is the youngest member of Johnny's Entertainment group Sexy Zone. Not only that but he currently holds the record for being the youngest boy to ever debut from Johnny's and the first boy to debut who isn't fully Japanese. Marius is half-German, a quarter Japanese, and a quarter Chinese and was born and raised in Germany. He moved to Japan to pursue his career as an idol.
Although I don't really follow Johnny's Entertainment anymore, Marius remains a special exception for me. He seems very sweet and down to earth, and his worldly background makes him very 'woke' to a lot of issues. I hope he'll continue to shock us by doing a lot of amazing things that we never would have expected (like when he made a guest appearance on the American sitcom Fuller House).
The next boy that comes to mind is Jean Kaito, lead rapper of EBiDAN group SUPER★DRAGON. Jean is half-Turkish and seemingly speaks Spanish.
Anyone who knows me knows how incredibly biased I am towards Jean. He's not the type of idol I usually tend to like at all, yet his whole "I try to act like a bad boy but am actually a huge dork" vibe just gets to me somehow. I made direct eye contact with him both times that I saw SUPER★DRAGON when I was Japan, but where other idols were really shook to see a black person in the audience, Jean just seemed completely unimpressed with my presence. It was wonderful.
Also from EBiDAN, we have Knight Andrew who is a member of the KiDS group ZeBRA☆STAR. Knight is half-British and speaks English fluently. Interestingly he was actually born in Hong Kong and seems to travel regularly. Queue more bias from me on account of the fact that we're both British. There is also half-American AMEZARI member Jay.
EBiDAN as a whole does seem to have quite a few foreign and mixed members although most of them seem to be in the trainee department (BATTLE BOYS) currently, such as half-American Jeffrey Malone. I hope EBiDAN will end up debuting more of their foreign boys in the near future.
A group with just one foreign member isn't enough though, right?
Rookie group BUZZ-ER. (a group I'm currently keeping a close eye on) also have two mixed members. Shalf who is half-Pakistani and Hau who is fully Vietnamese. Interestingly, Shalf is a former member of Johnny's Jr. while Hau is a former member of G-EYE, a subunit of G=AGE. These idol boys like to get around apparently.
Another former Johnny's Jr. member is Okamoto Kauan, who is now a member of indie group ANTIME. Kauan is half-Brazilian and speaks Portuguese fluently.
Last on our list is INTERSECTION, this month's featured group. INTERSECTION are under a subsidiary of Avex called The Whole Earth Connection and so far only seem to sing in English. All of the members are of Japanese-American descent, but member Caelan Moriarty (on the far right) in particular has an even more diverse background. His father is half-Irish and is in the military. Caelan has lived in Hawaii, Japan, and Virginia Beach due to the nature of his father's work and doesn't seem to speak a whole lot of Japanese (he often will say things in English during the group's Instagram lives then ask Kazuma to translate for him). Also he's smol and I love him. Just wanted to mention that.
What do you think of foreign Jpop idols? Do you think the idol industry needs more diversity? Are there any foreign or mixed idols that you love? Let me know in the comments!