Thanks to a request by Twitter user Eme, I’ve translated ANGERME Ise Layla’s blog post from October 3rd, 2020, entitled “Thank you oshi culture.” (Emphasis in the quoted text my own.)
Thank you oshi culture
Good evening! It’s me, Ise Layla!
I have something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately—can you folks hear me out?
There are so many different types of people [who interact with our blogs]:
-People who comment on our blogs like diaries every day
-People who give us their thoughts on our lives through their comments
-People who are busy, and can only comment here and there
-People who comment for the first time
-People who don’t comment, but read our blogs
-People who “like” our blog posts
Similarly with our live performances, there are:
-People who come to a lot of our concerts
-People who can only come occasionally
-People who can’t come at all
-People who haven’t been able to come yet
Just so many!
When I read your comments, I often come across a lot of people apologizing! Haha.
Saying things like, “After tomorrow things will get hectic, so I won’t be able to comment! I’m sorry…”
or, “I can’t go to your concerts or events that often, but I still support you! I’m sorry…”
I seriously want you folks to stop apologizing!!! Haha.
Of course, I’m glad whenever I get to meet people who support me since I do want to meet you all.
Saying that you like me, or even just knowing who I am makes me really grateful.
I’m super happy when your folks’ comments and thoughts reach me beyond the screen, even if it’s only through my blog posts.
Recently, I’ve come to realize just how great “oshi” culture in Japan is.
As a student, being so busy with your tests and entrance exams you can’t quite make it to our concerts. Or maybe even if you want to go, you don’t have enough allowance (pocket money) to go.
It happens, right?
I understand because when I’ve been a Takarazuka wota from elementary school.
I loved Takarazuka, but because I was too young to get a part-time job, even if I could go it’d be maybe once a year.
I was always jealous because I thought it was great people who lived in Tokyo could go to a lot of concerts, and adults had a lot of money to spend on goods and go to lots of live performances. For me, the one thing I looked forward to was when our big bookstore in Hokkaido would have Takarazuka free newspapers*! Haha (Old me was cute, haha)
Collecting those papers and watching Takarazuka DVDs repeatedly was the most I could do as a wota.
This is just my wild imagination, but if ANGERME had a free newspaper, and there were fans who would go to the bookstore thinking, “I wonder it’ll come out already,” then getting disappointed it’s not out yet, I’d be super happy and think they’re cute for waiting for our free newspaper.
When I was in elementary and middle school, I always thought I wouldn’t be thought of as a fan, and couldn’t even call myself a fan compared to the adults who used their money to support them by buying goods and going to performances (which I was jealous of). But being an idol, I’ve realized the Takarazuka ladies must have all been thankful for their fans evenly. That’s why we should stop thinking, “fans like me…” 🙂
Oh, and it’d be great if you can show how much you love them or your positivity! I love you, Mirio-sama!
I’ve lost my train of thought and how this connects to what I want to say, but please just stop apologizing!!
No matter how you can support us, we’re thankful for you all equally! And we love you!!!!
It’s strange to say: I’m really, truly happy if the amount of people who support me increase, but every single one of you are important, so the number doesn’t really matter to me.
It’s natural people fade away from being a fan for a bit (although I’d be happy if you stayed a fan instead).
But people fade away because I don’t have charm. Or it’s weak. So all I can do is become more charming myself!
In any case, I feel like everyone’s support becomes my energy and motivation.
I’ll probably sing “Watashi no miryoku ni kizukanu donkan na hito” now. Haha!
Thank you for everything! And please continue to support me.
Come to think of it, how do I create charm?
Normally, it’s crazy for an idol (more ore less) to ask such a pitiful question to fans like this, but I’m the type to ask all kinds of questions, so forgive me. Haha!
The more I think about it, the more I lose my understanding, so I’ll just do my best naturally, haha.
I feel like celebrating a birthday today, so if your birthday is today!! Happy Birthday!!!!! I hope you have a wonderful year!!
The photos are from before.
OK, good night!
I thought this was incredibly profound coming from a 16-year-old rookie idol (who hadn’t gone through any training prior to joining ANGERME). The general reaction to this post in particular has been glowing: Ise brings up the sensitive topic of financial support as a wota with her own experiences as an underage fan, and extends her train of thought to include anyone and everyone due to their unique circumstances. Fans have been saying they “want fans around the world to read this,” so I hope this English translation helps. Haha.
I myself don’t have the discretionary financial resources to purchase goods or attend concerts, but I do what I can (including translation). This is why I never felt right asking for money or anything for these translations: it’s my way of giving back to the girls.
A few notes:
- Takarazuka is an all-female musical theatre troupe which has been around for roughly 107 years as of 2020. Media and research have noted their large middle-aged female fan base, which is regularly attributed to their use of otoko-yaku (male roles) and musume-yaku (female roles) to transport audiences into idyllic works usually centered around romance and what many women consider to be “ideal men” and the ideal “femininity [in a musume-yaku].” Hello! Project (as well as other idol companies) show the fan base is larger than what Western researchers normally portray: currently, Ise Layla and Hirai Miyo (BEYOOOOONDS) have gone on record to say they’re fans of the theatre troupe. Previously, former Morning Musume member Takahashi Ai mentioned multiple times on TV she was a fan of the troupe.
- お小遣い (okozukai) is what I would call an “allowance,” or a set amount of money a parent/guardian gives to a child for their discretionary use at regular intervals (e.g. weekly or monthly). I think some people call it “pocket money,” which is why I left both terms there.
- フリーペーパー (furiipeepaa, lit. ‘free paper’) is a type of newspaper or cheaply produced magazine which is financially supported by its advertisers and free for readers. In the United States, you’ll mostly find these at the front of grocery stores (both inside and outside).