There are a few summaries going around which don’t portray the whole picture, so while I was avoiding translating the entire post, it’s come to that point where a full translation is necessary.
|It’s me, Oda Sakura.|
I think it’s been a complicated few days for both Hello! Project and all the fans. I’d like to share a summary of a few of the thoughts I had during this period.
There are many a time where my words are taken out of context and made into a much bigger thing [than it needs to be].
Even recently, there are some people who take the time to empathize with where I’m coming from when I say what I say.
But that just makes the perceived image of me bigger [than me, Oda Sakura].
I’m sure the way they’re perceiving me is as “idol Oda Sakura.” But that’s completely different from the real me, so I’m full of worry when I imagine what may happen if I can’t endure [the difference] any longer.
In this blog, I may talk about things that may be different from the Oda you imagine, but these are my true feelings.
I’ll be talking from the perspective of being active for nine years and the various genres and eras of idols I’ve observed.
If you don’t like what follows, I’d appreciate if you can just ignore this blog somehow.
I’ve been thinking lately about how I’ve felt out of place based on how a modern idol should be.
I’ll be talking about female idols in particular, but my impression was the Golden Era of idols in the ’70s and ’80s had arrows in their quiver1 like their voice, outstanding looks, or star quality.
Now, it feels like just being a girl in itself is one of our arrows.
I’ve noticed a lot of lyrics which seemingly cater to men2, and idols becoming a closer presence in general.
While our own sense of singing and dancing, as well as our studying and hard work are still necessary,
if it becomes a fight where we use what we’re born with, inevitably the idol population will grow, and the way we’ll be chosen could be based on [looks] preference or whoever they see first.
Amongst all of that, I love Hello! Project because they’re trying to use music as their weapon.
So when even Takagi, whose voice was the greatest weapon of them all, wasn’t able to fight, I thought about the reality that maybe music isn’t the most important after all and became extremely saddened.
Does that mean all that effort we put into our singing and dancing as idols, as well as other things like dieting: is that all a waste?
Do we, as idols, even belong in the music sector of entertainment?
One thing I thought: it’d be great if the world appreciated our individuality and music.
But that’s something I say as someone who loves music.
I thought all of what I receive from everyone was based on my singing, dancing, smiling, star quality, etc., and my stage presence, but if it includes what I do in my personal life, then I’ll have to correct how I’m lazy at home sometimes.
I think idols are in this position to separate “idols” from “singers.”
So… what is an idol then?
I’d like to think because I’m in Morning Musume that all the preparation I’ve done to stand on stage wasn’t a waste.
But I also think it isn’t great to continue to use the title of “idol” for anything outside of work.
I don’t know if things will change while I’m still active, but I hope the day will come when idols can become more independent.
I don’t think there’s anything more wonderful than when our happiness as idols and your happiness as fans are tied together!
I’ll continue to work on my music seriously as to not make a fool of myself for saying what I’ve just said.
- The original Japanese for “arrows in their quiver” was just 武器, and both “weapons” and “advantages” didn’t quite convey the same meaning I understood from the Japanese. It’s a bit like having a toolbox and having different tools to use to get the job done. I’ve used different translations for 武器 dependent on whether or not “weapon” or “one of their weapons” made sense.
- The original Japanese for “lyrics which seemingly cater to men” was 男性に寄り添うような歌詞, and I don’t care for “cuddle” or “is close to~,” which is why I chose “cater.”
- Nele’s original translation thread on Twitter helped inform the tone of the blog and how I interpreted it.
I honestly glossed over the fact she mentioned people normally take her words out of context and built up this imaginary/ideal version of Oda, which makes me a bit more happy having undertaken this in short notice. She later posted an “apology” (I saw it as more “clarification”) blog the following day, having gotten over 600 comments on this blog (she normally averages 100) and over 2,000 likes (averaging 600-700).
Discussions both in the comments section and on Twitter seemed to have picked up Oda’s original intention: to question what an idol is and what she expects from idols as one herself.