Tag Archives: Japan

DocEdge 17 | Tokyo Idols

Canada / United Kingdom | 2017 | 89 min | Japanese / English Sub | Kyoko Miyake

Tokyo Idols focuses on idol culture in Japan and is more of an overview, rather than an in-depth look at what is a facinating subject.

We are introduced to young aspiring idols (some very young), and the journey that they inevitably will take on their road to success – or not. With so many eager would-be idols striving for the top spot, the competition is fierce and truly popularity based. A dominating factor of this popularity contest is based on a superficial image constructed by and for the individual. Innocence, youth, vitality, and cuteness are all key qualitites.

The fandom (and potential to profit from ‘super-fans’) is what seemingly drives this industry; However, once you start looking closer at this, questions start arising. Why are these sometimes significantly older men so emotionally invested in these young girls? Is it obsession? How healthy or unhealthy is this obsession?

With a constructed image of innocence and youth catering so blatantly to the personal desires of these fans, one has to consider some realities, such as safety of the idols (and perhaps a few other things).

This is cleverly illustrated with the characters we are introduced to; specifically Rio Hiiragi, or ‘RioRio’, to her fans. She is paving her way to hopeful success by doing her own promotional work, and utilises her small fan-base for support; you can truly see her earnest determination to succeed.

If you have little to zero knowledge of the subject, I would  highly recommend this as a introduction or taster if you will; It provides a fantastic overview as well as an objective take on Idol culture.

Absolutely recommend.


The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June – www.docedge.nz

humans of mac+mae: Shonya Singh

This is a picture of MONO, groundbreaking band from Japan who have a sort-of etheral instrumental musical sound.  It was taken at the Kings Arms last year.

The live experience was intense – MONO are an experimental rock band; although influences from shoegaze and noise (among many others) are heavily apparent, they are difficult to categorize.

The intensity of the evening was amplified by the fact that my sister, whom I am very close with, was leaving to live abroad soon after, and she accompanied me to the gig. That made the night special to me, and this is a snapshot of that memory.

Auckland based Shonya Singh joined the mac+mae family in 2015.  She’s a photographer and graphic designer who’s in love with Japan.

Inspired by the ‘Humans of New York’ series, we’re talking to our network find out what’s special to them, whether it’s a place, a thing, or a memory – Meet the “humans of mac+mae” –    http://bit.ly/HoMaM

1DP | Day 39 of 100 Days, 100 Individuals

Meet Nick Dwyer.  He’s a writer, a documentary maker, a TV presenter and a radio personality.  His goals in life are to eat good sushi, become the David Attenborough of the world music scene and to keep his inner child happy.  So far, he’s tracking along quite nicely.  Nick also hosts George FM’s breakfast show and when he’s not doing that, he’s travelling to far-flung corners of the world, following exotic beats and legendary musicians for his successful television series, Making Tracks.  We talk to him on Day 39 of our 100 Day Project.

What’s your biggest fear?
That I will wake up one day and realize that I stopped chasing my dreams.

What’s your purpose in life?
To keep ten year old Nick happy! When I was a kid I was so fascinated with the world and all its wonders and made a promise to myself that I would do whatever it takes to see the world and experience it all. It’s a work in progress but I’ve made a pretty decent dent in it so far.

What are you passionate about?
Travel – I’m happiest when I’m on a place bound for new adventures. New cultures, languages, people, architecture, food – everything about being in new environments in such as inspiration. Of course music, the discovery of new music – and of course taking these discoveries and sharing them with people is what has driven everything I do since I was a teenager.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A far-to-early alarm that reminds me that you never ever ever get used to the rude awakenings that come with hosting a breakfast radio show.

Everyone has a dirty little secret, what’s yours?
This is an interesting question.

If today was your last day on earth, what would you do?
I was going to say something like ‘get on the next flight to Tokyo for my final perfect Omakase’ but I’d actually just want to hang out with my family and have some nice time reflecting on what a life it’s been. Cute.

What is your happy place?
Looking out over Tokyo at night from many many floors up.

What will you be doing for the rest of 2013?
Keep trying to make ten year old Nick happy.