New Pop Unit “Showjo Kagekidan Project “ to Be Formed
KIFF organizer Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. unveiled one of its latest efforts during the festival. The “Showjo Kagekidan Project” is an upcoming all-female pop idol group that is about to start auditioning potential members.
The launch kicked off with a teaser video that introduced of some of the main concepts of the project, including “Live Entertainment that Grows with the Group” and “From the Kansai Region to the World”
The Yoshimoto comedy duo Gakutensoku MCed the launch event. One half of the group, Shuji Okuda, is a big fan of pop idols and was excited to be chosen to announce the project.
Yoshimoto Kogyo Chairman and CEO Hiroshi Osaki greeted members of the media who had gathered to cover the launch. Osaki explained that he was born in the city of Sakai in Osaka, and before he was born there was a theater there called the “Showjo Kagekidan” which translates as “young female musical theater.” Osaki said that years later he had the idea of creating a new project with that same name.
To make that idea a reality, Osaki contacted Oji Hiroi, a manga author and video game creator who has been involved in the government’s “Cool Japan” initiative. Together, they made the plan to recruit members of the group and work toward having a debut in Osaka sometime in the summer of 2019.
Hiroi also appeared and remembered suddenly being asked by Osaki to work together on the project during a drive from Tokyo to Osaka this August. Osaki told him that the name of the group would be “Showjo Kagekidan” but that nothing else had been decided. Oji said that he thought a lot about the word “showjo” which means “young girl” and realized that the project could be a way to help the members mature and become more international in the outlook. Because of the group’s name, the rule was made that when members of the group reach the age of 20, they will leave the group and be replaced by new members.
The female comedy duo Amakointer and solo performer Yurianretreiver took to the stage to talk a bit about being female entertainers. Current pop idols Riho Miaki and Kanako Kadokawa also joined the talk session.
Yusuke Nomura from Yoshimoto Creative Agency, who is leading the project, announced that auditions will be held for potential members between the ages of 11 and 17 from November 1 till the end of the year. Nomura said the members will then go through training and rehearsals before debuting at a dedicated theater for the group in Osaka next year.
When asked what kind of idols he hopes to have for the group, Hiroi said that he hadn’t yet decided, much to the surprise of the other members of the talk session. He explained that he would get a clearer picture once the audition process starts, but he hopes to train the eventual members in traditional skills, such as how to wear a kimono properly, Japanese dance and tea ceremonies. Hiroi also revealed that he has not yet decided exactly how many members the group would have, but thinks there might be around 30.
Current idol Kanako Kadokawa said that the rule to have members graduate from the group when they reach the age of 20 would help build excitement among fans, who would know that each member’s time with the group would be limited to a certain period of time so they should see them while they have the chance.
Seiko from the comedy duo Amakointer said that training pop idols in Japanese dance and other traditional culture is something she had never thought she would see, and so she looks forward to seeing what kind of idol group it becomes.
By creating a pop group made up of girls embodying Japanese traditions and aesthetics, the project is sure to generate a lot of enthusiasm.
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