Within this post is my opinion. You may or may not like it, but that is your personal choice. Just because we don't agree on something does not mean that we clash all the time! Give other opinions a chance, and see if you learn something new. Opinions make the world go round, and learning how another person see's something is interesting. Hence why I love blogs!
I aimed to write this a while ago, but somehow, I never did. I started it, but I obviously never finished it because I am going back to it, and seeing where it will take me this time. Why am I returning to something I started but didn't finish? Well, my sister reminded me during a trip back home on the train after a day out with one of the nieces and one of the nephews, after calling Mizuki Fukumura 'Potato'.
Allow this picture to ease your confusion:
Confusion eased? Good.
I found this little treasure on one of the confession Tumblr's I frequent, though this was quite a while back, so this picture is a little old. Anyway, I decided to save this gem because: 1) It was quite humorous (and still is), and 2) I intended to make a post about how an Idols personality could equate to that of a boring garden vegetable.
So, why potatoes, you ask? Well, let me answer that simply for you: The popular girl you love, the ones you pine for, but have the personality of a potato, the ones who bore you to high heaven? Yeah, there's your Potato Idol.
There is a 'Potato' in every group... I think. That one person who you personally find to be as boring as dirt, as interesting as a dish cloth and as fun as watching paint dry. There is one of those idols in every group for you, and for a person like me, those sorts of people are: Maeda Atsuko, Fukumura Mizuki, Sayashi Riho (who has her cute moments, admittedly), and many many more. They are the equivelant of a potato because they are so painstakingly boring, so much so that you just have to compare them to a bloody vegetable.
But what makes a Potato Idol? What makes this vegetable so interesting, and what makes them so desirable?
Well, I can't honestly say just why these girls are desirable, because I don't really care for girls who lack in the personality department, but I can kind of garner a guess to as just why the Japanese Wota have quite a love for these plain, boring girls.
There is one thing we all know for sure when it comes to Japan though, and that is how much they like their girls youthful. In general, a lot of female Idol groups in Japan now are made up of younger girls. You will find very few groups that actually consist of girls who are much older than 20 years old in the Idol industry, and that's mostly due to Japan's infatuation with youthful, pretty little girls.
I guess the key factor in an Idols popularity right now comes down to how youthful and innocent a girl is, because for the Japanese Wota, innocence is precious. The naivety of a girl to love is quite endearing in a way for these men as it keeps them innocent in the eyes of a fan, and allows them to feel like their Idol is still pure in a world filled with cruel love. For an Idol, your innocence is a key factor, and in recent years it seems like it has come into play many more times as the Idols get younger and younger.
But it isn't just their innocence which plays a key factor in how an Idol can become popular. It's also in how the Idol looks and acts.
Most of the popular Idols that we know, love or hate are generally your typical everyday, run of the mill girls. They have no special look to them, nor do they really have any great quality to their personalities, other than the fact that they look like your typical everyday girl, but that is what the Wota like, and that is what sells right now in the Idol industry.
Girls like Maeda Atsuko, Ogura Yui, Sayashi Riho and even Takahashi Ai have, or used to have, no absolute prettiness about them. They have all, at some point, been average looking girls who haven't stood out to people as anything special or in any way memorising. There are no real quirks about their looks, not like Iikubo Haruna with her wide eyes and chubby cheeks, or Ishida Ayumi with her mature and stand-out looks. Even Tokunaga Chinami, who has smiling moon crescent eyes, stands out because of her prettiness. Each of these girls have a certain quirk to their looks which allows them to stand out from everyone else, whilst Idols who are, in general, quite popular are usually the girls who are pretty, but don't stand out from the crowd.
But again - this is what the Wota like, but it isn't just that plain, every-day look they go for. It's also the personality that they have.
Or lack of, if I am going to bluntly honest.
Many Idols actually take up this personality, and it is probably the most common Idol persona you will find. This persona is that of the sweet, demure and gentle girl, the one who is naive, quiet and a little ditzy with a bit of a shy air around them and a well-paced nature. This is the personality which a lot of Japanese Wota seem to like, and it is this personality, the youth, innocence and the plain looks of a girl which create the perfect Idol for Japanese fans.
Of course that doesn't apply for every popular Idol - there are those who have taken on certain personalities to reflect certain aspects of their personalities, and that has made them popular as well. Michishige Sayumi is a good example of this. By becoming a poison-tongued, narcissistic character, she has made herself quite popular (and also, rather hated) in the entertainment industry through variety shows. Unlike other Idols, she didn't take on that gentle character that would have suited her quite well. Instead, she created a devilish character, one who counter-acted that modest and shy character that Idols and Wota adore so much. She is a narcissistic character, and it honestly plays well with the other members of Morning Musume, and this is the character that made her popular and helped her to stand out from her generation.
The same goes for Sato Masaki in a way - whilst she may not the quietest member of Morning Musume, her child-like innocence works in her favour. She is a ditzy, naive little girl, and because of this natural character, she has become quite popular. It is her purity and innocence that help to maintain her popularity, as well as her ability to act selfishly and carelessly like any child does. Acting like a natural child seems to draw in the Wota, and it is quite endearing. She is an average looking Idol, however she has different personality traits to other Idols whilst still maintaining that innocent and pure approach.
But in the end of it all, what the Wota wants is your everyday girl - average, quite bland and innocent. These are the desired girls in Japan, and every Japanese Idol group will have one of those girls hidden in there somewhere, whether that girl is from AKB48 or Station♪, no matter what, you will find one who does not appeal to you personally, but will appeal to plenty of Wota who are ready to cheer that specific girl on.
This seems to be how the Japanese men like not just their Idols, but also their women in general. The traits of the perfect Idol or woman are the traits of, in my opinion, a Potato. Someone who is obedient, shy, gentle, doesn't talk back and all around bland, these are the girls who dominate the front and centre position in the Idol industry. What they lack, or pretend to lack, in personality is in fact their key to the top which is, in my opinion, rather strange, but also helps me to understand just why Fairies are so well-liked despite how boring and vanilla the girls are.
But even though there are so many Potato Idols out there, rest assured there are still a few interesting girls in their groups. Whilst they may be hidden somewhere behind that sack of potatoes dancing their way in front, their personalities will come out eventually, whether it be on variety shows or making of's. One day, they may just be noticed, and they may take the spotlight and allow their full force to be known.
It happened with Kamei Eri, and hopefully it will happen with other Idols who have added flavour.
A Sack of Potatoes: An Idol is Closer than you Think!