Famous for Being Famous in Japan
By Grace Buchele Mineta
On April 15, 2015
I don’t own a TV here in Japan. When my husband and I first moved to Tokyo, buying a TV was on our list of “furniture that would be nice, but isn’t necessary” (along with buying an in-house bar with bar stools and an espresso machine). Years later, we still don’t have a TV. Or a mini-bar.
And, even though I rarely ever watch Japanese TV, I can still tell you who most of the famous actors and actresses are variety shows are. Why? Because most of the Japanese “professional personalities” (タレント) and celebrities find a way keep their eggs in all sorts of different baskets.
In Japan, being an attractive and famous musician can help you land advertising gigs, variety show appearances, a lead role in a drama, and the occasional movie deal. Once someone becomes famous, they become more famous by virtue of being, well, famous.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen an Arashi member on billboards, train signs, and TV shows and the TV personality Rola seems to be advocating every other product on train adverts these days.
Someone is going to eventually figure out the equation for generating your own fame here in Japan, and when they do, they will live a very comfortable life.