For the uninitiated, "this" is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, a Japanese pop star who was introduced to me by two Japanese students I met while studying in South Korea, and then again, in more depth, by another friend from California, whom I also met over there. I am aware that she has been famous for over a year now and that I'm relatively late in discovering her and that she's been making waves all over the interweb. I really am at a loss as to how I missed this "Harajuku icon," as she's been called. Her music in nonsensical, repetitive, and about things like candy, monsters, ninjas, and . . . pon pon? Her wardrobe would make Lady Gaga and Nicky Minaj jealous, and her demeanour is equal parts cute and insane. To top it off, her videos are so bizarre they could be considered some kind of surreal performance art . . . and I LOVE IT.
|Charming, ain't she?|
"Japanese sensory pandemonium," or JSP, is hard to define but I know it when I see it, and Kyary is it. It denotes an endearing quality that is not really present in any other country's media (that I have yet experienced, anyway) and is created by a combination of visual and auditory cues that seem to be able to exist only in Japan and nowhere else. When people speak of Japan as being "more unique" than any other culture (a statement I find extremely problematic -- and yes, people do actually say this), I imagine that this maybe is what they are referring to, at least as far as contemporary culture is concerned. Some of my favourite examples of JSP (Google these if you're interested) are the Polysics; Funky Forest: The First Contact; Harajuku fashion; FLCL; and the "superflat" art style. There are numerous other examples but I'll leave you to discover those for yourself.
|The DVD box art for Dokidoki Wakuwaku Pamyu Pamyu Revolution Land 2012 in Kirakira Budokan|
After falling in love with Kyary (not creepy idol-worship love -- more a sort of admiration), I sought out her music and eventually came across one of her concert videos titled . . . *inhales* . . . Dokidoki Wakuwaku Pamyu Pamyu Revolution Land 2012 in Kirakira Budokan! Though I was initially underwhelmed by the set pieces, the hour-long concert features three wardrobe changes, giant teddy bears, insanely dressed backup dancers, and a good song lineup (for those who actually like her music). It also contains one of the best star entrances I have ever seen, in which Kyary shoots up through a trapdoor in the stage floor quite unexpectedly, shrieking in a pitch on par with most Japanese maid café workers (look it up). Surprisingly the whole concert held my attention, and it was rife with innocent fun! The show seemed almost geared towards children, especially when she dressed up as a purple fairy and started flying around the stage while singing, but the audience was made up of myriad age groups. By the time it was over I felt . . . well . . . happy! The whole thing was so silly and innocent and overall uplifting that I felt great after watching it! Thanks, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (and your production team)!
|Cover art for her "Invader" single|
Here's the video for "Invader":