|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
For TV idols, an IQ isn't a plus 2001,04,30
DaCapo 5/2 by Ryann Connell
Japan is going wild over idiots, according to DaCapo (5/2).
Though some would argue that dills have always dominated Japan's TV screens, it seems nowadays that a starlet's greatest virtue lies in being a bimbo.
Some say the superiority of celebrities' silliness is sensible.
"They'll react to events in ways that're totally unexpected," TV Guide Editor in Chief Hidekazu Tanaka says.
"About 17 or 18 years ago, celebrities were just manufactured idols created by corporate suits. Even if they 'deigned' to answer any questions we reporters had for them, it was always in words their minders had fed them. Virtually no performer was capable of speaking in their own words. Then, times began to change and so did celebrities. People began demanding performers capable of anything. Now, they want celebrities who don't act like celebrities. It's a time when idiots reign supreme. If times are good, business is booming and people are busy going about their daily tasks, they can cope with the idea of manufactured stars. But in today's mindnumbing conditions, I suppose people want to see somebody goofy that will make them laugh."
Renowned celebrity reporter Masaru Nashimoto says the popularity of nincompoops goes a bit deeper.
Years ago, comedians and variety show performers would either calculate how to get a giggle or were manipulated in such a way that they'd get one. But people now are better off and feel better about themselves. Now, they don't want something made up. They're looking for real laughs," Nashimoto tells DaCapo.
"Also, I think that some people get a certain sense of superiority when they see how stupid a particular actress is, and can say to themselves, 'Hey, that famous actress doesn't even know that simple thing.' "
Psychiatrist Shizuo Machisawa sees celebrity stupidity in a similar sort of light.
"If being dopey means acting childishly, I suppose it could have the effect of putting some people at ease. I think it's fair to say that there's something relieving about watching those silly women nowadays -- in a time when relationships with other people are so difficult to maintain. It used to be much easier to deal with other people. If somebody ranked higher than you, you bowed down to them. People's status determined the way that others reacted to them. Now, though, people are more concerned about everybody else, regardless of whether they rank higher or lower. Kids aren't respectful of their parents," Machisawa says.
"Growing numbers of people are suffering from Lunch Meeting Syndrome, that is, they're terrified by the idea of inviting somebody else to eat lunch with them. In a society making huge demands of its members to show such great concern for others, there's also probably a huge demand for inane twits who have the gift of automatically putting other people at ease."
Machisawa can also see plenty of reasons behind why idiot icons are almost invariably women.
"People have this mindset that when it comes to work, the economy, or society, men must be in charge," he tells DaCapo.
"But, in Japan, aspects of society still haven't fully accepted women. That's why people can see them and feel comfortable watching them make idiots out of themselves."
April 30, 2001