On June 27, 2017 BBC Four aired a documentary directed by Kiyoko Miyake called Tokyo Girls. It follows the career of 19-year old idol Rio Hiiragi as she tries to climb her way up the ladder of the idol music industry in order to attain her goal of becoming a singer.
Concurrently, the story of idol fans is told through the eyes of transportation worker Mitacchi and young student Naoyamumu. This group is headlined by 43-year old Rio fan Koji, who gets the majority of the screen time outside of Rio herself.
On the surface it appears like this might be a balanced look at aspiring idols and the fans who follow them right? Well, that is kind of half right.
The journeys of the idols involved in this program (Rio, P.IDL, Harajuku Mongatari and Amore Carina) are presented in a fairly neutral manner. It is pretty cut and dry that those who choose to enter this part of the entertainment business face a variety of struggles including confidence/self-esteem issues, financial problems, familial conflict and acclimatizing to the entire world that encompasses being a Japanese pop idol.
The only issue people may find when it comes to how the are the idols are presented would be the lack of deeper content. It may not be enough for viewers who want to know more about what these aspiring idols go through to achieve their goals.
However, what is shown should be sufficient to give a small glimpse of the efforts involved behind becoming a successful idol. It isn’t all the sunshine and rainbows some over fantasize this world to be. Those who want to be prosperous as an idol have to make some tough personal sacrifices in order to excel in the industry.