Monday, May 20, 2013

The Newest Thing in Japan's Entertainment: Weather Girls

Japan has a highly developed entertainment world composed of thousands of professional actors, singers, idols, comedians, "announcers" (aka newscasters) and タレント tarento, a general term for anyone with a skill worth putting on TV for any reason. All of this is managed by professional studios like Yoshimoto Creative Agency, who handles the careers of Japan's top comedians, or Johnny's Entertainment, producers of every Japanese boy band you've ever heard of. One pattern I've observed is, if you've got a really interesting and original angle, there might be an opening for you in Japan's entertainment world...but there's only one potential opening for each unique "talent proposition" so you have to get there first. If you happen to be a Japanese-bilingual comedian from Nigeria, an amusing American who's fluent in the Yamagata-ben dialect of northern Japan or a comically huge former Chicago Bears linebacker, you need not apply, as these positions have already been filled by Bobby Ologun, Daniel Kahl and Bob Sapp. The latest fresh and unique concept to appear in Japan's entertainment world is an idol group called Weather Girls, a team of Taiwanese singing idols managed by Hong Kong's Next Media Ltd., who sing and dance and...tell you if you'll need to bring your umbrella to work today. They're more than just a kawaii singing group: the girls are currently studying to take the national weather forecasting license exam to become registered meteorologists in Japan, so they can report the weather on the morning news programs.

Taiwanese idol group Weather Girls is big in Japan.