The Effects of Japanese Pop Idol Culture: An Analysis of Perfect Blue

Estefana Elliott, Professor Karin Branham, Dr. Katharine Caruso, and Professor Michael Maningas, Department of Sociology, The Honors College at Lone Star College Montgomery, 3200 College Park Dr, Conroe, TX 77384

This research analyzes the dynamics of stigmatization women idols face from both fans and their agencies in order to explore messages portrayed to audiences of Japanese pop-idol culture. An examination of Hiroshi Aoyagi’s (1999) seminal Islands of Eight Million Smiles establishes that public images of female idols as “cute” and “pure” both serve to define their femininity and appeal to the male gaze. Building upon public stigma as defined by Bernice A. Pescosolido and Jack K. Martin (2015) and the concept of how stigmatization affects self-esteem by Brenda Major and Laurie T. O’Brien (2005), a meta-analysis of the film Perfect Blue is conducted due to its interrogation of the idol industry and its status as a cult classic. The analysis focuses on the film’s use of dialogue and scene composition, which establish a correlation between the stigmatization the main character faces and the resulting deterioration of her self-identity. Despite the fact that director, Satoshi Kon, states the film is intended to simply be an exploration of a young woman “maturing,” the film ultimately allows for an inadvertent critique of the treatment of Japanese female idols through its depiction of identity construction in an industry promoting dichotomous public images of women. Perfect Blue also allows for commentary regarding mental health, the gender disparity present in idol culture, and the vulnerability to sexual violence and stalking women in the industry endure. This study calls for further comparative research to assess how the oversexualization of female idols directly impacts young Japanese and American consumers who admire these idols.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Estefana Elliott

Institution: Lone Star College System The Honors College

Type: Poster

Subject: Interdisciplinary Studies

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5532