Not Just Kids Stuff

A Japanese idol group called Seifuku Kojo Iinkai, which translates as School Uniform Improvement Committee, is causing a fuss on the Internet with an anti-nuclear energy song.

Protest music in Japan is strictly an underground phenomenon, especially when it comes to protesting official government policy, such as nuclear energy.

What makes SKI’s song all the more notable is that, as the name suggests, the multi-member collective is made up of cute teenage girls dressed in school uniforms who sing in chipper, slightly out-of-tune voices.

Such groups are a dime a dozen in Japan, and they always sing about love and friendship and how great it is to be a girl.

However, the latest song, “Free From Nuclear Power Plants,” is pretty clear in its anti-nuke stance and even accuses the government of lying about the dangers of nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima No. 1 reactor disaster last March.

Many local music critics see the song and accompanying videos as more of a publicity stunt.

The company that manages SKI has been around since 1992, churning out idols for whatever purpose. Except for a few former members who found notoriety in the adult video world, SKI has not seen the success of similar teen idol collectives like Morning Musume or AKB48.

During the last decade, SKI, whose members are replaced quite regularly, started releasing songs with social messages, but none challenged the government the way the anti-nuclear song has. Members of the group have also participated in anti-nuke rallies.

Such a challenge means SKI is effectively non-existent in the mainstream media, though a few magazines and newspapers have covered the song from a news angle after one member of the group accused the organizers of the Fuji Rock Festival of censorship.

On her Twitter account, the member said that the group was invited to the festival as a special guest but were then uninvited when a sponsor objected to the anti-nuclear song.

A representative for concert organizer Smash Corporation says the group was never invited to the festival because it never presents idol groups.

Besides, there was a special stage at this year’s festival devoted to promoting renewable energy as an alternative to nuclear energy.