Making J-Pop Great Again

Japan is practically overrun with idol groups, most of which toil at the margins of show business, squeezing out a living by playing supermarket openings and the like. Thus it’s very important for a group to be able to distinguish itself from the pack.

Kamen Joshi already have a gimmick that has gained them an extra measure of notoriety. The name means “Masked Females,” and all the members, indeed, wear identical hockey-style masks when performing, which would seem to defeat the purpose since idol groups tend to be appreciated more for their looks than for any talent they might possess, but apparently a lot of fans like the idea of the group’s purposeful anonymity. However, last week Kamen Joshi attracted even more attention with a new single, “Idol Magic for Trump M-A-G-A.”

Yes, it’s a song about Donald Trump, who’s presently leading in the race for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

“M-A-G-A” stands for “make America great again,” a Trump slogan and a line that the group sings straight. The video for the song includes a crawl of English messages at the bottom of the screen with lines like “build the wall” and “we want to come to America legally,” all referring to the candidate’s stand on immigration. Most of the actual Japanese lyrics are nonsense, however, and the group’s management has released a statement saying that the song and the video have been produced “for entertainment purposes only” and “in no way reflect the political views or beliefs of the group members or their management.”

According to the Japan Times, the group’s Twitter and Facebook accounts have received a mixture of reactions to the song. Many found it funny, but at least one has tried to point out to “the girls” that “Trump…is a racist.”

Nevertheless, Kamen Joshi seem to have succeeded in their mission: more people are paying attention to them.