Yokohama Arena was filled last weekend during the @Jam Expo, Japan’s biggest idol-group showcase featured a staggering 100 acts playing to a crowd of young women and men on seven different stages.
Dempagumi.inc headlined the event, which included up-and-coming idol acts such as Lyrical School, Otome Shinto, Yufu Terashima, and JKT48, an Indonesian branch of Japan’s most famous idol group, AKB48. Other notable acts included Dorothy Little Happy, a five-member idol group from Avex that won audiences with its ballad “Starting Over,” and girls rock unit Passpo, whose backing guitar melodies separated them from the many synthesizer performances of the day.
Putting on an exceptionally strong performance was Tokyo Girls’ Style, a five-piece idol group that formed in 2010. The group had its performance streamed live via pop-music website MTV 81. The stage area was so packed that organizers ended up having to turn people away.
“I was really happy that so many people had the chance to see us perform, I wasn’t even expecting our stage to go over capacity,” Tokyo Girls’ Style member Miyu Yamabe said after her group finished its performance. “Since the expo is targeting an audience from overseas, we incorporated our most well-known songs into our set,” Yamabe said. “Hopefully, that way first-time viewers could get a sense of what our style is about.”
Tokyo Girls’ Style includes Yamabe, Ayano Konishi, Hitomi Arai, Yuri Nakae and Mei Shoji. This year, the group made efforts to expand its global fan base and participated in two Kawaii Pop Fes events abroad — one in Taiwan and the other in Hong Kong. Additionally, a Chinese version of the group’s song “Partition Love” was included as a bonus track on some versions of its latest album, “Killing Me Softly,” which was released in June. Tokyo Girls’ Style has also set its sights on the United States, performing at the two-day J-pop Summit in San Francisco.
The @Jam festival, organized by Zepp Live and originally under the name Ota Jam, has spawned a number of offshoots: @Jam the Field, @Jam Next and the Kawaii Pop Fes.
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