With the Japanese idol scene so saturated from development over the last 3 decades, it’s no wonder that the fan culture is also very diverse and even complicated to an untrained eye. Hello! Project being one of the longer standing factions in the Japanese idol market has an extensive fan architecture scheme. Let’s take a look at the various type of fans in existence.
Basically anyone who shows slight interest in an idol or group because of popularity or trend. This type of fan will usually stumble upon said idols while channel surfing or leisurely browsing online. People of this type might buy a CD or digital download or two if a particular song is to their liking, but most will stop at this stage and move on when something else catches their eye. They might come back at a later time when another song catches their attention. In the west, these people are known as Bandwagoner. Although many stop as fans after the hype dies down, it is not unusual for casual fans to eventually show increased interest where they advance to the next fan level.
Typical H!P wota
Most fans are in this category. People who devote a portion of their daily lives to supporting their idols mentally and/or financially. A typical Hello! Project fan will keep themselves up to date via many official online resources available as well as attending concerts and events when possible. The following are three sub-types:
One who’s main joy in life is to attend concerts and other events. They define their level of devotion by how many events they attend throughout the years. Seeing their idol in the flesh is their drive.
When seeing their girls live isn’t enough. Fans who solely live for handshake and other high interaction events such as fan club tours. Physical contact with idols are what they strive for. They want their existence know by their idol.
Fans who rarely venture to actual events to see their idol, most likely due to time constraint or other personal reasons. They show their support by buying CDs and merchandises on a regular basis.
While wotas are mainly split into the above three types, anyone belonging to these types can be further defined by other categories with regards to their taste on idols.
DD or Dare-demo Daisuki 誰でも大好き, literally means one who likes everyone. Simply put, if you’re an idol, this wota will show interest to you.
Hako oshi 箱推し
Literally translate to Box supporter. Box as in to box oneself to within a group. For example, someone who is S/mileage hako oshi is a fan who likes everyone in the group of S/mileage. One who likes most members of a group are also put under this category.
One who likes most members from multiple groups falls into this category. In reality, this is the definition of most Hello! Project fans. If you think about it, it make senses why Up-Front host bi-yearly Hello! Project concert tours and have Hello! Project TV and online shows. Since there are often interactions between members of different Hello! Project groups, it’s easy to spark interest in fans to try out other acts within the H!P umbrella.
Fans of Hello! Project Kids or Berryz Koubou and C-ute.
Fans of former Hello! Project Eggs who have debuted, mainly fans of S/mileage and Juice=Juice.
Fans of Hello! Project kenshuusei (研修生 research students), many whom are former Hello! Project Eggs fans.
__ki 期 or __ generation wotas mostly refers to Morning Musume fans who favors members of a particular Morning Musume generation. To a lesser extend, it can also be applied to any group using the generation system, such as S/mileage.
It is also possible for one to DD their way out of Hello! Project and on to other idol groups of other companies. Although in Japan, this is frowned upon on as it shows one has no loyalty to their idols and their respected company. Those who dare to cross company DD usually keep the fact to themselves or avoid mentioning it to their fellow wota friends. Cross company DDs are more likely to be casual fans pretending to be hardcore wotas or wotas who have a hard time paying allegiance to one particular idol or group.
A term popularized by Michishige Sayumi, 一筋 or Hitosuji means devoted. Fans who are able to focus most of their energy on one specific idol will often boast of being hitosuji. Idols such as Michishige Sayumi and Tsungunaga Momoko are known for wanting attention and both have previously mention they prefer their fans to only pay attention to them. Although, both idols have only ever mentioned this casually and have never shunned anyone who is not solely devoted to either of them. Most idols are grateful to any fans regardless of devotion but are most delighted by fans who are hitosuji.
Literally means, Michishige devoted.
A play on words of Otomodachi お友達 (dear friend) and Tsugunaga Momoko’s nickname, Momochi. Otomo+mochi, aka, friend of Momochi.
Iikubo Haruna fans. Since she has taken on Honey as her member’s color, she’d like to build closer relationship with her fans by referring to them as her Darlings, while she is everyone’s Honey.
いつめん or the usually member, are Katsuta Rina fans. Itsumen is short for Itsumo no member いつものメンバー, quite literally, the usual members or the regulars. It’s a term used mainly by Japanese high school students when talking about their usual group of friends. Rinapu often use this term on her blog when referring to her friends at school. Wotas wanting to feel closer to her has taken up the word for themselves.
Another term for Rinapu wotas. Bakuwara ばくわら literally means LMAO. Bakuwara is also a slang term used by Japanese high school students and Rinapu has used it on her blogs late 2012. So her fans has been known to be Bakuwara Friends.
Aside from the kinds already mentioned, there are numerous other forms of fans who do not fit into any of the above.
Old school fan
Wotas who prefer, and hangs, onto their OG favorites even after they have graduated from Hello! Project or has left the entertainment business all together. Those with favorites who has moved on to M-Line club will simply move to M-Line with their idols. I mention this group here because deep inside, they still have interest or have nostalgic feelings for Hello! Project as a whole, always referencing the past when their favorite was still a member.
Mostly fans who have quit due to circumstances such as their favorite graduating from H!P or have just lost interest in H!P and/or idols. They still linger around the fan community wanting more, but are unable to feel satisfied as their favorite girl is no longer around.
T-O or Top wOtas, one who excel in idol knowledge and/or can be often found at events. Many of these fans pride themselves as being at the top of their game when it comes to supporting their idols. Some nail this title to one who shows off too much.
Haters of a particular group or idol. Outspoken fans, usually a hitosuji or hako oshi who have strong dislike of idols they have no interest in. Most activities are done online, very rarely that it happens in real life. The most severe occurrence have been cases of idols being skipped at handshake events by Antis.
Wota of other wota; Fan of other fans. Typically younger males who attends idol events to hit on female wotas. For this reason, Wota-wota are only casual idol fans at most. Some are even called fakes by other wotas. Wota-wotas are generally discouraged.
迷惑 or trouble-makers. Fans who tries too hard to garner attention by yelling or screaming too loud, chanting out of sync, yelling or jumping to disrupt people on stage (especially during MCs), and anything else in order to be disturbing. Meiwaku behaviors are not limited to events only. Online slander or trending of false claims can also be considered meiwaku (re: S/mileage Yakiniku incidents).
If you are reading this blog, chances are that this is you. Unlike Japanese fans, fans living outside of Japan are of all ethnicity and culture. The one thing shared between us are our love for Hello! Project.
Luck be not on our side, it is very difficult for overseas fans to attend any H!P events due to geological differences. Still, this does not stop many from flying to Japan to meet their idols. The crusader are highly regarded in the eyes of Japanese fans for the sheer determination to travel across land and sea just for a few short interaction with their favorite idols. If you would like to become a crusader yourself, take a look at my guides on this blog if you haven’t done so already.
Those who are satisfied by just collecting CDs, photos and goods of their idols. They avoid leaving their comfort zone by staying in their home country, and hopes desperately their idols will some day venture to their hometown for them. A lucky few who live in particular parts of Asia, America and Europe had their wish come true, but most continue to wait. A collector will rather spend most of their income on goods than to proactively save money on a trip to Japan to see their idols. In some rare cases, collectors have liquified parts of or their entire collection to fund trips to Japan.
One who talks bold and loud on the internet about their exquisite love for idols while not actually supporting said idols physically or financially, when they are capable of doing so. i.e., Complains about poor sales of a single while he/she did not even purchase a single copy.
There are even more specific definitions of fans depending on variables, but I will leave you with this much for now.
Which type of fan are you?