(Translator's note: This post is a continuation of a previous entry.)
Other Japanese gravure idols have also written books. In fact, even the slightly salacious Risa Yoshiki released a novel last year. Her novel is not erotic. Rather, it's for young adults. The protagonist is similar to Risa Yoshiki as she is a new face in the enka music circuit (which was the exact strange route Risa Yoshiki took before jumping into gravure modeling). The story itself is rather predicable after that.
Her protagonist is a soft-spoken and slightly reclusive character who is teased due to her physical appearance during her time as a schoolgirl. However, one day she heard about the sudden passing of a favorite teacher and decided she will attend the next class reunion. There, she hit it off with three former classmates whom she did not share the same social circle with. They all had dreams of stardom: one wanted to become a singer, another a model, and the third, a manga artist, but all fell short of their goals. One night they found themselves talking into the wee hours of the morning and decided to give it their all in an attempt to work together. Their workplace turned into a 'power spot' of sorts and their fortunes volte-faced for the better.
However—and a big however here as it's not conclusive as to whether Anna Konno truly wrote her book on her own--but Risa Yoshiki's novel about her enka idol is downright horrible when compared to Anna Konno's. The story is incoherent: foreshadowing of any kind essentially does not exist and the 'power spot' ending seemed to like she—or her ghostwriter—was pulling a deux ex machina card. Overall, it felt very immature. There were times when the chatty dialog was long and drawn out like a Quentin Tarantino movie, but without his skill for writing good lines. She also kept shifting from first- to third-person which made the tale all too hard to follow leading to much frustration. She mentioned this was her first novel and that she tried her very best and it sure does feel like it along with wanting lots of pity. I guess the only good thing about Risa Yoshiki's novel is that it gives a moe vibe. It's almost as if she wrote it on Japanese writing paper with a pencil for someone she has a crush on.
Both of these books only have come about due to Sena Wakana being the trailblazer with her 2008 novel, Kobareru. Her novel focused on the scandal surrounding her indecent love affair with Matsuo Suzuki that led to her retiring from the limelight. She wrote about how hellish her days were when the scandal broke, but questioned whether the love itself bad and dirty. I think Sena Wakana's novel is by far the most monumental book a gravure idol has ever written. Future books such as the two above don't hold a candle to it. It's hard to even figure out why both Anna Konno and Risa Yoshiki even decided to pen novels. Was it truly necessary outside of issues monetary? If you want to read about the trials and tribulations of being a key part of the world of gravure, then check out Sena Wakana's book (Translator's note: or simply stick around as there is a big piece about the hard times of gravure idols on the way). It may lack the cheap humor that's a staple found in nighttime Japanese talk shows, but it makes up for it in even better ways.
Written by Caetano Takeno Coimbra
Takeno was born in the 1980's in the Fukushima Prefecture. Keeping a popular online diary since the dawn of the internet age in Japan, Takeno now works independently dealing with both online sales and online sales data analysis.
(Translator's note: It doesn't take much for a popular idol in Japan to 'explore' new territory—quite often at the insistence of the agency she belongs to. A gravure idol who may once have been popular and now finds herself sagging in popularity along with steadily aging may find sitting down to pen a book (with a ghostwriter?) a more worthwhile challenge than remaining in front of the studio lights.)
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