Japan’s Preteen Model Boom
AKB48 has reshaped the landscape of youth culture in modern Japan. The pop-idol group’s rapid rise to stardom across a wide array of formats has provided the country’s children with a fairly straightforward path to commercial success: fame is ultimately achieved by attracting a broad fan base via popular vote.
Such a strategy encourages young people today to chase dreams of being in the spotlight that many Japanese would have shunned years ago. These days, long-term goals of careers in politics or medicine have been replaced with the need for instant gratification and glamour.
Nowhere is such an ideal more apparent than in the fashion industry, and youth fashion, in particular, has undergone changes in the past five years or so that makes it virtually unrecognizable from its former state.
Read the rest of the story: Material girls: Japans preteen model boom.