So, at the time of writing this, on March 16, 2020, the world has entered a medical crisis with the spread of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. Considering recommendations from various global health organizations, many of us are limiting our contact with others and are working from home and generally staying in as much as possible, to limit the spread of the virus. I know that I’ve moved to completely working from home for the time being, and my state just announced that all restaurants, bars, and other similar places of gathering (like museums, cafes, etc) need to be closed for at least a week, maybe more. It’s a scary time, a scary time where a lot of us have a lot of free time and would like to keep our minds off of things. So, my number one thing I usually turn to is Jpop idol content, and luckily a lot of idol groups and Japanese entertainment companies are putting out a lot of their content for free for a limited time during all of this. So this post is a collection of things I have found, but it is not at all comprehensive – plenty of groups are moving to more digital content to keep a connection with fans throughout this time. So if you’re, like me, feeling stressed out about everything, here is some content you can enjoy to take your mind off of things and relax.
AKB48 Theater Streams
AKB48 has done streams of their theater shows for quite some time, mostly behind a paywall. However, they have streamed four shows so far to other places, including YouTube. These shows are without any audience, so it can be a bit jarring to hear some of these songs without fanchants and cheers, but it’s been a fun diversion to catch up on. Since my interest in AKB has waned a bit over the past years, this has been a fun way to learn some of the new members while hearing some nostalgic songs (especially since the theater shows they’re performing are from around the time I was most invested in the group). While I particularly enjoy Theater no Megami’s setlist best, I watched a fair amount of the Mokugekisha performance live, and was the perfect blend of new content with old nostalgia to just feel cozy to watch.
E-Girls / LDH Concerts
LDH Japan, the company notably behind E-Girls and EXILE, have been putting several of the concerts in their back catalog on YouTube for a limited time. Even if you’re only casually into these groups, I highly recommend checking these out because they are absolute spectacles. All of these shows have a high production value and are fascinating from that angle, but they’re also carried by a lot of fun, quality songs that are exciting to see performed in such huge venues and with incredible set pieces. I personally have watched some of the E-Girls content but I am so intrigued I might watch some of the EXILE Tribe shows and EXILE content, that’s how cool some of these shows are.
Avex Full Concerts
Additionally Avex has been uploading full shows to their channel, going through many of their acts like Takoyaki Rainbow, Tokyo Girls Style and I*Ris. Beyond that you can see some older shows by legendary acts like Hamasaki Ayumi and Otsuka Ai, there is a lot of great stuff here. Curiously, none of their idol street shows have been uploaded, but that still may be yet to come. Still, for now there is a lot of great stuff out there. I personally recommend Takoyaki Rainbow who always put on a fun show, but I feel like no matter what kind of Japanese music you like you could probably find something great here.
Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku concerts
Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku has also put up a couple of full concerts on their YouTube channel, as well as some long form documentaries. Other Stardust groups have joined in and done some streams, as well, and hopefully might put out concerts as well!
Niji no Conquistador concert
Niji no Conquistador has put out a full show…
26ji no Masquerade concert
As has 26ji no Masquerade…
As has RYUTist, which has put up some of their older streams up for rewatching.
Like I said, this is nowhere near a comprehensive list. There are more and more groups doing various streams and activities online – Juice=Juice, for example, just did virtual signings of their latest single instead of in-person events. There’s a lot more content out there, and watching might make your day a little brighter.
If you have any other groups or acts that are doing something special online right now, please let me know in the comments below so that I and other readers can see. Stay safe out there!