Osaka, in the Kansai region of Japan’s main Island, is Tokyo’s rowdier, brasher little brother. Their dialect is louder, they drink and eat like there’s no tomorrow and they are more than happy to tell you exactly what they’re thinking. Some would say that this makes Osaka the greatest city in this amazing East-Asian country. They certainly have less of that famous Japanese restraint, and this was especially the case during the country's boom period in the mid 1980’s. They worked hard and played even harder at a time when the money was flowing.
Now, during a time of great worldwide austerity, Osaka residents sure do miss the old salad days - full of big hair and bigger shoulder pads. Even though the magical 80’s decade is now behind us, many things remain; and there is no stronger part of the decade’s culture still going well today than the awesome music. Great pop artists such as Akina Nakamori and Yutaka Ozaki remain hugely popular even today.
The fantastic Tempozan Marketplace Shopping Centre in the Village area of Osaka Bay
It turns out that a group of girls from Tomioka High School in Sakai City, Osaka are particular fans of the eighties-tastic hit single ‘Dancing Hero’ by Yoko Oginome. So much so that they raided the backs their parents’ wardrobes for the paddiest of paddy blazers, bought the pinkest rouge and reddest lipstick and hit the Mall with a classic dance routine they have been doing since February, choreographed by group leader and ex-member Akane.
The dance team, members of an official club at the high-school, had won various dance awards this year before becoming internet-famous after someone uploaded a couple of videos of their perfomances to YouTube - the videos have subsequently received almost 5 million views. This came after famous Japanese comedienne Nora Hirano saw the video and praised the troupe on her Instagram account.
Some shots of their performance, it's hard to show the sheer genkiness of the performance in stills!
Now, in their latest video, the troupe head to the Tempozan Marketplace Shopping Centre, located in the popular Tempozan Market Village area of Osaka Bay, a mere five minute walk from the main Osakako Station. The area features many attractions, such as the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Santa Maria cruise ship and of course the Tempozan Marketplace Mall. The Mall is large, with two levels and an astounding array of eateries, which are located in an area of the Centre decorated like the classic narrow Japanese alleyways filled with izakaya and containing classic Japanese foods such as sushi, ramen, yakitori and of course that most Osakan of delicacies, Takoyaki.
There is a large area in front of the Mall full of seats and buskers, giving the whole area a relaxed feel and friendly vibe. It seems a popular spot for families. There are also loads of souvenir stores for tourists to enjoy and stock up on all of those popular Japanese omiyage. The Tomoika High School girls performed on the upper level, early in the morning while the stores were all still closed.
The sheer joy and enthusiasm on their faces is contagious!
The performance was so full of energy, with a ‘bubbly’, 80’s theme. There was clearly a great deal of work that went into it, but it maintains a funny quality - seeing 40 girls dance their hearts out in such true-to-the-period outfits is brilliant. They also painstakingly studied the facial expressions of the old J-pop idols, and you can see the hilariously exaggerated smiles and stern expressions, accentuated by the ridiculous amounts of nostalgic make-up on their faces.
We often go on about how awesome Malls were in the 1980’s. They were an integral part of this incredible decade, accentuated by bright colours and achingly catchy pop music. Well, these talented young ladies brought a little bit of that magic back to the Mall with their recent performance. What’s even better is that they didn’t put so much work into their dance and look for money or fame; they did it because, well, they are the school’s dance club and the sheer joy on their faces shows their enthusiasm for what they are doing. We look forward to their next Mall adventure!
The most popular video of the award-winning, energetic dance routine the troupe has been performing since February.