Punks Not Dead

During Japan's gilded era, perhaps, they made pop-cultural sense. Japan was innocent, proper and full of promise, just like its teenage idol singers belting out their warbly, feel-good singles. It was a simpler time, when a nation that was sure of its direction looked to entertainers for affirmation that life was, indeed, saccharine sweet. That Japan is as dead as Yamaguchi Momoe's career. The ubiquitous teen idols now bear little resemblance to the abrasive reality of modern-day Japan — dropouts, suicides, unemployment, teen pregnancy. And rather than reflect a tranquil society they serve as an over-made up, escapist fantasy. That façade,...

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