updated 30 Apr 2012, 20:51
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Thu, Jan 26, 2012
The New Paper
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Are they being too sexy?
by Kwok Kar Peng

Sexy female singers flaunting their curvaceous bodies is nothing new in pop music.

In fact, Japanese girl group SDN48, which stands for Saturday Night 48, was created in 2009 specifically to woo adult fans with its members' sex appeal.

The group is the more well-endowed version of its very popular sister idol group and pop collective AKB48, which set up a cafe and shop here at *Scape last year.

Both groups have held live gigs here.

But SDN48's latest music video for its catchy dance track Yaritagariya-san - performed by SDN48 Undergirls Team G - has caused a huge stir on video-sharing website YouTube.

Yaritagariya-san was released on Dec 28 as a B-side track to the single Kudoki Nagara Azabu Juuban, a duet with Japanese TV presenter Mino Monta.

The Undergirls are members who did not perform on the main single, but instead sang the B-side song in the single.

At least six users have uploaded the controversial, highly erotic clip to YouTube, drawing a total of 307,000 views so far.

In the video, the 12 women are dressed in white lacy bras, lingerie and cropped shorts.

They remove their clothing piece by piece, eventually stripping down to nothing and strategically covering their chests with their arms.

The women are also shown taking photos of themselves in different states of undress, and there are even suggestive girl-on-girl poses.

The music video intersperses the above scenes with clips of the women dancing in cleavage-baring outfits.

One of their dance moves sees the women squeezing their breasts together with their hands, bending over and shaking.

It's not surprising then that the song title refers to a person who is eager to have sex.

The women sing about their attraction to a man and how this is causing them to behave like a "yaritagariya-san".

Miss Gladys Tan, a 25-year-old Singaporean who has lived in Tokyo since 2010 and is an undergraduate at Waseda University, believes the song is about casual sex, which is common nowadays in Japan.

She told The New Paper: "(A lot of) men and women here love to have casual relationships. Even those who are married or attached enjoy the thrill.

"Then when they turn 30, they realise the importance of settling down but find it hard to (do so)."

News reports in China and Taiwan said the daring video has got some male viewers excited.

But other netizens said they were shocked at how it verged on soft porn.

TNP had earlier this month asked the group several questions about Yaritagariya-san through its public relations company.

Why did they make such a sexy video? Were they shy about filming it? And do they think it sends the wrong message to their young fans?

But the group and its Japanese management company declined to comment.

It's believed that SDN48 will be in Singapore next month, but the dates have not been confirmed.

The Undergirls who performed Yaritagariya-san are Akane Fukuda, Siyeon, Yuki Aikawa, Natsuko, Machiko Tezuka, Rumi Matsushima, Hana Tojima, Miyuu Hosoda, Miray, Misa Okouchi, Masami Kouchi and Yumi Fujikoso.

All are in their 20s.

And it's the women's most risque video to date.

The music videos for their first single, Gagaga (released in November 2010), and Min.Min.Min (released last August) are relatively tame in comparison.

The women are shown dancing in cropped tops and shorts.

In the video for Ai, Chuseyo (released last April), the women, again clad in cropped tops and shorts, are seen taking a bath with soap suds covering their chests.

There are also scenes of them in silhouette, seemingly nude and dancing in a darkened room.

The video for Abazure, a B-side track to Min.Min.Min, is also suggestive.

In some scenes, the scantily-clad women look seductively into the camera and lure two men to go with them.

The song is about a lonely woman who goes around looking for a one-night stand.

Miss Tan said she found Yaritagariya-san acceptable because there's no nudity.

She added: "It's considered okay in Japan because (private parts) and other sexual topics (are widely discussed) on the variety talk shows."

Mr Keith Tan, 21, an AKB48 fan who's doing his national service, also finds the video acceptable.

Marketing strategy

Said Mr Tan: "SDN48 uses a different marketing strategy (than AKB48) because its target market is older adults. I think the video is trying to appeal more to the Japanese market who won't find it too risque.

"Their society is very open... Possibly because they are used to nudity. The video is considered mild (compared to what's available there)."

But Mr Tan was concerned that tweens and teens could get the wrong message from SDN48 about taking photos of themselves disrobing.

An MTV Asia spokesman told TNP that it hasn't received a copy of the Yaritagariya-san video for broadcast.

Ms Tan Sian Ju, the vice-president of youth and music at Viacom International Media Networks Asia, which includes MTV Asia, feels SDN48 is pushing the envelope with its new offering.

Until the cable channel receives the actual clip, she said MTV Asia can't say if full or partial censorship is needed.

She added: "But some of our guys in the office seem to really, really enjoy it."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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