This relatively long Japan Times article about the “Rockabilly” era in Japanese music is pretty interesting. The tone is relatively affirmative, whereas PARCO’s Street Fashion 1945-1995 takes a much more cynical perspective on the whole thing. The PARCO book claims that all the girls “grabbing at” the stars and throwing underwear on stage were hostesses and other girls paid off to act crazy and be sensational. None of the “frenzy” came from normal teens.
The book also notes that Rockabilly never reached the level of a national trend, nor did the main singers’ fashion sense inspire anyone. Their preferred “Regent” haircut was big with the kids out in the sticks, but seen as outdated in Tokyo. (This is still true today.)
The PARCO author cabal goes on to claim that the entire Rockabilly “craze” was essentially a hoax, seeing that when the musicians were playing at jazz kissa, teens in the audience treated them as almost equals rather than stars in the Elvis mold. Interestingly, however, the original Rockabilly singers went on to form the backbone of the Japanese entertainment industry — namely, the company Watanabe Pro — and took with them these lessons on manufacturing consent. As the Japan Times mentioned, that particular management company perfected the creation of “idol singers” and completely controlled the songs and artists appearing on Japanese variety hours in the 1960s.
PARCO seems to suggest that there was never a “pure” era of Japanese music when production companies were not creating “booms” instead of reacting to them.