One of my old blog Néomarxisme’s early successes was my translation of lyrics from seminal idol-collective the Onyanko Club: “Don’t Make Me Take Off My Sailor Uniform“, “A Pervert! (Otto Chikan)” & everyone’s favorite ode to the fact that girls have to have sex with their married teachers to make up for being bad at math “Stop it, Teacher!” At the time I wrote those essays, however, there was no YouTube, so it’s worth going back and taking a look at these bizarre sexually-frank songs in action now that the internet has delivered video capability.
「セーラー服を脱がさないで」/ “Don’t Make Me Take Off My Sailor Uniform”
The archeo-feminist in me always shakes its head at this track, for the fact that crafty male producers and songwriters got together and forced a bunch of bland teenage girls to sing unambiguous, unpoetic lines like, “I want to have sex before anyone else does” and “It’s boring being a virgin.” But the song is even weirder in context: note how generally boyish, unattractive, and unerotically dressed the girls are. (If you think I am making an overly-subjective or personal judgment about their relative cuteness, ask anybody from that era how they were perceived. Onyanko Club started the “throw a bunch of mediocre daughters of overambitious stage mothers together and the total cuteness will suffice” strategy that Morning Musume perfected.) Also note how the (incredibly shady-looking) male hosts and male audience are so enthusiastic — much more so than the girls in the group or the female audience members. The Onyanko girls look like they learned the choreography ten minutes prior and are promised a half-hour outside of their cages if they can get through the three minutes without messing up too badly.
Nothing about the actual staging or execution seems to recognize the sexual content of the song, reinforcing the interpretation that the whole thing (along with the openly-sketchy title of the show Yuyake Nyan Nyan) was a massive subversive practical joke on the part of adult men. You can argue for some Shinto non-Christian morality at the heart of this TV phenomenon, but show me similarly open child sex-pop tunes from the ’70s and ’90s. In most cases, we get “flowers blooming” and other silly metaphors, but not “I want to do H like that shown in the weekly magazines.”
Rest assured that in this clip you are peering into a fleeting moment of Japanese pop culture that would never quite hit the same touchpoints. In this day and age, Akimoto Yasushi would never pass off such literal material to AKB48 or even Jero.