51 comments on “The status of Wota in Translation

  1. TL;DR:


    Let me rub around in that glossy beard for a bit and maybe I’ll forgive you…>_>

    >>Thus, I’m not going to say goodbye

    You’re damn right you’re not. You’ll be back!

    You can’t deny your feelings for us forever!

  2. Those idiots who say that Hoshibe Shou’s songs are so Tsunku-like are the biggest fucking idiots I think I’ve ever seen. Or maybe I only feel like that because I also came here for Tsunku, but I’m not out of this fandom until at least Juice=Juice graduates. Anyways, all the best to you Henkka. I had a good time reading your stuff.

  3. With Fukuda Kanon graduating soon that also removes a ton of potential Maro-bashing threads, so I cannot hate your decision.

  4. I feel like Sayumi and Tsunku’s graduations have led to a new era of Hello! Project. It feels more polished, but a little lonely, I have to agree with you on this.

    Berryz’s hiatus has hit me hard, too.

    Yet, I absolutely have to thank you. I was a fan of the music of H!P, but it is through Wota in Translation that I discovered jusy hoe much the girls populating H!P are fantastic and just how their producer is amazing.

    Thank you for all these years, I will follow your future projects

    • I’ve thought for way too long about what to comment on this post. In the end I feel that this post actually reflects my feelings almost perfectly.

      Just one thing. Even without having Tsunku as the producer, we still get a steady, though slow, stream of new Tsunku music, so not all hope is lost. Lately he has been playing around with the English language it seems. Is it “Hotzmic’s” and Nonoka’s influence, I wonder?

  5. >>But I always felt a slight pang of guilt when someone said something along the lines of “thanks for doing all this for us — for the community.” Because that’s not accurate. I did it for me

    Doing it for yourself does not diminish what we got out of it.

    >>I’m not a fan of idol music — I’m a fan of Tsunku music.

    Reading your translations helped me realize that my favourite idol is Tsunku. The new songs are good but I miss his background vocals.

    I’m really looking forward to reading your translation of Tsunku’s book. More henkka is best henkka.

  6. I’ve had very similar feelings about the music for the past year or so, but I still love the girls to death so I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon.

    • Yeah, I’m with you, I liked Tsunku a whole heck of a lot. But I looooovvvvvee the girls, so I won’t be jumping the H!P ship any time soon. Even though currently BabyMetal is siphoning away a lot of my attention.

  7. I came into H!P fandom around the time you did, give or take a few months. Like you and many other longtime H!P fans, I find myself at a crossroads.

    It seems like there are a lot of new fans that would like H!P to move away from stuff that sounds like Tsunku’s work. I’ve even heard critiques that all of Tsunku’s stuff “sounds the same.” I don’t get it, but that’s beside the point. What nobody seems to understand is that without Tsunku, H!P is just another idol stable.

    Don’t get me wrong, the good folks at Up Front (and they are great people) are trying. I’ll support H!P more than other idol stables because they treat their talent and graduates well and they seem to genuinely care about the quality of their product. While the music is nice, it plays it safe not by being too much like Tsunku, but by being too much like standard pop.

    I think the charm of H!P and what always made it intriguing was its deviation from the norm — not a BiS-style smash-mouth upheaval of the tropes, but a more slightly complex song structure. An extra two measures here, a whole section between what most would consider the verse and refrain there. Hopelessly sentimental music not given to a group because they could perform it, but tailored for a group of specific people at a certain age at a certain point in time. What are the chances we’ll ever hear anyone write anything like Wakkyanai(Z) again? I’ve been listening to Cutie Queen Vol.1 lately and it blows my mind, every time, ever since I picked up on the ragtime stylings. We’ll never hear anything else like Semi, or Ee ka, or 16sai no Koi Nante, or Mata Yacchata, or Yowamushi, or Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance. Too risky, too sentimental, too “uncool.”

  8. I see back in that “What if Tsunku quit?” thread I said “Hello! Project without Tsunku would be like an empty shell.” That is maybe overstating it a little, but through this year I’ve been stuck wondering what it means to be Hello! Project anymore without the unifying force of Tsunku. I’m still enjoying a lot of the non-Tsunku songs, but what is it other than momentum that means I should particularly pay more attention to H!P?

  9. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING, HENKKA!! You helped me enjoy my H!P fandom even more thoroughly!

    I believe you and I are very similar in how we enjoy and consume our Idols/idol music..therefore if you care to, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND checking out Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku (EbiChu) I find I enjoy them the same way I USED to enjoy H!P, the music is brilliant and the girls are amazing performers/personalities, extremely inventive and endless fun!!

  10. Thank you for your work, Henkka. You say you did it for yourself, and I won’t argue against that of course, but sharing it was a really nice move of you.

    I can understand your feelings towards the situation. Personally, it kind of bothers me when people say “this non-Tsunku song totally sounds like a Tsunku song!”. There are songs that I like, though. And I have hope that Tsunku will write a song for an H!P group every now and then.

    But as said before, I can understand your reasoning.

    Again, thank you. I follow your translation of “Dakara Ikiru”, and I’m thankful for that one as well. Your translation just made the fandom more fun.

  11. Well, you’re still alive, and you’re still continuing to do the awesome things you’ve been doing – albeit on a slightly different channel. All in all, that’s more or less the same situation with Tsunku♂, and I don’t think we could ask for anything more than that.

    Otsukaresamadeshita, and best of luck with your future ventures, be they in familiar areas or not.

  12. Well there are never enough translators it seems so thank you whatever your motivations were/are.

    I’m not the Tsunku wota you are but I’m not sure where my own fandom is going in this post Tsunku era. It’s always a trying experience when you realize your love for something you were so involved in isn’t there anymore for whatever reason.

    Lastly thank you for doing this post. So many have disappeared without a trace that leave you wondering what happened to them.

  13. Wait, didn’t one of the MoMusu members say (Riho…?) that even though he quit as a producer he would still be making music for them and that nothing changes for her because of that?

  14. Pingback: Recommended Community Reading: September 26, 2015 | Idolminded

  15. Thank you, Henkka, for your work. I’ve loved reading your translated threads, your radio translations, everything. It’d be a huge lie to say that HP hasn’t changed beyond belief recently, and everyone respects your decision to step down from this now unfamiliar project and savour your memories of Tsunku and pre-2015 HP, if that makes sense. Thank you.

  16. I personally find it remarkable that Tsunku is still as active as he is within the organization.

    With the raw deal life has served him here he is adapting to the new situation in a way that is truly inspiring to anyone.

    From what I gather he’s seeing himself as a new person and is trying to find a unique way in which the Tsunku he is now can contribute.

    I for one am always fascinated by this man, and I will absolutely keep following anything he touches.

  17. Even if this isn’t a real goodbye, thank you so much for all of your work!! Even if you say you do it for yourself, you don’t HAVE to choose generally neutral threads to translate, and you don’t even have to post your translations to the public in the first place!

    Thanks for all of the good reads over the years. I’m looking forward to reading your current projects as well!

  18. I think I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been struggling with the same thing: do I love Tsunku’s music, or the girls performing? Or is it a combo and if you take out one, the other isn’t as good? I don’t know if I can ever let go of H!P, but this is a huge blow and I will dearly miss Tsunku’s influence, even if I didn’t always agree with it.

    I want to thank you too for the translations and also, basically everything I’ve read of yours. I hope you’ll still blog in some capacity but if not, I wish you all the best and I’ve truly enjoyed your work. I’m sorry that didn’t translate into more comments. I royally suck at commenting. That and my crap internet connection fracks them up.


    Cheers, man. Thanks for everything up to now!

    PS: You can totally tell when it’s not a Tsunku song. Instantly. I don’t know how people can’t. Tsunku-like??? There ain’t two of those in the world, darlings. Give it up. They might not be bad songs, but they’re not Tsunku songs.

  19. I’ve had increasingly longer moments of disconnect from H!P as of late, but I keep checking back on it every now and then. That includes visiting this site. I will continue to do so.

    I’m glad you’ve decided to continue the FIVE STARS translations, really appreciate it as that is my favorite H!P duo.
    Looking forward to reading more of them, as well as Tsunku’s book.

    Thank you for everything.

  20. Its weird to say that you’re going to miss someone that you barely know, but when I read tsunku’s announcement and now yours, that’s exactly how I feel. Both of you guys have played a very important part in my life as a H!P fan, tsunku with his fun, zany music and you providing a peak inside a world most non-Japanese fans could only wonder about. It was you and H!P that inspired me to learn Japanese (I sent you a message about two years ago on what was the best way to learn the language, and you made it seem easy enough for me to eventually give it a try).
    I don’t feel to sad about this situation or tsunku’s. With his absence, hello project songs now have a freshness to them that had been lacking in the past few years. The only similarity between Tsunku and the new producers is that the lyrics are just as uplifting as ever. With this renewed energy, I’m sure someone will pick up were you left off and start translating 2ch (I might even start doing them in the future:-D). So, to both of you: good luck and thanks. It was great while it lasted. For some of us, the fun will continue.

  21. As a fan since 2005, It’s always sad when we feel like it’s time to move on. For me was when Sayu graduated, and suddenly there was not a single girl that I learned to love through the years. No conection anymore.

    I don’t keep up with the news, but I still regularly visit the threads and sites about H!P hoping that I can see something new or even old about the girls I care about (pretty much everyone in Momusu from 1st to 8th gen :P). There’s a lot of nostalgia involved.

    I have to say that I started pay much more attention to Tsunku’s songs because of your posts. I never cared very much about the music (I just followed the girls, and kinda never thought of idol songs as “real” music), but your posts made me pay a bit more attention, and even though I still wouldn’t call myself a fan nor do I listen to the songs in my daily life, I ended up liking a some songs much more than I’d be willing to admit in real life lol. I gonna make sure to read his book also.

    This is getting long, but I wanna say that I’m really glad Wota in Translation exists. I had an amazing time reading all of your translations (and probably gonna go back from time to read to read them all again, specially the ones about Sayu).

    Thank you for everything.

    PS. I’m looking forward to the Gakikame translations.

    • You sound like me! I became a fan in 2005 as well and after Sayu graduated I just began to feel numb about H!P in general. I don’t look for updates or thing about them anymore. It’s over for me and it’s a sad parting but much easier than I thought. It seems that I’ve outgrown them.

  22. Hey Henkka, thanks for everything! Even though I haven’t been a H!P fan for as long as you have been, or as “deep” into H!P stuff as you have been, but I have to categorically state that Wota in Translation has been just about one of the most awesome, if not the most, H!P related sites that I’ve come across. It has provided me lots of laughs and amusement over the years.

    Whatever may happen in the future to this site, I have no idea. But I hope to still see some interesting updates on the odd occasion that I pop by here. Thanks again, Henkka! Long live Henkka and his amazing beard!

  23. Hi, I’m not used to comment because english isn’t my first language, but since this is a special announcement I´m going to try my best.

    I found out about this blog in the middle of 2014 and since then i have been obessed with this site.

    To be honest I’m not a big fan of Tsunku, my love for H!P is mainly thanks to Airi and the satisfaction that gives me watch this young girls develop into really great entertainers/singers/dancers. So I don’t think I might be able to completely understand you, but if there’s something that I’m pretty sure about is that I’m going to miss you so much.
    I’m really thankful for all the translations you have done. I really love to hear more about my favourite idols. So I really mean it when I say THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING!

    God bless you Henkka!

  24. Whether it’s ends up a graduation, a Berryz like hiatus or you suddenly find that Tsubaki Factory are the second coming ;) Good luck in the future and thanks for all the amazing translations they’ve certainly helped me understand and feel a lot more connected with the Japanese H!P community.

  25. Thanks for all your work so far, and I’m really looking forward to that Tsunku book.
    To be honest, I’m not crazy about H!P, I’ve just been following this blog out of a interest in 2chan and the glorious Michishige. I do know something of what you feel though, as my interest in AKB begins to fade after many years. It’s depressing, while Aki-P is still around I feel like the group has lost the willingness to try new things that made me love them so much in the first place. Or perhaps I’m just getting old.
    I feel like a traitor, but I’ve mostly shifted to male k-pop idols.

  26. Thanks for all of the translations you’ve done. I’ve been totally addicted to this site. There is something that is awesomely messed up that emerges when H!P and 2ch are combined. In the future, if you ever see something that you feel just needs to be translated, don’t hold back. We will be waiting. Haha. In the meantime, I’ll be really looking forward to the Five Star translations.

    If you know of any other site like this, please let us know. If it’s 1/10th as good as this one, I’d like to check it out. Thanks!

  27. Yo, you do you, man. That’s what people enjoy out of most anybody.
    I appreciate how life’s occurrences has led you to create and play with this idea and likewise how I’ve come do discover this entertaining place. It’s great.

  28. Hey Henkka,

    So, you feel you’re done with H!P without Tsunku? You’ve had an amazing run while it lasted man, and I hope you’ll find whatever hobby is next for you soon. I’ve been away from H!P for long enough now that, when I first heard of Tsunku stepping down as producer, I didn’t really worry about any of the groups. My first thought was actually “Whoa, how’s Henkka going to take this one?”

    Congratulations for everything you achieved here.

  29. Thank you for all of your hard work. I too am stepping away from the fandom. I’ve been following these girls since 2005 and for years they were the main reason for the smile on my face. Everyday was like meeting up with your friends. However, it’s time to say goodbye. H!P will begin a new chapter and I’m happy for them but it’s not for me. I look forward to your projects and wish you the very best!

  30. I also became a fan in 2007, and basically grew up with H!P. I agree with someone who said in the comments that being a fan of them was likr having a friend. Heck, I even brought candy to school on Reina’s birthday!

    I kind of feel relieved to hear that I’m not the only one who feels estranged to H!P. In the current Momusu everyone is significantly younger than me and nobody’s personality appeals to me. For me, Momusu were always like a role models. I aspired to be like them. But now I’m 23 and there’s no one to look up to.

    Your blog made my fandom more in-depth. I learned a lot of things I wouldn’t have known otherwise. (Such as Ayumi having a cheap taste in clothes or people hating/loving Maro.) I laughed out loud many times reading this blog.

    Olin myös ylpeä, että suomalainen henkilö kontribuoi näin paljon fandomille. Vaikka teitkin sen itseäs varten. (Eihän maailmassa ole olemassa 100% epäitsekkäitä tekoja.) Samalla tavalla kuin sä, mä opin paljon Japanista ja elämästäkin idolien avulla. Tsunkun musiikki on alusta asti ollut erottava tekijä verrattuna muihin idoliryhmiin.

    Thank you for your hard work! I look forward to reading Terada’s book and escaping to the sweet golden years of the 6th generation with FIVE STARS.


  31. I’ve been a fan since late 2003, but I’ve been aware of their brand for at least a year before that. I considered exploring the works of Sharan-Q for a while (helps that H!P provides that avenue), to better understand the band’s place in history. I won’t lie that being exposed to Tsunku’s music impacted me as a music lover and person.

    I feel bad I didn’t notice the change sooner and the girls and music certainly kept me glued. (I’d rather not publicly say what is making me question my fandom.)

    Still, it was nice while it lasted and thank you for all you’ve done. *hugs* Until our paths cross again.

    (Sorry for the late comment. I wanted to read all of the comments and conceive an appropriate response.)

  32. I’m torn. I do likeep some of the new music, but the new H!P tunes just lack, something. Sillyness? Heart? I dunno. I started following H!P after Kago got canned, and my Fandom has been strong up until the last year or so. I think that H!P needs a new scapegoat, a new unpopular-popular girl to distract evey one with hate while they rebuild.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this blog. Despite the fact that this is my first time commenting, I have been lurking on this blog since forever. Thank you for all of the work that you have put into this place


    If you hadn’t done it for yourself, we wouldn’t be reading any of it anyways. And you won’t be receiving these amount of comments if we hadn’t first READ THIS FOR OUR OWN SELVES. Well, who would reads this for someone else’s sake?! Hahaha

    Honestly, I am predicting you to feel an occasional urge to translate every once in awhile. Maybe only a handful in a year… But not totally seeing you not translating anymore. Either ways is fine.

    Thank you for pledging for Five Stars. I love it. And thank you for everything else until now. It was good years with Wota In Translation. Cheers Henkka and to your friend!

    *didn’t know you’re married to a Japanese woman and living in that country! So happy!*

  34. I’ve been letting this news sink in and I think I’m finally ready to leave a comment, something I regretfully never did on any of your previous posts. First of all, thanks so much for all the content you’ve translated so far. Wota in Translation is without a doubt my favorite H!P related site. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how different my descent into H!P would be without this site. Living outside of Japan and not being able to speak Japanese are two huge barriers for a fan of Japanese idols, specifically when it comes to the personalities of these girls. This site really helped to give more insight on that part of H!P and the fandom surrounding it.

    Unlike a lot of other commenters here, I’m actually fairly new to H!P, having only discovered it at the start of this year. My gateway was old Golden Era Momusu videos on YouTube. I got interested because of the funny, charming girls but it was after listening to ‘4th Ikimasshoi’ and got in touch with that Tsunku sound that I got really hooked on H!P. It was a bit hard to adjust to new H!P, especially since I had joined the fandom at ‘the beginning of a new era’. This point was made clearer by every key moment: Berryz disbanding, new groups blooming, Tsunku losing his vocal cords and finally the news that Tsunku had ‘graduated.’

    My stance on current H!P is constantly shifting. I personally still enjoy the music, with a few exceptions here and there. The lack of Tsunku is very noticeable but they’ve got a bunch of other great minds behind the scenes. For example, J=J’s album was amazing, even though only one of their songs was written by Tsunku. At this point, I’ll definitely stick with H!P, I still have so much backlog after all and I’ve grown attached to the members.

    It’s very understandable that you would be done with H!P though, a lot has changed after all and we all know you’re view on H!P and Tsunku. It’ll be sad to see you go, especially since translated content is always a goldmine for fans like me, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And if you ever get interested in H!P again and feel the desire to do more translations, I’ll definitely be there to read them. Untill then I’ll be enjoying Five Stars, thanks for everything.

  35. Thoughtful post, it made me a reflect as well, as a 10+ years follower of H!P. It did not change how I personally feel. I will continue as long as they keep me entertained. Certainly all good things must come to and end…

    Gave me the chills as you summed it up into “thank you”, yourself.

    Thank YOU. For everything.

  36. hey, even if you did it just for yourself, thanks for giving us such interesting and funny reads!
    Good luck :)

  37. First of all, I, as a Japanese, have to assure that Hennka’s translations of 2ch threads are always accurate and amazing. I’ve actually compared some of his translations to their original threads having them on my pc screen side by side. I’d be surprised by not only how much he understands Japanese language, but also how he tries to mediate those fandoms inside and outside of Japan. I know he always tries to avoid carefully to generate negative misunderstanding or hatred between them, while some people would like to pour oil on the fire unnecessarily. I believe he did it for the love of H!P not only for his own fun. You can’t do that hard works just for your fun. H!P has been getting into unknown territory and I think its fandom might feel like being left alone in a deep forest. Henkka was just like a huge tree in the forest and he’s encouraged younger trees to grow under his attentively spread branches. I believe someone of us would take over his achivement and start to support H!P to keep going on forever. It would definitely be my honor if I could ever meet Hennka and have a cup of green tea over H!P stuffs somewhere in Japan someday. (Sorry. I don’t drink vodka.)

  38. God, I’m fucking late, but who cares. Anyway, I never comment on posts because I’m not fluent in english and for personal reasons, but when I read this post, I almost immediately feel like I needed to comment, not just to share my thoughts on the new H!P. Here comes the textwall.

    I’ve been hearing H!P songs since 2008 and I’m a H!P wota since 2011. Reading your post and the comments, I think I know how you and some of the readers feel about H!P recently, because it doesn’t feels the same for me too now that Tsunku is not their producer anymore. I think that only H!P have the idols I really love, so, when I knew/noticed that Tsunku was not going to produce them anymore, I felt really sad, nearly desperate, not only because of his situation, but because things were going to have a big change. Yeah, he continues to make music for them. Yeah, they’re trying to keep his style and etc, but I can’t feel it even if I like the new songs. I’m too lazy to search for videos or things like these about the idols even if I have my oshis (and I care for them like I care for a friend), but I always looked towards the new singles and albums because on my own, I liked the girls and because the songs were produced by Tsunku. We sometimes haven’t agreed with some things he did, but still, H!P is H!P because of him.

    Also, of course, all the changes in H!P and in my personal life recently helped me to feel like I don’t care about them like I did in the beginning. I mean, I was SO excited when Juice=Juice was announced, but I didn’t feel the same with Kobushi & Tsubaki Factory and Country Girls at all. I’ll keep on looking towards the new songs (that are very good in their own way) and the members itself, but it’s not the same thing. It was almost two decades of the H!P we were used to, it’s impossible to us try to think that it’s the same/it’s nearly the same thing, even if some of us love the new H!P.

    And, at least, but not least important, I discovered Wota in Translation not so long ago I think, and I still have things to read, but I really loved your projects, translating topics from 2ch, the radio shows and etc. It helped me to understand and learn a lot of things, and somehow is making me want to know more about the members of the groups that I love. As they said before, if you hadn’t did it for yourself, we hadn’t be reading all these things. Thank you. You’re right in not saying this is the end, because if someday you feel like translating something again, you couldn’t do it and we couldn’t read it. I wish all the best for you and I hope you to come back someday.

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