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Publication Date : 09-09-2013
Hoping to cheer up their fellow city residents, some locals decided to put together a female idol group
A local idol group comprising 12 girls gave its first regular performance on August 31 after forming in Iwaki as a project to benefit survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake, especially those living in the city as evacuees from the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The group, Icle Girls, was organised by local residents. After intensive rehearsals for about five months, the group made its live debut last month.
The members, aged 13 to 21, said they hope to bring smiles and cheer to Iwaki.
Wearing bright red and blue skirts, the girls appeared at Club Sonic Iwaki, a live music venue in the city, on August 6 to perform their first song, “Dream Catcher”.
The song’s lyrics include such lines as “It’s nice! It’s nice! Iwaki is nice! It doesn’t snow too much here. You can call it the Shonan of Tohoku”.
Shonan refers to a famous beach area in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The lyrics was written by Takahiro Oba, a 31-year-old company employee in the city.
As part of their high-energy dance routine, the members also perform a hula dance, which has become a symbol of post-disaster reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture. Mina Ishikawa, 39, who trained the members in the dance, is also a local resident.
About 250 people packed the club for the live performance, waving penlights in excitement.
In Iwaki, more than 400 people died in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, and about 23,000 live as evacuees because of the nuclear crisis.
Hoping to cheer up their fellow city residents, some locals decided to put together a female idol group, and 128 hopefuls signed up for the audition. Of them, 12 were selected, ranging from a middle school student to a full-time worker, and they assembled for group rehearsals starting in March.
Group leader Rio Sudo, 21, said, “I hope we can send out positive energy from Iwaki and use it to cheer up disaster victims.” She said one of her friends was an evacuee.
Kimika Suzuki, a 15-year-old member who is in her first year of high school, said, “I’m going to sing and dance to support those people who are working hard in disaster-hit areas.”
Ishikawa said: “A lot of people have suffered. I want the group to help heal members of audience psychologically.”
Oba said, “I hope the group shows people the laid-back charm of Iwaki.” Other local residents have been warmly watching the members.
The group has three songs in its repertoire. The members plans to hold regular performances once or twice a month and participate in other events inside and outside the city.