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GQ Japan launched their own YouTube channel back in 2013, but there’s very little Japanese content on it. It’s mostly just stuff that’s been produced for the main global GQ channel, with Japanese subtitles. But once in a while a video created specifically by / for GQ Japan will get uploaded. And one of those once in a while videos happened to feature non other than Kumi Koda.
But because, Japan; the video quality is nowhere near the HD quality of the 10 Essentials videos shot by the global GQ team. But not even low-ass bitrates can hamper Kumi Koda’s on-screen charm as she pulls up 10 pairs of designer shoes onto the table and tells us that we’re all broke.
Kumi’s music may be inconsistent as hell. But one thing which has never wavered is how good Kumi Koda is on camera. She’s always been comfortable just talking. Sometimes a little TOO comfortable. (Shout-outs to rotten pussy). But the cool thing about Kumi Koda is that she was always a little rougher around the edges than her peers at the time, which added to her charm. The way she spoke on camera always seemed to come off like the way she’d talk to friends and acquaintances off camera.
I have long said that Kumi should consider putting videos up on her YouTube channel, because she is far more consistently compelling in conversation than she is on her music. Although with her launching the Kumi Koda app at some point, I imagine that she will continue to gatekeep her video content, which is a shame. Dropping a video a month on her YouTube channel could be a cool compromise to provide the YouTube content which has now become another thing acts have to consider and cater to, whilst also providing video content for those who can’t sign up to Kumi’s fanclub.
I’d really like to see more Japanese acts not only embrace video content on YouTube, but also using it to release more retrospective content. Avex and Sony have actually been pretty good with releasing HD versions of videos and older gigs to YouTube. But it’d be great to have the acts themselves look back and talk through some of the shit they’ve done, and give themselves their own flowers. Especially those like Kumi, who have been in the business for so long and happen to be really and occasionally un-filtered personable on camera.
The Japanese music business always ties anniversaries to everything, and looks for any reason to get a Best album out, but we seldom see acts really look back on their work and talk in depth about it. And trying to find clips of televised interviews and variety show appearances is a nightmare, because it’s either been copyright struck off of YouTube and many other sites, or it exists in the depths of Youku. And good luck trailing through that.
Digital preservation is something I’m always complaining about when it comes to the work of J-pop acts and their interviews, and I wish acts themselves and their management teams would take note of that as a thing worth exploring. But things like these videos with GQ will hopefully provide another space to see more Japanese acts in non music video related video content, until they take things into their own hands.