In person: Kyoko Miyake, director
Watch the trailer.
A pop culture big business in Japan since the 1990s, “idols” are teenage female singers who perform sugary tunes for legions of fanatical fans. Kyoko Miyake’s documentary looks behind the scenes of this phenomenon, focusing on Rio Hiirago (RioRio to her fans) who, at nineteen, will soon age out of idol-dom. Miyake reveals the hard work that goes into maintaining the peppy, upbeat veneer that being an idol requires. She also exposes the sometimes-disturbing devotion of fans—mostly men, many middle-aged—who spend thousands of dollars on concert tickets and the chance to touch their objects of desire at “handshake events.” “Tokyo Idols offers a complex look at a cultural phenomenon” (Lee Jutton, Film Inquiry). (Dir.: Kyoko Miyake, Canada/United Kingdom/Japan, 2017, 88 min., DCP, Japanese with English subtitles)