Support your locodols
Pay them tribute mainichi
Let it be known they hold your fate
From their fingertips shall flow sake
Tell them when they speaks the air is sweet
Wherever they walk, sakurabeds be laid
So that they may always feel secure
In the vast fandom they conduct


Regional idols, or locodols, have been garnering much national attention in recent years. They are not based in Tokyo and do not target the entire country. They instead focus on regional cities such as Fukuoka, Sendai and Sapporo.

LinQ, a Fukuoka-based regional idol group, held their first overseas mini-concerts in Taipei on March 8 and Hsinchu, another Taiwan city, on March 9.

The events were of particular interest to me because they were part of a sales campaign in Taiwan promoting Fukuoka Prefecture’s famed “Amao” strawberries, organized by the JA Zennoh Fukuren, a prefectural federation of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives Associations.

LinQ is an abbreviation of “Love in Qshu (Kyushu).” The group started as an idol creation project aimed at fostering the growth of the girls as idols, in addition to playing a public relations role for companies and local governments in Fukuoka and other parts of Kyushu.

Bypassing Tokyo means more opportunities for localities to connect their economic activities with the world, a shared goal for regional municipalities. I believe locodols can be a bridge between the world and local regions of this country, a thought that was precisely reflected in the LinQ-Amao collaboration.

LinQ, strawberry: a good collaboration model
, Takamasa Sakurai, Yomiuri Shimbun, March 30, 2014

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Hachikin Girls is a Kochi-ken (Shikoku) based idol group formed in Feb 2010. In Tosa-ben, Hachikin (はちきん eight balls) designates a strong and independant woman, a tough girl. The group was initially formed with members from two chia-gurupu, CuRu CuRu (クルクル) and Papillons (パピヨンズ), supporting the local yakyu team Kochi Fighting Dogs (高知ファイティングドッグス).

In March 2013, Hachikin Girls performed at the National Taiwan Science Education Center in Taipei for the “General Mobilization of Figures — Best Figure Exhibition of Kaiyodo”. The event was promoting the greatest figures modeling group in Japan,“KAIYODO” .

Hachikin X Kaiyodo Collaboration is another example of a successful overseas joint-operation uniting kindred spirits from differents part of the world.

はちきんガールズ ~ 冒険はじまる (@ 3’56”)

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