What Happened To Her? Akina Nakamori Transformations 1987 - 2004

Made by Yirui Zhu

To show how Akina Nakamori has changed dramatically from 1987 to 2004 due to a breakup she suffered from, along with my pity for her. To remind people of the huge negative impact of breakups.

Created: October 10th, 2016


Project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtibuDdw4ZY&feature=youtu.be

Statement: My favorite Japanese pop singer is Akina Nakamori who, born in Tokyo in 1965, was one of the most popular singers in 1980s. While her career was in the peak, she attempted to commit suicide in July 1989 as Masahiko Kondo, whom she had had a relationship with for three years, was having affair with someone else. The broken relationship and her suicide were hard hit for Akina. Besides losing weight and growing haggard gradually, she retreated intermittently and thus her career was almost suspended. I feel sorry for her suffer which leads to her talents wasted. I intend to create a video to show how she has changed all through these years and express my pity for her. On a larger scale, I want to raise people’s awareness that a person could be afflicted by broken relationship.

Context: My idea of creating a mashup originated from the pop music mashups which blend the top hits of 2015 and 2016. Despite that the vocal track of one song is seamlessly overlaid by that of the next, I found there is no continuous plot in the mashups as they cut from shots of a singer’s mv to another’s. I, however, want to tell a story in the mashup. It is a lot more plausible to focus on one singer. I remember several years ago I watched a video about the transformation of Harry Potter actors. It shows how Daniel, Rupert and Emma have grown up all through the ten years via walking through their pictures. The Harry Potter video and the mashups altogether have inspired me to create a mashup that demonstrates a singer’s transformation.

Process: I picked one of Akina’s most well-known songs released in 1986, “DESIRE”, and collected six versions she sang at different ages. Through the remix, viewers can compare Akina’s physical appearance and find out that she aged quickly. However, six clips were not sufficient to show her changes in twenty years because of the abrupt leap in years. And the clips show no clue about Akina’s suffer, so my message could not be delivered effectively. During research I found Akina’s another song released in 1987, “Nanpasen” (means “shipwreck” in English), that talks about pain and emotional torture as a result of broken relationship. What’s more, I found that from around 1986, Akina became mournful and tearing wen performing. So instead of collecting her performance of singing one single song in different periods, I combined video clips of Akina’s emotional performance of various songs from 1987 to 2004 which set a grief tone for the video and had “Nanpasen” as background music. The original lyrics were not understandable by the general public as it’s in Japanese. So I added lyrics in English in my video. I also marked the years of her performance to clearly indicate Akina changes as time flows.

Product: The mashup shows how Akina Nakamori has aged quickly from 1987 to 2004 due to a broken relationship she suffered from. The timeline is marked out to directly inform people to compare her appearance. Lyrics are also shown to give viewers a clue about Akina’s terrible experience of a rocky relationship. In those years she took rests and did not perform after the suicide, the screens turn into blank. Such a pattern encourages people to wonder what has happened to Akina. Although the tragedy was not explicitly told, I believe the desperate tone, lyrics and Akina’s emotional performance are powerful elements that tell people something bad has happened to Akina. It is a way to help people proactively engage with the video and help my message effectively resonant with them. At the end, I took a screenshot in each of the clips and put them altogether on one screen to highlight Akina’s drastic changes. I made the mashup via Premiere. I picked out Akina’s most emotional performance in each clip and used “Cross Dissolve” effect so that they smoothly blend together. At the end of the video, I put fifteen pictures of Akina (each of which represents her look in a year) on one screen in the form of grids.

Critique: The most effective way to make a video spreadable is to make it funny. I am glad my video is responding to a theme more than just being visually appealing. I was afraid that it could not be spreadable because Japanese is not widely spoken. The song was released 30 years ago and there may also be a cultural barrier that hinders acceptability. And that’s why I added lyrics in English to let more people know Akina’s story. My target audience are Akina’s fans and people who are also badly hurt by breakups. My video could become spreadable when posted on J-pop forums after all Akina was the most famous J-pop singer. I may post it on social network with hashtag like #brokenrelationship. I believe people could easily resonant with it since there are a lot of victims of broken relationships in the world. Yet, as lyrics, timeline and Akina’s performance pop up simultaneously, the screen looks overwhelming sometimes. Viewers may dismiss some elements when focusing on the other. Thus it is hard to define whether my work is successful or not.

Personal Reflection: I conclude that a spreadable media should be simplistic and easily understandable. It should have element that either could catch people’s attention instantly or is widespread so that people could resonant with it. That is to say, media in a western context is more likely to go viral because it is the mainstream culture and is widely accepted by people all over the world. On the contrary, other cultures are not as familiar to people as the western culture. Hence I believe spreadable media has its limitation. In order to make a piece of work based on a particular context available to more people, extra elements like linguistic interpretation or culture explanation are necessary. For the next time, I may find video clips in which Akina’s acts are more enriched than simply standing and singing which could give some hint of the theme. Or, if there is no resource available, my alternative is to have an introduction of her terrible experience and remix her pictures instead of video clips because the latter have low quality. Either way is to help express the theme more clearly.

Sources: All of the video clips came from youtube



















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To show how Akina Nakamori has changed dramatically from 1987 to 2004 due to a breakup she suffered from, along with my pity for her. To remind people of the huge negative impact of breakups.