Describes a certain kind of celebrity
. The requirements are: must be female, young and cute. big boobs
are a bonus, as is skill at dancing and singing, but none of these are strictly required. Their job consists of recording songs, posing in skimpy bikinis for weekly manga
magazines and doing commercials. They are often given a stage personality
geared towards maximum popularity, in other words: Idol careers are utterly fake, created by an industry that uses them to sell CDs, videos, trading card
s and pretty much anything you can print an photograph on, until they lose popularity and are discarded for the next pretty face.
If this sounds a lot like Britney Spheres, the Spice Girls or various boygroups to you, you're right, but there are also some differences: While in the 1960s and 1970s, there tended to be one dominant idol at a time, the target group's taste changed in the 1980s towards more diversity and approachability, and nowadays there are a couple of dozen idol starlets active at one time, each of them with her own group of devoted followers, covering a small segment of the market. In between, there was a transition phase of idol groups, attempts to again gather huge market shares by combining the popularity of several idols. Virtual idols were another attempt to do something new (Kyoko Date wasn't the only one), but didn't catch on, probably because it's just a bit too much fakeness.