Thursday, August 30, 2012

Celebrity Spotlight: Shoko Nakagawa

I've always been a fan of Japan's rich, unique culture. As one of the oldest civilizations, and one of the farthest from our Western shores, every aspect from their quirky mythology to their day-to-day lives is fascinating to me. I'll admit, my interest was initially sparked by exposure to anime/manga, but I'm hesitant to place myself in the camp with "otaku", if only because I see my interest as more anthropological in nature.

That being said, when I discovered pop idol Shoko Nakagawa, I was really just... taken aback.

She's the 27-year old daughter of 80's actor/musician Katsuhiko Nakagawa, and best known as being the host of Pok√©Mon Sunday. Shoko Nakagawa, or Shokotan as she is sometimes known, is about as big an ootaku (a huge fan of anime/manga) as you can find; she is an avid cosplayer, talented illustrator, voice actor, and singer. She runs a blog that's hit over a million views and loves interacting with her sizable fanbase.

Shokotan is talented in many respects, to be sure, but the real love she gets from her fans stems from them identifying with her as an otaku/cosplayer.


But her multitude of talents are not the only things that garner interest in Ms. Nakagawa. She's also really... well, weird. She owns around ten cats and has said she enjoys "tasting" them and occasionally posts photos to her blog showing her doing just that:
Don't worry, she's only smelling her cat's anus in that last one. #thingsyoudontexpecttosay
Every year in Japan, summer is ushered in by the buzzing of cicadas and as children flock outdoors to enjoy the warm weather, some of them with net in hand to catch said critters, and yet another bug-related tradition has popped up in recent years. Shoko Nakagawa, like clockwork, will go out and collect cicada skins and arrange them in her hair and on her face. For real.

You didn't need to sleep tonight anyway, right?
I don't get the impression she does this stuff to get attention, after all, she already gets plenty for her many talents and pop-icon status. It seems more like she just gives absolutely no fucks and does as she pleases; in one interview she even stated:
I just want to leave proof of my life in my blog, and I just want to be as free as possible. Sometimes I'm too free, and my manager will get mad at me. 

I've got to admit, despite the flood of NOPE that overcomes me when I see those photos with the cicada skins, I admire this lady. She's turned her fandom into a career, and an impressive one to boot. Plus, you can't argue with that level of "don't give a fuck-titude ".