Since writing the essay on the odottemita subculture in Singapore and Japan, there has been a glacial change in some topics touched upon within the essay. As these issues are admittedly minor in magnitude, there is little need for a second essay to be written simply for these additions to be made. In the interest of further building on the foundations established within the original essay, this addendum was thus created.
Different forms of Odottemita
Although the original essay proposed a framework for the categorization of odottemita styles used in various odottemita videos, the existence of the Para Para dance style seems to have been unfortunately omitted.
This dance style that is closely related to the Euro Beat genre has also been used in some odottemita videos, differing markedly from contemporary forms of dance that were expounded upon in the original essay. The lack of technically flamboyant moves and strong adhesion to the beat of the song may bear some resemblance to the ‘Girls’ style, but the absence of kawaii moves seems to set it apart from even its closest counterpart.
Another form of dance that was not mentioned is that of wotagei, one which has evolved from individual cheering for Japanese pop idols to synchronized mass cheering complete with lightsticks and chants. Although wotagei is sometimes used for cheering, it is undeniable that the use of lightsticks and synchronicity of movement is intended to maximize the impact of the performance.
This then raises an interesting question: Should wotagei be considered a form of odottemita? After all, it does have a performative aspect in that participants of wotagei practice their moves in hopes that they will be noticed by the idols they are cheering for. At the same time, wotagei when used as a form of cheering would run contrary to the explicit purpose of performance which I view as being integral to any definition of what constitutes odottemita.
In order to resolve this issue, I propose that wotagei can be accepted as a form of odottemita if, and only if, it is performed for the purposes of recording what is performed to viewers later. Despite its roots in cheering, wotagei videos are recorded in much the same way as odottemita videos are, with synchronicity in movements to music being the participant’s focus. On such grounds, it is hard to argue that wotagei is not similar to what is seen in odottemita though the styles adopted may differ.
However, wotagei too exists during live performances by idols, where it is used as a form of synchronized mass cheering. There may exist a notable gulf in the purposes of cheering and dancing based on one’s interpretation of what dancing means. Thus, I believe that if wotagei is used for cheering during a live setting, it cannot be considered a form of odottemita due to the difference in purposes despite the act being similar.
In both instances, Para Para and wotagei are rarely seen in the odottemita community and may even be dismissed by some as not being part of the odottemita subculture. Others may argue that these forms of dancing, if they are indeed considered dancing, bear similarity to conventional forms that already exist within odottemita and should be classified as such.
I beg to differ. Believing that both styles are sufficiently distinctive visually to be distinguished from other forms of odottemita, the spectrum in the original essay has been updated as follows:
As both Para Para and wotagei styles are heavily choreographed, they are further left than even that of ‘Woman’s’, or lyrical jazz, style. There is, however, no implied association in their proximity to that of the ‘Girl’s’ style, rather, their position is a reflection of the level of choreography present in their odottemita videos.
The original essay neglected to mention the use of costumes in attire by individual odorites, which does occur on occasion. Some odottemita videos show a clear association between the song which is being danced to and the cosplay costume worn by the odorite, while other odottemita videos have individuals dressed in costumes which are not associated with the backing track used.
The rarity of costumes in dressing can be attributed to a few factors such as costumes being generally more restrictive of one’s movements compared to conventional clothing and perhaps a desire not to look outlandish if the odottemita video is being recorded in a public location. Those living in tropical regions or countries may find prolonged wearing of, and exertion in, cumbersome costumes to be both hot and uncomfortable, while others may simply lack the funds required to purchase or rent these costumes. Hence, costumes as a form of dressing by individual odorites seems likely to continue being on the fringes in terms of attire compared to other forms that have been described within the original essay.
On the Hallyu subculture vis-à-vis the Odottemita subculture
In my concluding thoughts, I was of the belief that there exists no contemporary Korean counterpart for the Japanese odottemita subculture despite the recent popularity of Korean pop culture in Asia generally as well as internationally. Indeed, to quote from the original essay, ‘There is little similarity between the odottemita subculture described above, however, as a bottom up, organic growth of a Korean version of odottemita has not yet emerged as a mainstream or fringe form of pop culture, and seems largely confined to appreciation for professional pop Korean dance groups.’
Although this opinion still seems to be valid, it should be noted that there is a fledgling community which has begun to record videos of themselves dancing to Korean pop songs in much the same way that odottemita first began. One may be tempted to conclude that such a ‘Korean odottemita‘ already exists in the form of existing odottemita covers which utilize K-Pop songs as opposed to Japanese songs. Given that both examples appear strikingly similar in purpose and execution, does any distinction actually exist?
In the interest of clarifying my stance,the latter example seems closer to cultural appropriation than the creation of any new ‘Korean odottemita’. That K-Pop songs are used is perhaps more reflective of what a particular odorite believes to be sufficiently popular and interesting to them rather than a amateurish attempt to create a dance cover of a song for fun. The former example has slightly higher production values than early odottemita covers but is conceivably among the first organic videos that may inspire other covers in the future, thus forming a ‘Korean version’ of what the Japanese know to be odottemita.
It is naturally understandable that should such a ‘Korean odottemita‘ subculture form from within the Korean pop culture, the terminologies used would probably different. What Western viewers may term as ‘hobby dancing by amateurs and semi-professionals’ encapsulates the Japanese concept of what odottemita is, or should be, and Koreans or appreciators of their pop culture will likely be involved in the creation of their own names for this phenomenon. Thus, the use of ‘Korean odottemita‘ in this addendum is out of convenience given that a general definition has already been established in the original essay.
To conclude, the growth of any ‘Korean odottemita‘ could require more time, but as societal and cultural trends change, it is possible that a Korean counterpart to odottemita may emerge faster than expected.
This addendum has addressed two areas which lacked sufficient elaboration in the original essay: that of the Para Para and wotagei styles in odottemita as well as infrequent costume use by odorites in some covers. The recent update on comparisons between odottemita and Hallyu subcultures as well as musings on whether we may have seen the early beginnings of a ‘Korean odottemita‘ is the main purpose for this addition, and hence should be useful for those which pondered further on some questions raised in the concluding thoughts of the original essay.