Before I start this one, I just want to note that this entry was highly influenced by the events of my week; the title that reads like some bad scientific paper (and I had one due yesterday morning), the possible incoherence at times in this entry (due to the lovely concussion that I have), and, well, the most important of them all, my final Developmental Psychology class. What the hell does that have to do with Natsuyaki Miyabi? More than you may think!

So there I am, sitting in my last Developmental Psych class of the semester, eagerly awaiting the clock to hit the hour mark so I could get out of there and do all the rest of the things I had lined up for the day. Our final lesson was on quite a few different things– but the one that struck me while I was copying it down into my notes was the characteristics of what adults perceive to be a childlike face, what the psychologist/zoologist Konrad Lorenz described as “babyness features,” and how they transform as people grow. One of those transformations was described as the elongating of the face and the lengthening of the jaw.

Get it now?!

Poor Miyabi gets picked on a lot about her face– for having a long chin/jaw, in particular. I always get a chuckle when I look through her photobook. I remember someone saying, when people were first getting their hands on the PB when it was released, that there were a lot of chin-hiding pictures in there! I didn’t believe, at that time, that it could be that noticeable– that they wouldn’t have hid the girl’s chin that much. But when I took a look for myself, lo and behold, there they were, plain as day! It was pretty hard to miss them, in fact.

 
  
  

So, clearly, the photographer was well aware of the phenomenon that is Miyabi’s chin. And it seems like other people in Hello! Project are, as well.

Who could forget the infamous backstage recording of Yoshizawa stating quite bluntly that she didn’t think that Miyabi was a virgin? I certainly didn’t! It was the first thing in my train of thought about Miyabi and her “adult” features. Now, clearly, I’m missing a very big piece of the puzzle; I don’t hang out with Miyabi– I don’t know what her personality is like, I don’t know what she acts like when she isn’t being filmed. So Yossie may have observed something about the way Miyabi acts to come to that conclusion. But as far as my theory goes, I think it may have at least something to do with her face. As I said before, the elongated chin/jaw is one of the transformations that human faces undergo as people grow. Was that aspect of Miyabi getting to her? Did that thought come to mind because Miyabi’s face looks a little more adult-like than the other girls?

Yossie wasn’t even the first one to relate Miyabi to adulthood, either. Who could forget the Summer Shuffle Unit from 2005– ‘Sexy Otonajan,’ where Miyabi and Murakami Megumi teamed up with Fujimoto Miki? 

  

Now, Miki made sense; she’s one of the sexy queens of Hello! Project, but… now, what about these other two?! Both of these girls were just 13 when they were in this unit– well, actually, if you want to get picky with the details, Megumi just turned 13 a short while before the song was released (within that month), and Miyabi was actually 12 and wouldn’t turn 13 for a few more months! So what was it, exactly, that prompted the big bosses of H!P to pick these two for this “Sexy Otonajan” unit? Megumi I can’t answer for, but as for Miyabi… was it the face?! Both of the girls are fantastic singers, of course, so I’m sure that had something to do with the decision, but going on this theory of mine… could it have had something to do with the way Miyabi looks? Did she pass as older than her actual age?

 

I remember when I was first looking up Berryz stuff, and I came across the PV for ‘Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai.’ I thought Miyabi was ridiculously pretty, and I thought she was older than she actually was at the time. One of the first videos I came across of the Berryz girls when they weren’t performing or in PVs was one with Miyabi and Risako in it. Risako got up and started dancing to her ‘Yeah! Meccha Holiday,’ and I was nearly shocked when Miyabi joined in and went even crazier than Risako; she had no fear of just shoving Risako out of the way and taking over. This video has that footage in there with lots of other Miyabi craziness–

I’d previously perceived her as being a lot more mature– or at the very least, chill, but I slowly discovered that this was not the case. She was just as (or even more) crazy as the rest of them. But was my initial view of Miyabi affected by… the face?!

To do a little test of my theory, I talked to one of my friends yesterday who has little knowledge about J-pop. Well, actually, she’s pretty well-informed on matters that I tell her about, and then the things she asks me. She’s so tolerant of my ramblings about J-pop, so I figure she wouldn’t mind being asked. I know I’d talked about Berryz with her before, so I wouldn’t have to do any explaining there, but she definitely didn’t know the little details like all the girls’ ages. So, I showed her a recent group picture of all the Berryz girls, and asked her to tell me which girls she thought were the oldest and the youngest. For the oldest, she couldn’t decide between Saki or Chinami, and she picked Momoko as the youngest. While my little test here didn’t come out as expected, I let her know the reason I asked, and I pointed out Miyabi. She said when she took a closer look specifically at Miyabi, she said she did look a little older than the rest of the girls– and the reason she was reluctant to pick Miyabi out at all was because she reminded her too much of a mutual acquaintance of ours, more than anything.

So while my quick test didn’t go exactly as expected, I still got some interesting comments out of my friend about Miyabi. My theory’s led me this far, and now I know the idea is never going to leave my head. And of course to anyone who may find this just a bunch of bull, that’s just fine, too. It’s just an amusing theory I got on a whim and decided to investigate a little. But I found it sort of funny how much I’ve overlooked Miyabi. I’m always so focused on Risako when it comes to girls that “look older than their ages,” and such (and while I personally think Risako looks her age, it’s clear that lots of others don’t)– but it was Miyabi who was put into “Sexy Otonajan,” after all!

So, what do you all think? What exactly is it about Miyabi?

(A big thanks to Nouciel at JPH!P for providing me with pictures of Miyabi from the Shuffle Unit!)

Advertisements