Now That’s What I Call Indie: Ichiho Goes Executive

I won’t lie, when I first saw an announcement post followed by news tweets of Ichiho’s face, I panicked a little. Thankfully, it’s nothing to do with my horrible luck when it comes to picking oshis this time around.

At first, I was going to try and weasel out of this, “oh, I don’t know enough about this for a full article, maybe I’ll leave it for Weekender fuel” but then I remembered that I just published an article about a group who have released almost nothing at all, and I realised I had no excuse.

But long story short, Shirahata Ichiho, Gokigen Teikoku’s leader, playing manager and unwilling scratching post for my cat, has seemingly established a new record label, “GOKIGEN JAPAN”, for all Gokitei-related releases. Consequently, she has now been granted the noteworthy title of “Japan’s First Ever Board Chairman Idol” (If you don’t count Ichigo Rinahamu). In addition to this, Gokitei have announced their goal to reach Budokan by 2021, and also establish a retirement home for their elderly fans(????)

This is big, and not just because there’s finally a place for an old fart like me to spend her twilight days. As many of you know, Gokigen Teikoku have been self-produced pretty much since they abandoned their former “Saishuu Mirai Heiki mofu” identities. And just two years later, they’re about to release their second album and have formed a sister group.

For a self-produced idol group, just these milestones alone would be impressive enough. But to grow so much that you can build your own, legitimate record company from it is something else. Most self-produced idols have to make a choice between signing with some indie label to handle distribution, or going the full DIY route and make CD-Rs that are only sold at concerts most of the time. Gokitei instead going “why not have the best of both worlds?” could be one of the biggest indie idol power moves of the year so far.

It’s a big risk, but if it works, imagine how powerful a 100% independent Gokigen Teikoku could become. Just look at Rinahamu’s ICIGO STYLE label; sure, it’s had its share of flops like the short-lived DOPING BERRY, but CY8ER, and Rina’s solo career, are arguably the strongest they have ever been. I’m nervous, but excited for the future of Gokitei.