When you think of Japanese pop groups, you probably think of cute and sexy girls who are competing for fame. But did you know that a certain group in Japan called “Pottya (ぽっちゃ)” is shaking up the world with the weight of their chubby members? Yes, it’s true! This Japanese all-girl pop group doesn’t allow its chubby members to lose weight. This concept is a chance for chubby girls out there to fulfill their dreams as idols. Let’s check them out below!
— なかはら★ももた (@momotaNakahara) July 30, 2016
Pottya was formed in late 2014. It started with an audition participated by 2,141 girls wherein only five members were chosen. These five members consisted of Oki Risa (大木梨渚) who is the leader, Indo Maiko (犬童 舞子), Yokokawa Mai (横川 麻衣), Tsukada Emi (塚田恵未), and Ohashi Michiko (大橋 ミチ子). The average weight of the girls is 76 kilograms, resulting in a combined weight of 380 kilograms, and their BMI is above 25 which is considered overweight. Pottya was produced by Kobayashi Takeo (小林岳夫) who also produced Ebisu Muscats (恵比寿マスカッツ), a sexy idol group. Each of the members was originally assigned a different color from the rest.
On January 14, 2015, Pottya made their debut with the digital single called “Po・Po・Po・Pocha Rinko☆ (ポ・ポ・ポ・ポチャりん子☆).” It received a lot of attention during its first week on YouTube with over 400,000 views. Their first live performance was held on the same date.
In April 2015, the idol group released their first CD single which included their debut song. A new song was also introduced in the single entitled “Bye Bye Kataomoi (バイバイ片想い)”. On the same year, one member withdrew, which resulted in auditions being held in order to recruit new members. Two members joined the group in November 2015. They were Takahashi Yuka (高橋祐香) and Hashimoto Inori (橋本一愛). However, Yuka-san needed to quit the group in February 2016 since she committed a serious breach of contract.
The group’s aim is to give every chubby girl a chance to become an idol who can actually sing and dance. Some of the things that they do are hold live events, appear in dramas, and liven up food festivals. These things are made possible with the help and support of the people around them, especially their fans.
Though being chubby is increasingly becoming common in the country nowadays, if you are chubby and going to a clothing store, you will somehow still be stared at. Sometimes, you may even encounter some rudeness. If you take up a lot of room in stores, you will get strange looks from strangers. If your butt knocks something off the racks, people will give you a dirty look. This may actually seem odd in the country that gave birth to sumo (相撲), but be also aware that this may be used as a joke against you.
However, if you show eagerness to lose weight, people might just be willing to help you. They will greatly encourage you and make you feel good. Some people may even touch your belly as a friendly gesture. There’s no offense as these sometimes happen to skinny people, too.
Losing weight in Japan could be easy depending on your determination to succeed. You can start doing daily exercises or incorporate walking to your daily commute to school or work. You have to keep a healthy diet and count your calories if you want to keep your weight normal. However, there is no need to pressure yourself into losing weight. Just like anything else, take it one step at a time.
The idol group competition in Japan is tough. Most members of these groups focus on becoming slimmer or getting a better figure to be noticed. The country has the lowest obesity rate in the world and the number of underweight women is increasing.
In order to stir away from the common features people look for in idol members, Pottya took a different turn. Their approach is centered on working with chubby girls who are using their cheeky cuteness in order to combat prejudice against obesity.
As most people know, heavy people are the target of certain derogatory words. They are often called “lazy” and are judged for having “no self-discipline.” Pottya members are hoping that this kind of stereotype will diminish. They’d like to show the world that becoming an idol doesn’t require one to be as physically fit as possible, and that chubby people can actually work hard, too. They wanted to shake up the idol world using their heaviness, which they maintain by eating high-calorie food. Their usual menu consists of food such as noodles, rice, chicken, potatoes, and the like which are all fried. Despite their weight, they look so lively with their plus-size bodies moving and dancing.
Ever since Pottya’s formation, they’ve already gained a handful of chubby male and female followers. The group remains to be an inspiration to overweight people who have been bullied since childhood. They are actually selling themselves as chubby which provides a lot of hope and courage to the heavy fans.
Pottya is a unique idol group aiming to help all the chubby people out there to stand out. Though they started out as a quirky joke, they were able to manage their goals as a group. They also help in combatting bullying which is rampant in Japan these days. With their efforts, many chubby people can now go out in public to interact and mingle feeling less insecure. They can now express themselves without being judged by their appearances.
So if you’re chubby or getting bigger, don’t lose hope. There’s still a reason to smile and be proud of your body. There’s no need to rely on excessive dieting to satisfy society’s emphasis on being slim. However, take note that eating healthy food still plays a huge role in living life fully. Even with a heavy weight, you may be able to entertain the world. For the chubby boys and girls out there, be proud to show your cheeky cuteness!
You can watch Pottya’s debut song, “Po・Po・Po・Pocha Rinko☆,” here:
Pottya Official Website *Japanese only