I doubt anyone of you reading this doesn’t know つんく♂ (Tsunku) and no, don’t ask me why he has the male gender symbol at the end of his name. But for those who really have no idea who this person in need of validation of his gender identity is, he is the former vocalist of シャ乱Q (Sharan-Q) and the producer of モーニング娘。 (Morning Musume) and Berryz 工房 (Berryz Kobo).
Recently, a number of things have come to light, which kind of made me think what he does is not pretty. On the other hand, as a business person, he is brilliant.
Given the popularity of Morning Musume (a.k.a. Momusu) since their first formation, it would probably make sense to think that the girls are filthy rich but an appearance of one of my favourite former Momusu members, 市井紗耶香 (Ichii Sayaka) on AKB48 variety program, ガチガセ (Gachi Gase) revealed that during their prime, she only drew 120,000 yen a month, which is barely SGD$2000. The reason is because they do not receive royalties. Not from their CD/DVD sales. Not from their merchandise. Not from their commericial appearances. In the contract they signed with Tsunku, they get fixed monthly salaries regardless of the billions they rake in, which only reveals how much money Tsunku has been making.
To fight the AKB syndrome, Tsunku recently opened an idol cafe in (where else but) 秋葉原 (Akihabara) which works like a crossover of a maid cafe and 秋元康 (Akimoto Yasushi)’s AKB concept. Staff in the cafe are dressed in schoolgirl uniform ala AKB48 and customers play the role of producers. These customers get to vote the most popular member and the top girl would get to appear in all media coverages of the cafe but regardless of their position, they get paid 1000 yen/hour (approximately SGD$15). Shrewd.
On a random note, he recently took his daughter to the doctors when the doctor said, “You are so adorable you’ll make it into AKB48 when you grow up!”