When it comes to idol groups in Japan, good ol’ music just doesn’t cut it anymore. They’ve got to throw in an additional gimmick or two, just to standout among the massive competition. And Hamburgirl Z is doing just that – it’s the world’s only hamburger-themed girl band!
In the words of Japanese culture blogger Tofugu, the new West Japan band is a “group of cute, smiling girls dancing and singing in hamburger costumes. Their sole purpose is to serenade hamburger lovers, by singing only about, well, burgers.
The girls are dressed like different hamburger ingredients – there’s beef, lettuce, egg, tomato, fish, chicken, onion, pork/bacon, avocado, pineapple, and even eggplant. There are a total of 15 members in the band sporting 14 ingredients. They perform at a variety of events across West Japan, and sell merchandise after the concert is over.
Photo: Hamburgirl Z
Tofugu writes that all Hamburgirl Z songs have “catchy rhythms and upbeat melodies,” but points out that their singing ability is rather mediocre, which she thinks is true of most idol groups. That doesn’t seem to affect their popularity, though. “The idol craze in Japan is a whole other animal,” she writes.
“Fans become part of the event by shouting along to the music. And, they don’t attend these events with the sole purpose of watching a group of commendable, charming, and kind-hearted girls sing and dance to catchy music. Instead, it’s a chance for them to let go and put on a performance of their own by singing, dancing, and cheering on the idols that are just a few feet in front of them.”
Shintaro Yabu, the band’s producer, told Tofugu Hamburgirl Z was pretty much started on a whim. “I work not only as their producer, but also as the chairman of the Nishi-Nihon Hamburger Kyoukai (West Japan Hamburger Association),” he said. “In March of 2013, the Association of Awajishima Hamburgers and NHK came together to create the world’s first burger idol group called ‘Awajishima Hamburgirl.’ The group was to be the singing, dancing support for the hamburgers of Awajishima Island.”
They named the group Awajishima Hamburgirl back then, and it had only three members to begin with. But when they left, five new girls were chosen, and with the new members came a new image. That’s when they changed the name to ‘Awajishima Hamburgirl Z’. “Soon after, we grew beyond the island of Awajishima, and the group’s name changed once again, this time to ‘Nishi-Nihon (West Japan) Hamburgirl Z’,” he said. “In April 2015 six more girls joined and we became the group you know and love today.”
They’re now planning to expand the group to cover the rest of Japan as well. For now, their concerts are held every weekend in Tsutenkaku, a well known landmark in Osaka, and they attend special events as well. They also stream a live podcast on Showroom, and create special Hamburgirl Z hamburgers at select hamburger shops.
In the words of one of the girls, “All Humburgirl Z songs are full of love for hamburgers. We want to have people of all generations interested in hamburgers. We truly love hamburgers, and we want everyone else to love them too.”