親の七光[oya no nanahikari]

September 25, 2007 at 12:42 pm (general, slang)


 I have been so busy lately, and things don’t seem to settle down…I don’t have much time to post. I am sorry about this. Having said that, I didn’t miss Tokyo Game Show.

 Well, I am quite curious about this kind of thing often happens abroad. In the anime Ookiku furikabutte, the protagonist Ren Mihashi who had previously held the position of ace pitcher in his middle school’s baseball team, but only due to the fact that his grandfather owns the school…In other words, he has a connection with something that gives him a better chance than anyone else. Yes, we Japanese say コネ[kone] which derives from connection though it doesn’t sound good. When I was a student at university, a lot of career advisors used to say like “The more connection you have, the better” or something like that. (Seriously, I couldn’t believe how they could say like that in front of all the students?) At any rate, how many connections you have could give you so much possibility…Yes, in Japan the great power works so well. In Ren’s case, the reason why he used to be rejected by his teammates is not only the fact he has a connection, but also the real him…so eventually they were jealous of him.

 In this way, コネ makes it easier to start something. But even if it comes to pass, it might matter to you somehow…like Ren. Having said that, I think I have seen so many people who got famous just because of コネ, especially in the entertainment industry such as Koutaro Koizumi(Japan’s ex-prime minister’s son), Hikaru Utada(the singer Keiko Fuji’s daughter), or Mari Sekine( the comedian Tsutomu Sekine’s daughter), Emiri Henmi(the singer Mari Henmi’s daughter), Shouko Kitano(the filmmaker Takeshi Kitano’s daughter), and so on. Just because he/she is the son/daughter of someone who is a great celebrity, they can get into the same industry as parents…this is what’s called, 親の光は七光り[oya no hikari wa nanahikari, “one’s parent’s coattail“]. The more common form should be abbriviated as 親の七光[oya no nanahikari].  Literally, I could translated it as parent’s light has seven layers (correct me if I am wrong). But why seven? I quickly investigated, and the number Seven stands for such a strong great power, so seven itself is not so meaningful…

 I am not saying that all of above celebrities are doing good. Even though some of them made a debut thanks to 親の七光, the glory didn’t last so long…For example, Shouko Kitano made a debut as a singer at the age of 15, and her first song was composed by Yoshiki(the ex-leader of X-Japan). However, she could only release two songs. Even her first album didn’t come out. Meanwhile, Hikaru Utada still keeps working because she is a talented singer although she has a connection with music industry. After all, unless he/she is quite something, they can’t survive so long…though even now this still happens.

 What about in your country? Does this kind of thing happen so often?




  1. w said,

    I can’t think of a country where this wouldn’t ever happen! In Singapore everyone might say the biggest example of “kone” is with our very own prime ministers… our prime minister (turned senior minister turned ministor mentor – doesn’t seem to let go of it), Mr. Lee Kwan Yew, is the father of our current prime minister Mr. Lee Hsien Loong. Some might tell you he got there because he was LKY’s son. People like to think it’s a dynastic sort of thing (there’s other stuff like LKY’s daugher-in-law heading an important company and so on).

    In my own school I knew one person who couldn’t have gotten in if it wasn’t for her mother being an important person in the school alumni or something like that. This happens so often.

  2. bi said,

    Oh, this happens very often here in Italy as well.
    Especially in professions like doctor, notary or magistrates. If you’re the son of someone in those professions, you’ll have your way to a brillian career, while if you don’t have any connection, it’ll be impossible fo you to enter those worlds.

  3. bangin said,

    w-dono&bi: I see…so it happens everywhere. In Japan, it really happens especially in the entertainment industry, artistic or political world.

    Ryoma Echizen in Prince of Tennis doesn’t seem to be hated by his other teammates though he is the son of the great tennis player, Nanjiro (I don’t remember whether other Seigaku players know about Ryoma’s father). Because he is also such a talented player that no one else don’t reject him. But Ren is also a good pitcher, though. Oh, poor Ren.

  4. Neohybrid_kai said,

    Well, here in growing country like mine (Indonesia) it happens too. Especially in politic field, though its considered against the law. In industries, if you have a family connection you’ll have easy way ahead (sometimes you can make a new connection just by saying that you’re Mr.someone’s friend or family). It works on the artistic fields too. Though I agree that its just helps you with the first step, the rest is up to you.

    In general, the rule in society here is, if you have a common interest with your family’s bussiness, you’ll have an easy path to walk. You start with more connection and facilities than the other. Problem is that some people have other desire than what the family wants, and in a growing country sometimes just a great will-power isn’t enough because people around you would label you as family-outcast when you “create your own way” out of your family dream. Yeah, its kind of depressing.

  5. bangin said,

    Oh I see…I think I have seen something like this before…A son of the big doctor family is forced to success the hospital in the future, but he doesn’t want to do that so he elopes with his girlfriend to start a new life.

    Ah, this is an old-fashioned shoujo manga plot! (゜д゜)

  6. Avplaya said,

    In this US, the use of this connection sometimes not obvious, as nepotism is often frowned upon, but it happens all the time. Children of people who went to Harvard, for example, will be admitted first even if they might not have good grades. Kids of CEOs sometimes sit on the Board of Directors of major companies a few years out of college. Children and WIFE of politicians usually get to become one as well, even when the child is highly unqualified (Sr and Junior Bush). It happens everywhere but people won’t want to talk about it because instead of the Hypocritical nature of American society. If it doesn’t sound good, people will just keep doing it without talking about it.

    Do you think Koutaro Koizumi sustained his fame due to his dad? I thought it was pretty decent as an actor and, well, cute enough for some girls. I think people like him may get a START due to their 親の光は七光り, but if they suck, the market has no pity on them. If Hikki doesn’t write good songs and doesn’t sing well, I really don’t think the Japanese audience care who her dad is. ^^

  7. bangin said,

    When 小泉孝太郎 made a debut, I still remember he showed up in a commercial advertisement of beer. His acting wasn’t so nice that most people thought he could make a debut because of his dad. Even some owarai-geinins used to joke his acting…Since then, he must have been brushing up his acting. Though he doesn’t take the lead so much, he goes on being a supporting character. He is such an ikemen, so I think he should learn more, or he could be a good actor. ^^

    Hikki’s mother, Keiko Fuji wasn’t very popular when she was young. I must say the real Hikki doesn’t seem to have anything to do with her mom. Most people don’t seem to say 親の七光 to her, I assume. ^^

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