#NoDangoNoParty: Behind The Hashtag

First, I want to thank all the fans on the Momoiro Clover Z Overseas Facebook fan page for their support — particularly Angela and Jake who believed in the campaign even before I did. They are the backbone of this campaign.

I’ve been following the Japanese group, Momoiro Clover Z, or “Momoclo” for over a year now. Since that fateful day of binge-watching Sailor Moon Crystal episodes, I’ve come to really appreciate and admire the magical ladies of Momoiro Clover Z. As someone who spent a decade covering, promoting, and developing various acts, it’s so refreshing to see young women who not only seem to enjoy themselves but they seem to genuinely care about each other. It’s always so beautiful to see their love and support for one another. It’s their seemingly genuine friendship that not only binds me to the group but to the individuals themselves.

Since becoming a fan, I’ve not only become attached to the Momoclo brand and its irresistible energy and power but I’ve become emotionally invested in the individual girls themselves. I genuinely want them to develop into the international superstars that I know they can be and I’m genuinely concerned about their well-being. Who knew 5 Japanese girls could win over a recovering American music critic like me? Yet here I am — emotional putty when it comes to this group. Anyway, when I learned that one of the members, Momoka Ariyasu, was sick, I was a bit heartbroken. I was heartbroken at the thought of Momoka missing Folkmura (Think: MTV Unplugged). Her solos are not only the highlight of my month but Folkmura is my favorite music program. Moreover, beyond the thought of a Momoka-less Folkmura, I was genuinely heartbroken for her.

I’ve seen a lot of performers but not many display the same joy and appreciation for music and performance like Momoka. For someone so young, she knows how to pull at your heartstrings with emotional performances. She sings with so much soul and conviction that she can move even non-Japanese fans (Her Bette Midler cover still makes me tear up). Beyond her innate gift, she obviously loves to sing and she seems to cherish every moment on stage so I could only imagine how she must’ve felt at the thought of another setback — illness. Consequently, from genuine concern and sympathy for Momoka, #NoDangoNoParty was born.

In the beginning of the ‘campaign’, the hashtag summed up the sentiment of myself and many other fans in the heat of the revelation. We were saddened by the news of her sickness. We were worried about Momoka. We wished her a speedy recovery and we wanted to show her that we love and support her. Twitter seemed like the appropriate medium. #NoDangoNoParty seemed like the hashtag that displayed both our affection and our support for Momoka. It worked for us. However, as more people starting using the hashtag, #NoDangoNoParty became something much bigger.

As news of Momoka’s sickness and subsequent recovery spread throughout Twitter, thousands of fans across the world displayed their love and support for the campaign and of course, Momoka herself. Apparently, it even trended in Japan. Moreover, #NoDangoNoParty united and continues to unite fans across all demographics. Even now, fans from all around the world interact and share their mutual love and support for Momoka and Momoclo. It’s remarkable and incredibly touching.

Although the objective of hashtag was to simply show support and appreciation for Momoka, #NoDangoNoParty has transformed into something more meaningful. It represents the universality of music and its ability to deconstruct linguistic and geographical barriers. Even if the message doesn’t reach Momoka and or any of the other members of Momoclo for that matter (though our stubbornness won’t allow defeat), it touched so many people and it helped bridge the gap among fans. After all, isn’t that what life is about — celebrating and embracing our similarities rather than fussing over our differences?

Furthermore, whether Momoka gets the message or not, it is an honor and pleasure to interact with so many people around the world and I hope we can maintain such open dialogue well beyond #NoDangoNoParty.

Thanks to all the fans across the world for participating in the #NoDangoNoParty campaign.

Let’s keep it going!

  • The tag reached Momoka. She used the tag for a blog post.