With every band comes a loyal following. With most, if fortunate, there is an inner circle of hard-core support. For a chosen few elite, there are ‘Superfans’, otaku-esque followers who spend every waking minute and every available resource buying, borrowing and stealing every record, t-shirt and piece of memorabilia related to their chosen idols. But few bands have any followers so exceptionally dedicated and steeped in the delicate art of the emulation of their heroes as Hiyo Chan, Babymetal Megafan.
Renowned and revered the world over by Babymetal fans as an icon of the bands following and a symbol of their success and popular support, Hiyo has been featured in many western publications and websites and is an icon of the Kawaii Metal scene in many western fan groups. Always dedicated and even traveling as far afield from her native Tokyo as Knebworth, Great Britain to see the band totally lay waste to the Sonisphere festival last year ,Hiyo (or HIYOMETAL )has become synonymous with and a figurehead of the movement known as the Metal Resistance, a colloquialism for which BM fans are known as both in Japan and worldwide.
Hiyo is always immaculately turned out in replica costumes made famous by the bands videos, created with painstaking attention to detail, and though her age might appear to some to belie her musical IQ, she is a fearsomely competent performer in her own right.
Far from any normal superfan, Hiyo is famous across Japan and much further afield as a talented and very agile vocalist and dancer, appearing regularly on her own Youtube channel performing pitch-perfect renditions of Babymetal songs accompanied with live guitar from her father (Tanaka san), not to mention faithfully assembled step-for-step choreography of all dance sequences from the original videos, blasted through, uncut and unedited, in one take. Hiyo also performs Sakura Gakuin numbers and other popular idol music in a similar and inimitable fashion. She has been earmarked by many to one day be a potential member of Babymetal and/or Sakura Gakuin and on this evidence, it is difficult to disagree she has the raw materials to make it big in Japan’s ever growing idol scene.
Upon a recent visit to Tokyo, I was lucky enough to be able to meet and hang out with Hiyo and friends for an evening of food and Babymetal chatter and found her to be extremely charming, engaging and full of life, always energetic and entertaining for everybody at the restaurant. Despite the obvious language barrier, we got along great and I was even given a souvenir by Hiyo-chan of our time together, see if you can spot her impression of me from the picture below. Personally i think it’s spot on. Maybe with just a little less less hair :/
Check out Hiyo’s channel at the link below!