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Just announced on Tsunku♂’s blog: Tanpopo and Pucchi Moni to be revived!
But wait! All is not as simple as it seems!
[Translation (my own attempt; may contain errors): We will have a revived Tanpopo, a revived Pucchi Moni。, and others.]
Note the placement of the full stop (。 ) after “Pucchi Moni” (プッチモニ。) in a sentence-medial position. Clearly, Tsunku♂ is labeling the group Pucchi Moni。 and not Pucchi Moni, as it has always been known:
Indeed, out of all of H!P’s Musume/Moni groups (which also include Morning Musume。, Country Musume。, Coconuts Musume。, Mini Moni。, and Eco Moni。), Pucchi Moni has been the sole group whose name fails to feature a final full-stop flourish. While the significance of this distinguishing mark (or lack thereof) is a matter for further debate, one thing is for certain: H!P’s fastidiousness toward preserving proper punctuation (however idiosyncratic and unorthodox it may be), extending even to romanizations of group names (as can be seen, for example, in every official printing of the name Morning Musume。—always a Japanese-style full stop, never a Latin one (.)—in sharp contrast to the omitting of the full stop by most fans who use the romanized form), reflects a continued commitment to a program of punctuational purity.
In light of this, it is improbable that Tsunku♂’s shocking use of the full stop in this latest post arose out of sloppiness. No, this is nothing short of intentional, subversive, unadulterated blasphemy!
TSUNKU♂! WHY ARE YOU PUTTING A STOP TO PUCCHI MONI WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO RESTART IT?
Ah, but perhaps Tsunku♂ is trying to tell us something here…. Maybe this is some kind of hidden message! Maybe Tsunku♂ is being held captive by mysterious entities that want to revive Pucchi Moni for their own nefarious purposes! Or maybe this is just a glimpse of some enormous revolutionary Hello! Project restructuring currently in the works and under wraps! Maybe Tsunku♂ is planning to add even more crazy symbols to names in places where they don’t belong! Or maybe … maybe …
Oh, the possibilities are endless!
[EDIT: Apparently Tsunku♂ has now removed the stop from both instances of “Pucchi Moni” in the linked post. Very suspicious.]
I. Tsunku: The Enigma
If one follows the development and output of Hello! Project, one is likely well acquainted with Tsunku, the Producer:
Of course, Tsunku does not produce everything in Hello! Project, nor is his work limited only to production. A prolific lyricist and composer, he is also responsible for writing most of Hello! Project’s songs. One need only scan any recent (Tsunku-produced) Hello! Project release to see Tsunku’s name emblazoned across the front cover, acknowledging his role in producing the record. In addition, on the interior of the liner notes, one may often see both the lyrics and composition of the tracks attributed to Tsunku, his name rising elegantly above the very words he has penned.
Indeed, let us journey together, dear reader, through the experience of gazing upon Tsunku’s name as it appears on the Berryz Koubou single “VERY BEAUTY”, selected arbitrarily as a typical example of a Tsunku production.
Observe in particular how the three simple hiragana strokes (つんく) are embellished with a Mars symbol (♂), prominently displayed yet not intended to be pronounced. An interesting touch, otherwise attributable to Tsunku’s idiosyncratic whims but for the fact that this name appears differently on the interior:
Here the Mars symbol is noticeably absent. One might dismiss this as a mere typographical error, but closer examination of other recent Tsunku productions reveals that the Mars symbol is consistently missing from the lyrics and composition credits while present on the cover production credits.
One might fancy the notion that behind the “Tsunku” nom de plume lies a team of two individuals, one a producer and the other a lyricist and composer, differentiated only by the presence or absence of the Mars symbol. While there is some merit to this possibility, one must consider the history of this peculiar symbol as it is displayed on the covers of Tsunku-produced releases over the ages. In particular, one must note that early Hello! Project releases credit Tsunku as producer without the Mars symbol.
Immediately some pertinent questions arise: At which point did Tsunku the producer begin adopting the Mars symbol as an essential feature of his pseudonym? Did he consistently omit the symbol prior to this point, and has he consistently included it since then? And perhaps most importantly, why are there two Tsunkus now when once there was but one?
Speculation about Tsunku’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation aside (to be addressed in due time), let us examine in detail, dear reader, the evolution of this name, in hopes that such an endeavour may uncover heretofore unacknowledged clues to illuminate this enigmatic figure and to guide us in dissecting this mystery.