Diffused Religion : The Religiosity of BABYMETAL
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The world of metal music was at an interesting point in the late 2000s and early 2010s, but that is not to say it was dying or lacking in volume. Simply put, these years marked the creation of a band that would push forward the ways in which metal bands are thought about as well as create something the music world, in general, has never seen before. The band I speak of is BABYMETAL. To best understand what this group is and why it will be important to look at I will provide a brief history of the band from its inception until the present moment. In 2010, entertainment company Amuse Inc. from Japan was looking to create a new metal band, something that blended genres and changed perceptions of what was traditionally thought of as metal music. In order to accomplish this, they selected three young girls who would adopt the monikers Sumetal, Moametal, and Yuimetal.1 The company immediately got to work developing music for the girls to sing and dance along to. This resulted in the first single, “Doki Doki Morning,” being released internationally in 2011 to some success.2 The band would feature its largest boost in popularity upon the release of the single "Gimme Chocolate," which was released internationally in 2013.3 From this moment onward the band featured a relative international success and in turn, the next few years of BABYMETAL’s existence continued relatively uneventfully, releasing two albums and touring Japan and abroad. Then prior to the release of their third album the band saw a variety of unfortunate events occur in 2018, key among them being the death of one of the instrumentalists, and the departure of Yuimetal from the band due to health concerns.4 5 Now with questions to be answered and needing to recover from the loss of these members the band continued to tour with just two members before adding a group of backup dancers that cycled through each show to replace Yuimetal. Despite these hardships, the band released its third album and has remained successful in maintaining a fan base. That brings us to the present day where after a couple of years of near silence the band has announced a new album and set of singles to be released. That is a simple history of the musical undertakings of BABYMETAL as they worked to establish themselves as a legitimate metal phenomenon within the modern world of music. However, it illuminates very little as to what BABYMETAL truly is. The enigma that is BABYMETAL is a world of fusion and ambiguity. When exploring the productions of BABYMETAL one can see the ways in which religion manifests. These religiously adjacent aspects of the band are varied and appear often. To understand the religious importance of BABYMETAL it is important to also understand how religion and its traditions have developed and manifested within a modernized society. Particularly, the world of BABYMETAL works together with concepts of lived and diffused religion that allows the band to create religious moments without designating themselves as a religious body. Particularly, looking at scholars work on how religion has diffused within modern society can be useful to better understanding BABYMETAL. The ways in which BABYMETAL approaches and uses religion can be ascribed to concepts of diffused religion.