With the impact of COVID-19 coronavirus still very much being felt across the globe, a huge number of industries have been impacted, from transportation to restaurants and far beyond. To combat this, many campaigns have launched to help those affected weather the storm, including Cheki in the Time of Coronavirus which is offering a fun way for foreign fans to support some of their favorite Japanese music groups by buying special cheki from a variety of artists from J-pop and idol groups to Visual Kei and J-rock. Don’t know what cheki are? Read on to learn more about cheki and the Cheki in the Time of Coronavirus project organized by Chaotic Harmony Imports!
Otaku Dictionary Mini: What are Cheki?
In short, cheki are “instant photos” that are named after the sound of the FujiFilm Instax cameras that take them and the English words “check it”. They are quite similar to Polaroid cameras and have become trendy again in recent years thanks to their ease of use, charming retro style, and the feeling of intimacy the photos capture.
Within the context of the Japanese music scene, cheki can be a big part of the experience of going to a concert (usually called a live) where they are usually included as a bonus for buying a certain amount of CDs and goods or just sold by themselves. You can meet the artists and take a cheki together or get various pre-made cheki and many are also signed and/or doodled on by the artists. Since each one is unique, cheki are very popular as collector’s items and mementos with super-fans filling photobooks full of their favorites.
What is the Cheki in the Time of Coronavirus Project?
Organized by Chaotic Harmony Imports, a small American company that specializes in organizing events and helping international fans get goods from visual kei and other niche Japanese musical groups, Cheki in the Time of Coronavirus is a special pre-order event not only supporting a variety of musical artists but also their management, staff, and everyone else involved with shows that are facing a huge loss of income with the wave of cancellations to slow the spread of Covid-19. We talked to Chaotic Harmony staff directly for more information on the project, which we’ve summarized below.
Timeline: Pre-orders are set to run from April 15-30, expected ship date is TBA.
Pricing*: $10 (random + signed), $12 (signed), $15 (signed + personalized) + shipping
*Some groups are also offering group discounts.
Revenue Split: Regardless of price point, artists receive 700 yen per cheki and the remainder is split with the industry professionals helping the project.
For specifics and the latest artist list, please see the Chaotic Harmony official page at https://www.chaotic-harmony.net/news/2020/4/14/cheki-in-the-time-of-coronavirus
Organizing The Campaign
For some context, the Japanese music industry is somewhat unique in that it hasn’t been swallowed up by internet streaming yet and, under normal circumstances, it still sees robust CD sales and has a thriving live music scene that allows even niche artists to succeed. While normally a strength, these factors obviously are heavily impacted by current lockdown efforts. As Chaotic Harmony put it, “We saw that a lot of the artists were becoming unable to perform, both inside and outside of Japan, with shows being canceled on a mass level.” which was the inspiration for Cheki in the Time of Coronavirus. “We wanted to do something that supports the industry, even if it only helps a little.”
As a small company currently being run by only two people, organizing the campaign has been “a really big undertaking” on top of their usual work of event planning and running their store and YouTube channel. However, making the project a success is an international effort that meant going beyond people and groups they’ve already worked with. As their staff explains, “We reached out to a couple of Japanese industry professionals who are not directly affiliated with Chaotic Harmony who agreed to help us organize it by finding artists and getting the items together to send to America. Since these people are also integral to the industry, we wanted to do something that would support multiple facets.”
Response So Far and Special Message
One day after the event started, over $5,000 had already been raised and is expected to increase much more over time! Chaotic Harmony also gave us a special message to share with our readers:
“We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who is supporting this project. Our customer base has gone incredibly far beyond our expectations and we're really humbled by the experience. We love this industry from the bottom of our hearts and hope the music that unites us all can come out even stronger in the end.”
They also told us that there's a possibility that they will extend the pre-order deadline if a lot of people are still interested but need more time and are also still waiting on a couple of groups to finalize their participation so be sure to check their website and social media channels for updates!
Although there are still many challenges ahead, we’re happy to see campaigns like Cheki in the Time of Coronavirus bring fans together to support their favorite artists and the industry professionals that help create the vibrant music scene that many of us cherish. Having covered some of the participating groups here on Honey’s before, we hope we can now bring attention to this project and urge our readers to check out the campaign and let other fans know! Feel free to leave us a comment below and be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, visual kei, idols, and otherwise! Until next time, rock on~!