This chapter focuses on discourse about idols as representative of Japanese music and media, and ultimately of "Japan" itself. It discusses idols across three sections, which deal with three aspects of idols. First, idols are part of a system of media and commodities that generates desire. Second, because idols appeal to fans, they are increasingly important to production and advertising agencies looking to court audiences and consumers in fragmented markets. Third, idols appeal not only to fans in Japan, but also to fans outside Japan. Since the 1990s, idols have been part of a regional popular culture in urban centers in East and Southeast Asia. Instead, the idol is judged strictly as a singer or dancer – and found to be lacking in comparison to supposedly superior performers from other parts of the world. The chapter concludes with a discussion of some of the limitations of Japanese idols in global circulation.