- Cult image, a neutral term for a man-made object that is worshipped or venerated for the deity, spirit or demon that it embodies or represents
- Murti, a point of focus for devotion or meditation in Hindu and Buddhist religion (not always man-made)
- Idol (philosophy), one of several concepts developed by various philosophers
In pop music entertainment, an idol refers to an entertainer, generally from their teens to mid-20s, whose image and attractiveness are marketed to maintain a close relationship and financial loyalty with fans
- Chinese idol, a younger entertainer active in the Chinese entertainment industry
- Japanese idol, a younger entertainer active in the Japanese entertainment industry
- AV idol, a Japanese adult video star
- Junior idol, a Japanese entertainer generally under the age of 15
- Net idol, a Japanese entertainer mostly known as an Internet personality
- Korean idol, a younger entertainer active in the South Korean entertainment industry
- Taiwanese idol, a younger entertainer active in the Taiwanese entertainment industry
- Teen idol
- Matinée idol, an adored film or theater star
An idol (アイドル, aidoru) is a type of entertainer marketed for image, attractiveness, and personality in Japanese pop culture. Idols are primarily singers with training in acting, dancing, and modeling. Idols are commercialized through merchandise and endorsements by talent agencies, while maintaining a parasocial relationship with a passionate consumer fan base.
Japan's idol industry first emerged in the 1960s and became prominent in the 1970s and 1980s due to television. During the 1980s, regarded as the "Golden Age of Idols", idols drew in commercial interest and began appearing in commercials and television dramas. As more niche markets began to appear in the late 2000s and early 2010s, it led to a significant growth in the industry known as the "Idol Warring Period." Today, over 10,000 teenage girls in Japan are idols, with over 3,000 groups active. Japan's idol industry has been used as a model for other pop idol industries, such as K-pop.
Sub-categories of idols include gravure idols, junior idols, net idols, idol voice actors, virtual idols, AV idols, Akiba-kei idols, local idols, and Japanese-Korean idols.