Johnny’s Talk: Why do I love Johnny’s?

Recently, I have been asked by some readers how and why I became interested in Johnny’s and I decided to write down some of my thoughts.

Tegomass no Mahou - Kobe, December 2011

Tegomass no Mahou – Kobe, December 2011

Starting in December, I have reached the point in my life where I am transitioning from school to a full time job and it isn’t the easiest transition. During this transition though, I have been really taking the time to think about why I love the things that I do and prioritizing my time accordingly. As most of you know, Johnny’s is something that I have loved since I was in my first year of University and I have just grown to love it even more over the years and since I have moved to Japan. Why do I love Johnny’s so much? Why do I dedicate so much time to something seemingly just taking my money? I will be explaining some reasons why I love Johnny’s in this post.

Johnny’s makes me smile. Plain and simple as that. Every time I listen to Johnny’s music (which is everyday) I smile. It gives me energy to start my day and calms me down when I am having a bad day. It’s just me and the music at that time. I also have many memories connected to the music and when a particular song comes on; memories of that time in my life flood back and make me smile. Now this can be true of almost any music, but Johnny’s is the music that I have relate the most to.

It’s not just the music that makes me smile, but seeing the boys that I support on TV, doing various projects, working their hardest and seeing them do amazing things makes me happy too. It makes me want to strive and work harder because I see them doing their best in a cut-throat environment and they still smile through it all, but at the same time are close to the fans. They aren’t perfect and can show their more vulnerable side and we know they are human.

Johnny’s gives me someone to support and grow with. After many years of loving Johnny’s, I have settled into whom in the agency I like the most and support the most. For me, that is mostly NEWS, with some other groups that I go and support; mostly the “You and J” groups, which consists of Kanjani8, NEWS, and KAT-TUN. Most of my favorite Johnny’s are not much older than me, normally between 25 and just over 30 years old. Throughout the years, I feel like I have grown with them and seen them accomplish more and more as we all grew towards our dreams. I know it sounds cheezy, but these boys (or I should say men) do amazing things and it makes me want to do amazing things as well. When I see their concerts and performances I am blown away by the quality and the hard work that is put into it. They might not be the most talented people in the entire industry, but you can tell that they work hard, and that is what matters to me. They don’t grow and fit one mold of Johnny’s; they all break off and do what they love to do. Take my favorite group NEWS for example: Koyama is a newscaster, and is an anchor for the news program News Every. Tegoshi loves soccer and is doing work directly related to it, even becoming a main caster for the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Massu loves fashion and now has his own column in a fashion magazine and designs the NEWS tour costumes. Shige wasn’t amazing at literature when he was younger, but he has already written 3 novels and many short stories and is Johnny’s first novel author. Once again, seeing them do amazing things makes me want to do amazing things as well and push myself harder. The best part is that there is a group for everyone to enjoy and there is such a variety of talent in Johnny’s.

Johnny’s lets me be a part of a fandom of amazing fans and being a part of something bigger than just me. Fandom is an amazing thing. I wouldn’t be the person today if it wasn’t for the people that I met through the Johnny’s fandom. Some of my closest friends I have made through this fandom and the experiences of traveling and meeting people from all around the world, are priceless. Fandom isn’t perfect by any means, but it is a mesh pot of amazing people from all around the world coming together that love the same thing. This isn’t just on the internet, but when I go to concerts and I look at the crowd waving their penlights in unison in support of that group, it moves me and I realize I am not alone in what I love. Concerts are one of my greatest joys to attend because I get to interact with fellow fans and I get to see the Johnny’s that I support in person and show my support, even if only I am 1 in thousands.

Tegomassu no Seishun - Fukuoka

Tegomassu no Seishun – Fukuoka, April 2014

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Kanjani8  Jyuusai – Osaka,  August 2014

Last, but not least, Johnny’s gave me a dream. Anime and Manga started me off on my love for Japan, but it wasn’t real to me after a while. When I found Johnny’s, I found a whole new culture and it opened the world to me. I never thought I would want to live in Japan before I entered University, but when I found Johnny’s I wanted to understand what they said, and I wanted to learn more about the Japanese culture. I dived head first into learning Japanese and studied business, and I eventually moved to Japan, then I wrote my business graduate school thesis on the business of Johnny’s. They gave me the motivation to move overseas, away from my family, to open my mind and push myself out of my comfort zone. I realized recently that the thing that I love the most is making people happy and giving them hope in a world that doesn’t do that well. Johnny’s does that for me and lets me find that about myself. From here on out I will be searching for exactly how I want to do it, but I know entertainment and Johnny’s is something that does that for me, along with Japanese Fashion and Music in general. I want to harness what Johnny’s does and let people understand that Johnny’s is more than just pretty boys dancing and singing.

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I hope you all enjoyed this insight into some of my thoughts recently! Why do you like Johnny’s? What makes you happy? Have you found your dream and what is it? Please comment below to let me what you think!

Review: NEWS – KAGUYA

KaguyaKAGUYA is NEWS’s first single of 2015 released on January 7th, and they came out with a bang! The theme of this single was “Princess Kaguya”, which is a famous story in Japan called “Princess Kaguya – The tale of the Bamboo Cutter”. It made it to the #1 spot on the Oricon weekly charts and stayed in the top 3 throughout January. Famous Director Ninagawa Mika directed the Music Video and did the Cover Jacket shooting.

The Songs

KAGUYA

KAGUYA is an “epic love song” that is a perfect combination between modern and ancient; the overall sound is modern with a combination of old sounds and old style lyrics infused into it. I love the echo of “Saga, Saga” in the background of chorus! The lyrics have a poetic feel to them, written in the perspective of the men who loved Princess Kaguya. The song is quite sexy, but in a subtle way, really showing NEWS’s grown up and sensual side. The song follows the story of Princess Kaguya, in which there are 4 princes that are invited to the home of the princess to try and become her husband, and they instantly fall in love with her.

Butterfly 「バタフライ」

The first time I heard this song I thought, “This is very much a NEWS-like song”. The vocals are very sweet and is a typical NEWS-like love song. I love the piano in it combined with the soft guitar. The part Koyama sings before the chorus starting with “Anata” each time is just so heartfelt and sweet and the harmonization of NEWS’s voices when they sing “Butterfly” is just amazing.

“Wasurenagusa” (Forget-me-not) 勿忘草」

The melody of this song, combined with the piano, reminded me of TM Revolution’s “Thunderbird”, which Tegomass had performed together with him on Music Fair before. This song is short, but very heart wrenchingly beautiful. This song surprised me because it sounds more like a Tegomass song than a NEWS song, but the vocals, especially Shige’s, are amazing for this song.

TOP OF THE WORLD

This is a very upbeat, dubstep-electronic like song. It’s not hard-core dub-step like Kanjani 8’s “Sorry Sorry Love”, but it is more of a lighter electronic dub-step song. I was attracted to this song because I love dance like songs, so I hope that this is one of the songs that they perform in concert in their upcoming tour.

TRAVeLiNG

This is a more of a swing like song with elements of their past song “Say Hello” in it. I liked the fun swing sound to it, which is rare in NEWS songs. Based on some feedback online I saw, people really didn’t seem to like this song, but I think it would be a fun song for them to do in concert.

KAGUYA – Music Video

The music video, as mentioned previously, was directed by Ninagawa Mika, who is a famous director and photographer known for a very colorful and sexy style to her works. She has directed AKB48’s “Heavy Rotation” music video and also was the director for the movies “Helter Skelter” and “Sakuran”, a movie about high-level prostitutes in the Edo period of Japan (Please correct me if I am wrong). This music video for Kaguya was no exception, full of color and very sexy, but in a subtle way. There is something very sexy about old-style Japanese clothing and props, like kimonos. It showed a more sensual side to NEWS that we haven’t really seen before. I love the dance when they pull their shirts to the side and show their shoulder slightly and also dancing while holding the Japanese style umbrellas. The set covered with colorful umbrellas and ornaments was outstandingly beautiful as well. I love the old style Japanese feel to the music video, showing them in an array of outfits from traditional kimonos to a more modern style button down shirt during the water scene. Ninagawa Mika did an amazing job with this music video, bringing out NEWS’s sexy side.

Final Thoughts

This is NEWS’s first single that hasn’t had any tie-in to it in a long time, and no soccer song as well. I am in love with this single and think NEWS and their whole team did an amazing job planning it. I think it was sexy and colorful, but still stuck to NEWS’s regular style, which is more “pure”. The B-sides were really good as well, making this one of my favorite NEWS singles in recent times. I really liked this change of pace and I can’t wait to see more from them in the future.

 

What do you think of KAGUYA? What did you think about Ninagawa Mika directing the Music Video? Let me know in the comments below!

Japanese Entertainment: The Relationship Between Japanese Idols And Their Fans

While I was writing my thesis for my MBA today, which is on the topic of Johnny’s and Associates and the Japanese music industry, the topic of the relationship between a Japanese Idol and their fans popped into my head. Actually, it had been in my head for a while now ever since an article by the Yomiyuri Newspaper about Koyama Keiichiro, a member of my favorite Idol group NEWS,  was released about a week and a half ago. Koyama became a news caster for “News Every” in Spring of 2010 and this January he became a main caster for four out of five weekdays, when the program runs. This article was about the human connection and how through news casting he has been able to connect more with many people, and his fans, more than before. Though he says it’s rare for idol groups to have that deep of a connection, I still think this reflects the relationship between idol groups and their fans.

What exactly is the relationship between Japanese idols and their fans? You can describe it in different ways but I like to simply describe it as like one of a girlfriend and boyfriend, or best friends, but also like parent and child.

The appeal of the Japanese idol is simple, they aren’t perfect. These idols are produced by an management company that trains them from when they are kids to sing and dance and act and be an all around entertainer. From when they enter into the company they are put into the spotlight. They aren’t told or trained to be perfect though and in fact, they are put on variety shows and other television shows where they are made to do wacky things and their personality really shows through. Of course there are parts of this that are artificially produced and controlled, like not having a boyfriend or girlfriend (in public at least) and being clean cut and not having a bad-boy or bad-girl image, but for the most part they are the boy or girl next door. They seem like a normal person that just walked off the street, not a celebrity that is far from reach.

Another aspect of this is that the fans have a say in what the Idol does. Since the fans are spending money on entertainment, the idol and the management company must give them just that. So, the management company and the idols listens closely to the fans to see what they want, and they give it to them. They also sometimes put on events specifically where the fans get to decide themselves what they want, like choosing the set-list for a concert or in AKB48’s case, the fans can vote on who they want to be the “center”, the person who is the focus of the whole routine. This way, the fans feel like they had a hand in the idol growing and the fans grow a long with them, or see them grow up like a parent. I see a lot of mothers and their daughters go to concerts together and support the idol together; the daughter sees the idol as supporting them like a girlfriend would a boyfriend and the mother sees it as supporting the idol like they would their own child.  When idol fans grow up and have their own family and children, another younger idol group has debuted and then their daughter gets into them and the cycle continues.

I also think that Idols give fans a dream, something to shoot for. While the idols grow up and reach their goals, the fans are inspired by them trying so hard, so they work hard for their dream while supporting the idol too. I have met many people that say that being a fan of an idol group has changed their life and made them have a dream and find something that they love or helped them at a hard time in their life. It might be dramatic to say this, but I feel the same way as well. If I hadn’t found my love for Japanese Idols, I wouldn’t have realized my love for Japanese entertainment and I wouldn’t have wanted to move to Japan and live here. So in a way, they help create dreams and the Idols cheer us on as well.

So in a nutshell, this is the relationship. The Idol gives entertainment and gives the fans something to support, the appeal being that they aren’t perfect and they can support the idol growing up and the fans take pride in being apart of that. The Fans spend money on the idol and they get the feeling of satisfaction and pride at being apart of something. They each give and receive something and its unique and pure in a way. Sure there is business behind it and brilliant marketing, but this relationship is something unique to Japan I think.

What do you think about the relationship between Japanese idols and their fans? Have they inspired you in someway? Let me know what you think about this topic below! I think it would be an interesting discussion!

Review: Tegomass – Neko Chuudoku テゴマス「猫中毒」

Neko Chuudoku is Tegomass’s 7th single and it was released on May 22, 2013. This was their 2nd single in 2013 following  their previous single released in March 2013, Sayonara ni Sayonara 「サヨナラにさよなら」. The direct translation of Neko Chuudoku is basically “Cat Obsession”.

Editions

Limited Edition A: CD + DVD

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Limited Edition A comes with the song Neko Chuudoku itself, as well as a テゴ.カラ、which stands for Tegoshi Karaoke. So that means that Only Tegoshi’s voice shows up on this track, rather than a regular Karaoke or both of them singing on the track. It also comes with a DVD of the Music Video and Music Video making.

Limited Edition B: CD + DVD

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Limited Edition B comes with the Neko Chuudoku song, as usual,  and this time マス.カラ、which stands for Massu Karaoke. So this time its just Massu’s voice on the track. The DVD that comes with this edition contains the dance version of the Music video as well as “Tegomass Sensei Catness” video, which is them teaching the fans how to dance the dace of Neko Chuudoku. Fun fact, if you press the cartoon cat on the DVD menu of this edition, it will give the whole dance music video of them facing backwards so that you can follow along dancing with them!

Regular Edition: CD

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The regular edition only comes with a CD but it contains 2 extra songs, plus the real karaoke track for Neko Chuudoku that doesn’t contain any vocals at all. The 2 extra songs are 「シュプレヒコール」”Shipurehicoru” (which means speaking in chorus, or together) and 「花に想いを」”Hana ni Omoi wo” (which means “Expressing feelings with flowers”.

My Thoughts

The Song

Neko Chuudoku is a upbeat “Ska” like song that really leaves you wondering “What the heck just happened in this song?” LOL! I truly love this song, when some others don’t, but I will say that its not my favorite song from Tegomass. Tegomass diverted from their normal type of music a bit and decided to do a dancing (well…. sort of dancing) song this time. Normally they have more mellow-like songs they release as singles, and on their album they have some other upbeat songs, but this is the first time they released a single with a really upbeat feel to it. The only exception to this I can think of is Tanabata Matsuri, but that wasn’t even upbeat as compared to Neko Chuudoku. It’s also really short compared to other Tegomass songs they have released in the past.

The B-Sides

I normally don’t pay too much attention to the B-sides on singles sometimes until they are performed live or they have a significant impact on the fans and this time was no different.  I didn’t listen to the B-sides of this single closely until I heard them during the live performance of their 4th Live Tour, Tegomass no Seishun. After they performed these songs at the concert, I fell in love with both of the songs. シュプレヒコール」”Shipurehicoru” is a very easy listening song  with a violin- like sound in the background and very nice guitar and piano. The vocals and harmony is amazing and the rhythm of the song is amazing as well! 「花に想いを」”Hana ni Omoi wo” is a different type of song that reminds me of the American south and spring and summer with a harmonica, guitar and fiddle- like sound in the background!

The Music Video 

The Music Video is very different from their past videos, as a reflection of the different style of song that they were trying out this time. I like how in the full version of the music video, they start out from being “cool” and then all of a sudden change into the big Cat Costumes and start dancing a cute dance and doing crazy things that they interpret themselves from the lyrics of the song. It’s vibrant and colorful and is a stark contrast to the previous single they released 2 months prior, Sayonara ni Sayonara, which was very mellow and them just singing without much movement. I am looking forward to when they have a concert to see how they will incorporate Neko Chuudoku into the normal way they do their concerts because they normally don’t dance (except for 1 song). I kinda wonder if they will actually wear the big cat costumes during the concert because they wore them in all of their promotions for the single release.

Extras

Another cool thing they did different this time was the “Tegomass Sensei Catness” video. On the LE B Edition, Tegomass teach you the dance to Neko Chuudoku themselves in a cute way that is very Tegomass like. I like that they did this because this IS their first dancing music video and the fans probably would want to learn the dance to it. The making of the Music Video was different this time because they put humor into it by having a competition between Tegoshi and Massu that was based around cat like things. They didn’t do it all at once either, so it made it interesting to do some behind the scenes and then some competition interchangeably, with a punishment game for the looser of the competition at the end.

The last thing that I liked is how they continued to do the TegoKara and the MassuKara thing. They started to do this with Sayonara ni Sayonara and they continued to do so with Neko Chuudoku. I really like this because I can sing the part that I like to sing and not feel awkward just with the regular Karaoke track and I can “pretend” that I am singing a duet with either Massu or Tegoshi. I think a lot of the fans feel the same way about it as I do and it became popular so they continued to do it on this single. I hope they continue to do so in the future because that was a brilliant idea!

Final Thoughts

I think Tegomass did a good job with this song and shook things up a bit by bringing something different to the table. The one thing I will say though is that I don’t know if they should have released it at this time because their previous album Tegomass no Mahou and their single before this Sayonara ni Sayonara were a huge step towards being more “Adult Cute-like”, and then they went straight to something like Neko Chuudoku. If someone wasn’t a Tegomass fan before, they might have been confused at the difference and not liked it. I personally love this song, but I think if they wanted to keep up with their image they should have released it before Sayonara or just not released it at all. All in all, as a decently long time fan of Tegomass, I like how they shook things up and I am looking forward to when they release a new album because I want to see how they want to present themselves after 2 years!

What are your thoughts? Feel free to tell me in the comments below or tweet me!

*DISCLAIMER* I am still learning Japanese and these translations of these song titles, Japanese content, or any other translations from Japanese aren’t perfect. Please bring to my attention if you think I have any errors.

Review: Yamashita Tomohisa – Ai Texas

Ai Texas Regular Edition

General Overview

“Ai Texas” was released on Feburary 29th, 2012 and is Yamashita’s 5th solo single.  Though this was his 5th single, this is his first one that he has released since leaving the Johnnys group NEWS and going solo in October 2011. It is also his first single with a new record label, Warner Music Japan.

The title song, “Ai Texas”, is used as the ending and insert song for the drama that just finished airing called “Saikou no Jinsei no Owarikata ~ Ending Planner~”, which Yamashita stars in. It comes in 5 editions, with only 3 that you can buy in a regular CD shop in Japan.

Music Content

There are total of 3 tracks that come on the single, which all 3 tracks come with the Regular edition, with only the title song and “Candy” coming on the Limited Editions.  The A side is “Ai Texas” and the B sides are “Candy” and “Perfect Crime”.

“Ai Texas” Itself is described as a “Country Rock” flavored song. It has a very distinct country like guitar and the single, as a whole, is a lot different than his usual R&B/ Dance tracks like “One in a Million” and “Loveless”. He has started branching out into some different genres for his singles in the past year since his release of “Hadakanbo”in January 2011 , which had a pop-ish, big band feel to it.

The B sides, however, are very much his usual R&B/ Dance tracks. They sound very similar, in my opinion, but I liked “Perfect Crime” better musically. I thought it had a better beat and a better chorus than “Candy”.

The Music Video

There wasn’t much to the music video, just Yamapi walking around in a “Texas” like background with lots of computer graphics. I personally don’t like the video that much and prefer his other videos, like “Loveless” and “One in a Million”, better. I think its because I like music videos with a story line to it. I tended to loose focus and trailed off at times while watching the video.

The Packaging

Each edition of the single came with a different cover, all featuring Yamapi with a “cowboy” like out fit. The limited editions feature him in a striped blazer, jeans, plain black shirt, completed with a scarf. The regular edition has him in a while blazer with a  cowboy hat and snake patterned shirt. The color scheme seems to be red and white. It seems to go well with the “Texas” or “cowboy” theme that they wanted to portray.

What I found interesting about the packaging is the writing on the front of the CD with the track names. Normally, albums and singles come with the track listings on the back of the CD. Also, on the packaging it is spelled in english “I, Texas” rather than the romanji version “Ai Texas”. I can’t understand why it is that way and I really don’t like it.

The extra content of each edition is as follows:

Limited Edition A: Comes with a CD with 2 songs + karaoke versions of the songs, and a DVD with the “Ai Texas” music video on it.

Limited Edition B: Comes with a CD with same content as Limited Edition A and a 24 page photo booklet.

Regular Edition: Comes with a CD with 3 songs + karaoke tracks of “Ai Texas” and “Candy” only.

Overall Opinion

Its a catchy song and I love Yamapi’s solo work, but it is definitely a miss for me. I would rather listen to his previous singles than “Ai Texas”. I guess maybe is because I don’t like the guitar in the song and the “country” feel to it, along with the “Texas” theme. Maybe if the music video had a story line to it, I might have liked it a bit more. I tend to like songs better if they have a good music video or a good performance attached to it.

Johnnys Talk: Johnnys and Marriage + Dating

UPDATED 2-17-2017

Most people in the Johnnys fandom have heard about Jin Akanishi’s recent marriage to Kuroki Meisa at the beginning of February and it has been a pretty hot topic since. Why is that? This would seem like just everyday gossip that you would see in the tabloids about celebrities in America, but in the world of Johnnys, and East-Asian idols, it is a big deal. Some people have asked, “Why is it such a big deal?” and the question is hard to answer, unless you are familiar with how the industry works in general. I wanted this Johnnys Talk to be about Johnnys and Marriage because of Jin’s recent marriage and to shine light on a side of the situation that many foreign fans, like me, would not understand.  I will not be talking about Jin’s marriage specifically, but talking about how the marriages of Johnnys (and East-Asian idols) are different than the marriages American/ western celebrities and how I know Johnnys to get married.

Management

Before getting into marriage and dating, I think it’s important to explain the management system of idols in the east. I mentioned this a previous Johnnys Talk post, but most idols (and celebrities) in East Asia are managed by an agency. This agency acts as a mediator between the idol and the people who want the idol for jobs, as well as manage the all around schedule and what they do for their job as an idol. As I know it, western celebrities don’t have an agency, but just a manager or a PR person who interacts with the press and mediates between others who want to do business with them. In East Asia, the idol will have a manager but they only manage the day to day activities of the idol, not actually give the idol work. There is also a whole hierarchy of management for big agencies like Johnnys, and in some cases the talents wont even have their own personal manager, but a group manager instead. It is the agency’s job to assign work to the idols that comes in from outside sources, as well as assign work for the core of what they do, which is being in a singing group.

Rules and Image

Along with management by an agency comes strict regulations, which include rules about dating and marriage. This isn’t just Johnnys, but most idol groups and talent agencies, though each one’s rules are different. AKB48 and the other groups in the “48” also have these types of regulations. If you break these regulations, you can be kicked out of the group or “asked to resign”. Johnnys isn’t too strict about dating in terms of getting kicked out of the agency, but they are asked to keep the dating very private and out of the public eye. If a Johnnys is caught dating, most of the time it will be denied and the agency (on both parties’ part) will release an official statement that they are just friends, regardless if that is true or not. Johnnys will not get kicked out of the agency because of that, but other talent agencies are stricter. The same goes with marriage, but there are more strict regulations about that in Johnnys. Everything has to go through the agency regarding the talent that they manage, from assigning work, to who they are dating, and if they are going to get married. Why are there all of these regulations and why does everything have to go through the agency? It’s all about image.

An idol’s (and celebrity’s) image is everything in Japan, and East Asia. What agency the idol joins is also an indicator on what kind of image that idol is supposed to portray. In the case of Johnnys, they are supposed to be good looking, clean cut men that seem obtainable to all women. The key here is “seem obtainable to all women”. How can a Johnnys seem obtainable to all women when he is dating someone or is married? This is my business student side coming out, but what if this image is tarnished by dating someone or getting married? That idol is no longer marketable for the agency. If an idols isn’t marketable anymore, that makes it harder for the agency to get jobs for the idol, which means they are keeping someone on that will not make them money. So, the idol must abide by these rules and regulations or risk becoming a liability to the agency. It’s harsh, yes, but managing idols is still a business.

It’s a harsh reality, but not all hope is lost

Now, at this point most people from the west would say at this point “That is so wrong! They should be able to marry and date whoever they want!” Its true, but in reality if they want to keep their job, they have to abide by these rules. Even though Johnnys join the agency at a young age, before they debut they mostly know what they are getting into. If they don’t like that, then they can leave the agency. Many Johnnys have done that in the past for various reasons. Some already debuted Johnnys have decided to leave the agency as well, not necessarily for dating and marriage reasons though. Having the image is apart of the job, unfortunately. Other people might say “Oh! Well, they can just change management or quit”. Because Johnnys have been raised to do this from a young age, many of them only have a high school education, though it is becoming normal for Johnnys to go to college, and is actually encouraged by the agency now. Because of that, they don’t have the ability to change jobs freely because being an idol is all they have known. As for management, it’s VERY difficult to change from Johnnys to other management and still have the same level of activities and popularity that they had in the past, as Johnnys has a huge hold of the market in Japan and the “former Johnnys” sticks like glue. It comes down to Johnnys, and other idol agencies, being a business, though a rather harsh reality.

With all of that being said though, not all hope is lost! Johnnys DO date. They just do it out of the public eye. Johnnys have gotten married before, but there are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled and sometimes there are special circumstances that happen that they have to get married (from what know).

What if a Johnnys wants to get Married?

There are a handful of Johnnys that have gotten married in the past, like Kimura Takuya from SMAP, Inohara Yoshihiko from V6, and Tatsuya Yamaguchi from TOKIO (UPDATE: though he got a divorce from his wife in 2016, and TOKIO member Kokubun Taichi got married in 2015). I think there are a few others, but these are the most recent ones, besides Jin. With all of these, I see a trend of the Johnnys dating the same woman for a very long time, sometimes even living with the woman. (Kokubun Taichi has been going out with his now wife for 20 years before he was allowed to get married) They tend to get married in their mid-ish 30’s (or later), and their fans are older as well. This means that the idol getting married becomes less of a liability to the agency as they grow older, as they are already established idols, and their fan base has grown up with them and are most likely married themselves.  Younger groups are still very marketable because they haven’t hit their peak of popularity yet (for the most part) and their fan base is still young and single (meaning not married) so it is more of a liability for the agency for the younger idols to get married, as the fans will more than likely loose interest if their idol gets married at a younger age.

As for the timing of the marriage, they tell the agency months, sometimes years in advance if they intend to marry. This way, the agency knows how to present the marriage. The exception of this was Kimura Takuya, which came as a surprise. His situation was very similar to Jin; his current girlfriend was pregnant and they suddenly got married because of that. The difference between Jin and Kimura Takuya is that Kimura Takuya said that he had been thinking about getting married with his girlfriend for a while, even before finding out about the pregnancy. Despite these circumstances, Kimura Takuya went through Johnnys before going through with the marriage, but Jin did not. (UPDATE: Kokubun Taichi had waited years to marry his current wife before they got married and even sent out a notice card to everyone in the fanclub when the announcement happened.)

Updates since writing this article in 2012

Since Jin’s shotgun marriage, he left the agency when his contract ran out in 2014. Meisa announced herself being pregnant with their second child in November 2016. Kokubun Taichi was the next person to get married in the agency in 2015, and his first child was born in 2016. Yamaguchi announced his divorce in August of 2016. I have also updated some of the information inside the article as well and I will continue to do so as more information comes along.

I hope you all enjoyed this little bit of information about Johnnys! I think that Johnnys and marriage is an interesting topic and if you have any questions about this topic or for the next Johnnys Talk, or if you have any different information, please comment below or send me an email at nihonchique@gmail.com.

Johnnys Talk: What exactly is Johnnys??

Johnnys. Whenever I hear that word, the three things that come to mind are: Sparkly, pretty boys, and talent.

Well, lets start from the beginning. Johnny and Associates, or “Johnnys” for short, is an all male talent agency in Japan created by the all famous Johnny Kitagawa. It started out in the 1960’s when Johnny saw the musical West Side Story in Japan. He had the idea to create talent that was even better than that. So, he took boys from the baseball team that he was coaching at the time and made them into a singing group and it is history from there. Well …. not quite. It has taken Johnnys decades to become the idol powerhouse that it is today.

With that being said, I will not get into the history of Johnny and Associates because there are places that have already written an in depth history floating around the internet. Instead, I will explain the concept of Johnnys at present time.

The Concept of a “Johnnys”

Johnnys boys are classified as clean cut (in physical form and public image), handsome guys that train from a young age to sing, act, and dance, along with much more to become an all around entertainer, or “idol” as the Japanese call it. This is unlike the west where people only train to be one denomination, such as an actor or singer. They join the agency at a young age and become a “Johnnys Jr’s”, which is basically Johnny’s term for a trainee. The job as a Jr. is basically to back dance for and gain experience from the already debuted groups in the agency in the hopes that one day they will debut in a singing group (or solo) one day. Not all Johnny’s Jr.’s debut, unfortunately, and there are even some Jr’s that are as old as some of the debuted Johnnys.

The Entertainer or “Idol”

Once they debut ,the singing group is their primary activity.Since they are trained as all around entertainers though, they do solo work on the side. The most common example of these solo activities are stage plays, Japanese dramas, and commercials. Some other rarer examples are Kato Shigeaki from the group NEWS has written a book recently, which is a first for a Johnnys, and Arashi’s Ohno Satoshi has done an art exhibition a while back. Idols are all around entertainers and have many talents other than just singing or just acting.

Even while classified as a Jr., though rare, they do some of these solo activities and  also in plays produced by Johnnys specifically for Jr.’s to appear in. Its not just Johnnys that produces idols though, there are many other agencies in Japan, and all around Asia.

What is an Talent Agency?

I won’t say much about this right now because it is a topic for another post, but an agency is a company that manages idols or talent. Its not just Japan that has talent agencies, but many other asian countries have them as well, like Korea and China. Talent agencies are more known in Asia than in the west though, because the western way of managing talent and raising talent is a bit different than in Asia for the most part.

Also, don’t confuse a record label with a talent agency. This is a common mistake for western fans of Asian music. Though Johnnys has a few in house record labels, they also have talent under different labels in Japan. A talent agency is just a managing company for the most part, though they might own in house record labels. What I mean by  an “in house” record label is a record label that is owned by a talent agency, but operates as a separate company.

This was brief overview of Johnny and Associates. This is almost like a introduction post to more detailed posts that will be coming soon about Johnnys. I hope you enjoyed this and if you have any questions about Johnnys for the next “Johnnys Talk”, please email me at nihonchique@gmail.com.

*Everything that I talk about in this post is what I have read or know to be true. If there is any inconsistencies, please let me know with some sort of source that I may look up for my own reference to correct any errors*