Too embarrassed to call myself a “fan” — Johnny’s “was out of date” in the darkest period of its history, shaken by the sexual assault issue.
The Johnny’s’s office has been making headlines for its sexual assault problem.
The issue was also noted for the silence of the major media, led by TV stations. The influence of the Johnny’s office was that great, but even they did not have the same presence from the beginning as they do today. How did they achieve their current status? We were curious to learn more about their history, so we interviewed veteran entertainment journalists familiar with Johnny’s. They told us, “There were two turning points.
I think there were two turning points. First, Toshichan (Toshihiko Tahara) and Match (Masahiko Kondo) from the group “Tanokin Trio” became explosively popular and showed the world that “Johnny’s was here to stay. After that, groups such as “Shibukitai,” “Shonen-tai,” and “Hikaru Genji” did well, but the popularity of the group quickly declined after that.
The reason is that many of the Johnny’s idols had Western-style faces, but the trend at the time was toward “soy sauce faces,” or what we would now call “simple salt faces. The so-called “Johnny’s face” had fallen out of fashion, and it seemed as if the agency itself would continue to decline.
The fearful “Isn’t Kimutaku cool?”
But then, at ……, a savior appeared. Kimura Kimura (Takuya Kimura).
It is hard to believe now, but back then, Johnny’s was a bit outdated, and it was even embarrassing to be called a Johnny’s fan. But when “Asunaro Hakusho” (1993, Fuji Television), starring Kimu Takuya, aired in the then very popular Tsuki 9 drama series, it was a big hit. When “Asunaro Hakusho” (’93, Fuji TV) aired, women were afraid to say, “Isn’t Kimutaku cool ?” (laugh). In no time at all, the Kimutaku social phenomenon had begun to take hold.
From there, the group “SMAP,” to which Kimutaku belongs, began its rapid ascent. They appeared on more and more variety shows and became the so-called “national idol group. The members of “SMAP” did not have the prince-like faces with flashing eyes, and when they first debuted, they were said not to look like Johnny’s. The expectations from the agency were not high. The expectations from the office were also low, but Kimura’s face, which was relatively thin at the time, and his variety skills matched the trends of the times perfectly. Along with their great leap forward, I had the impression that the Johnny’s office itself had also come back to life beautifully.
(A former reporter) “It was ‘Arashi’ that took over the national idol character of ‘SMAP’ and brought it to perfection, as we all know.
Arashi” had many fans who were both parents and children, and as a safe and well-behaved idol for children, it gained support from all age groups, both men and women. As a result, they became national idols in the true sense of the word, singing at celebrations marking the emperor’s accession to the throne and being sought out as the face of government-related events.
With their rise in popularity, the Johnny’s s office also became a special part of their lives. Looking back, I have the impression that it was around this time that the talents belonging to the company began to frequently mention the founder of the company in a friendly manner, saying, ‘Mr. Janney, Mr. Janney,'” said the aforementioned reporter.
Another veteran interview writer also commented as follows.
Looking back, even Johnny’s did not achieve its current position by smooth sailing. Just as every prosperous thing has its time to decline, the company has faced downturns many times, but each time the next star was born and the company came back to life like a revival. The office is now in a pinch again, but will another once-in-a-generation star emerge.”
Johnny’s has exerted a definite influence on the entertainment industry. However, it has not always been smooth sailing and absolute. The issue of sexual assault is about to take on a new dimension.
Interview and text by： Nanako
Born in Ehime Prefecture. After working at a broadcasting station, became a freelance writer. She specializes in interviews with celebrities and analysis of popular events, and is always checking out serial dramas and popular Japanese movies. She is a well-known beautiful writer in the magazine industry.
PHOTO： Keisuke Nishi