“Only Mr. Johnny Knows Everyone’s Name…”, The Astonishing Reason for the Extraordinary Unity of Johnny’s Idols | FRIDAY DIGITAL

“Only Mr. Johnny Knows Everyone’s Name…”, The Astonishing Reason for the Extraordinary Unity of Johnny’s Idols

Akio Nakamori's Theory of Desire for Johnny's Chapter 1: "Battles without Honor and Humanity" and Johnny's (1)

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The strength of cohesion among Johnny’s idols

Idols in Johnny’s office are different.

This is a voice I often hear. I myself have heard such comments from a number of people in the entertainment industry. So what exactly is “different” about them?

Arashi, who suspended their activities as of 2020

They have an aura. There is a special sparkle. They are all hardworking. They are ambitious. They have high entertainment deviation. Others, others. All of these are terribly vague.

Once I saw a group of Johnny’s idols at a TV station. I see. Yes, they were different. I felt a wall between them and the people around them. There was a kind of glaring presence. There was a strong sense of unity among them. You could call it cohesion. However, it is completely different from the teamwork of an athletic team.

They are different from other idols. They are special. This sense of unity unites them and creates a thick wall around them.
What is it exactly?

“Only Mr. Johnny knows the names of all the members.”

In the mid-1990s, I had a series of articles in a magazine called Kindai Eiga. The magazine was launched in December 1945, the year the war ended, and was a long-established entertainment history along with “Meisei” and “Heibon” (later renamed “Kindai” and ceased publication in 2009).

It was full of gravures and articles on idols. We asked the magazine’s editor about the following story.

A poster featuring a photo of all the members of Johnny’s Junior was attached to the magazine as an appendix. It would be very difficult to list the names of the members if we made a mistake. When he consulted with the manager of the office, he received the following answer.

Oh, the only person who knows the names of all the members is Mr. …… Janney.”

I was astonished at this.

(In January 2015, Janie Kitagawa was a guest on NHK radio’s “Crossover Talk with Yukio Ninagawa” program. There, when asked by Ninagawa if he remembered the names of the members, he replied, “I don’t remember. (I can’t remember the names. That’s my bad,” Janney replied. Did he remember them at least until the mid-’90s? (Or was this a humble response to Ninagawa?)

This may be nothing more than an amusing episode blown out of proportion by the editor. But that is not what I am trying to convey.

Yukio Ninagawa giving instructions during rehearsal.

Idols in the Johnny’s office are different. What is their true identity?

Yes, they were chosen by Janie Kitagawa – that’s what they are. They were picked and polished by Janie’s eye. This is what made them special.
However, this alone is not enough to explain their unity and cohesion.

In the next article, “The Same Structure as ‘Battles without Honor and Humanity’…The Sad Similarities Between Hitmen and Japanese Idols,” we will delve into the “certain similarities” between Japanese idols and hitmen.

  • Interview and text by Akio Nakamori Photographs Shinji Hasuo (1st), Kyodo News (2nd)

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