Johnny’s in a Tight Spot: “Talents that Will Survive” and “Talents Who Can’t Make Ends Meet” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Johnny’s in a Tight Spot: “Talents that Will Survive” and “Talents Who Can’t Make Ends Meet”

In-Depth Report: The revelation of the "NG List" has further shaken the office. What will happen to big names such as Kimutaku, Sho Sakurai, Taichi Kokubun, and Ryosuke Yamada?

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Noriyuki Higashiyama, 57, is the president of a newly established agent company. At this press conference, he denied his own allegations of sexual assault.

He said, “Let’s calm down. This is being broadcasted nationwide and children are watching.”

Vice President Yoshihiko Inohara (47), who had been lashing out at the rowdy reporter, discovered the existence of a “nomination NG list”. It is said that a sense of distrust toward the upper management is currently swirling within Johnny’s. 

“At the second press conference, it was announced that the exclusive contracts of the current talents would be terminated and they would be transferred to agent contracts. The talents were briefed about this before the press conference, and Junichi Okada (42) apparently informed them of his intention to leave the agency there. For talents like him, who can work independently as individuals, there is no longer any merit in sticking with the current agency,” said an entertainment agency official.

Declaration of de facto firing

Although the termination of an exclusive contract may sound like a way for a talent to have more freedom in his or her activities, in reality, it seems to be a ruthless decision.

“It is no exaggeration to say that an agent contract for young talent is effectively a firing. It is hopeless for them to appear in a barter, and they will not be able to get work even if they are popular with their seniors. It is not a world where you can compete on merit alone. ‘Arashi’ and ‘Kanjani Eight’ will probably be fine, but ‘KAT-TUN’ is on the edge, depending on the efforts of Yuichi Nakamaru (40), who has ties with the TV station.”

“Mid-sized groups with weak sales capabilities such as ‘Hey! Say! JUMP’, ‘Sexy Zone’, ‘Johnny’s WEST’, and ‘SixTONES’ cannot negotiate on an equal footing with agencies, and are simply slaves whose margins are exploited. It could become a contract.” (TV station official)

Some believe that ‘Johnny’s WEST’ and ‘Naniwa Danshi’ from Kansai can negotiate on equal terms with the office if they unite and belong to the company represented by the ‘Kanjani Eight’ members. Various conflicts have already occurred in other groups.

Mid-level transfers and splits

“Sho Sakurai (41) of ‘Arashi’ is leaving the news program. If he quits Johnny’s and leaves ‘Arashi,’ Sakurai may be able to anchor the show. However, many fan club members who expect the group to be revived will leave the group and lose several million yen a month in income. The suspension was intended to prevent Satoshi Ohno (42) from leaving the group, but it may be Sakurai who will be the one to raise his voice.”


“The company is considering making Taichi Kokubun (49) a member of its board of directors. Despite the fact that “TOKIO,” which has already become a subsidiary company, can do without the entire group even if it becomes independent, it will not be possible to give up on the office if Kokubun becomes a board member. Just as Inohara will not retire as a talent even if he becomes vice president, Kokubun would like to have a way out. Shigeru Josjima (52) and Masahiro Matsuoka (46) will not abandon Kokubun either.”

Another possible scenario is the disintegration of the group due to a popular member moving out on his own.

“Other than Ryosuke Yamada (30) in ‘Hey! Say! JUMP’ and Yuta Tamamori (33) in ‘Kis-My-Ft2’, there is almost no work.The only way to make money is to rely on TV appearances and music activities. However, if Tamamori and Yamada, who can appear in commercials and dramas, transfer alone, the rest of the members won’t be able to make ends meet.” (Major advertising agency official)

It is said that only about 20% of the talent at Johnny’s earns more than 20 million yen a year. From now on, the talents will know the full amount of their earnings, including management fees that have been skimmed off by the agency. Takuya Kimura (50), who is the highest paid employee, will be able to free himself and have more money on hand if he becomes independent. Even if he transfers to another company, it is unlikely that he will be treated any less favorably than he is now. They may be trying to prevent the outflow of their breadwinners and cut the rest of them off gracefully, but I don’t think it will work out that well. The office is planning to shrink back and ride out the headwinds.


“Currently, we have about 100 talents in the debutante group alone. They are planning to have their managers and other staff members taken over by a new company for the talents and reduce the number of employees at the office itself by about one-third. The headquarters building in Nogizaka will no longer be needed and can be sold off,” said a source at the record company.

The management is expected to have the skills to fold the overweight empire neatly.

Inohara was praised for his response to the reporters who made a fuss about not being nominated, but his reputation has changed dramatically since the NG list was revealed.
This magazine independently obtained a list of reporters who were candidates for nomination used at the press conference. On the day of the press conference, the staff at the venue shared with the moderator the positions and attire of both the nominated candidate reporters and the NG reporters.
The paper also found a list of reporters who were not on the list, which was used on the day of the press conference. With the exception of Asaka Sato, none of the reporters were nominated by the moderator.
 From the October 27, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
  • PHOTO Kazuhiko Nakamura

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