Johnny’s Exodus: NHK’s Shifting Dynamics and Prospects at the Kohaku Uta Gassen | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Johnny’s Exodus: NHK’s Shifting Dynamics and Prospects at the Kohaku Uta Gassen

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The press conference for the first time in 2018, when “King & Prince” participated in the festival. This year, five Johnny’s groups, including “Hey! Say! JUMP,” “Sexy Zone,” “Kanjani Eight,” and “Arashi,” participated in the contest

This year’s NHK “Kohaku Uta Gassen” is likely to have zero appearances by Johnny’s.


NHK Chairman Nobuo Inaba held a regular press conference on October 18, and stated that “there will be no change in our policy” regarding the participation of Johnny’s talents in the Kohaku Uta Gassen to be held on New Year’s Eve.

He stated, “There will be no change in our policy.”

It appears that he will continue the policy he stated at the September press conference that they will not request new artists to appear.

In the meantime, there is even more heated bargaining going on behind the scenes than usual to get a slot left vacant by Johnny’s, which had six groups participate in the Kohaku last year.


The company that has been acting like it owns the Kohaku Festival, excluding Johnny’s, is Amuse, which boasts the Southern All Stars, Masaharu Fukuyama, and Gen Hoshino.

“This year, Hiroiki Ariyoshi took over as host, but for three years in a row, Hiroshi Oizumi, who belongs to Amuse, has been the host. Last year, “IVE” and “Saucy Dog” were the first two groups to participate. “Perfume” has participated in the festival 15 times in a row. Also, in a Kohaku where live appearances are the rule, the power of the office must be the reason why live broadcasts from concert halls and taped appearances are so common,” said a sports newspaper reporter.

Next year, Yuriko Yoshitaka will star in the historical drama “Hikaru Kimi he.” With the absence of Johnny’s, the presence of Amuse is only increasing.

Yoshimoto Kogyo, which has popular K-pop idols, is probably the company that will vigilantly target this Amuse monopoly.

NHK may have the image of a comedian’s agency, but in fact they have a business alliance with a Korean agency and have male K-pop groups such as JO1 and INI, which competed for the first time last year. NHK has high expectations for them as “good-looking idols” in place of Johnny’s.

Also, since they are the most talented group in the industry, it would not be surprising if they take this opportunity to host, make guest appearances, or serve as judges, or any other positions they can get.


INI member Kohito Nishi is currently appearing on E-television’s “English Conversation Feeling Fresh,” and is making a significant contribution to NHK.

Industry insiders are unanimous in their view that Japan Music Entertainment is one of the most promising companies in the shadow of major agencies such as Amuse and Yoshimoto Kogyo.

It is indeed a remarkable fact that they have been performing in Kohaku for three consecutive years since 2008, when they screwed Masayuki Suzuki, who was celebrating the 40th anniversary of his debut, into the Kohaku program until last year. Also, last year, Ryoko Shinohara appeared for the first time in 28 years, successfully erasing the negative image caused by her divorce the previous year.

The firm’s president currently serves as president of the Music Industry Association, an industry group. Some people are calling him a new don in the entertainment production industry, which is dominated by elderly people.


Incidentally, Shosuke Tanihara, who is a member of the Tanihara Group, is the host of NHK’s “UTA-CON” (Song Contest). It is likely that we will hear some say that he will be the host of Kohaku next year.

Even in the absence of Johnny’s, NHK’s production discovery is likely to continue in the future as well.

  • PHOTO Takao Kawakami

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