The Domino Effect: Arashi Member Kazunari Ninomiya Considering Independence | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Domino Effect: Arashi Member Kazunari Ninomiya Considering Independence

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Kazuya Ninomiya of “Arashi” declares independence from Johnny’s.On October 24, Kazunari Ninomiya (40) of the nationally popular group Arashi announced on a website for his fan club that he had become independent from his agency SMILE-UP (formerly Johnny’s) on the same day. 

Ninomiya explained the circumstances of his independence.

“After the first press conference at the office, a lot of things started to affect my activities, and to be honest, I became scared and anxious, and I started to think about what I would do.”

In the midst of his daily struggles, at his second press conference at Johnny’s, he said, “The Johnny’s office is a place for people who have been in the business for 10 years or more.”

“Johnny’s will change its name to SMILE-UP. I heard that a new company will be set up, and the talents in Johnny’s will be given priority to sign an agent contract or a management contract.” He added

“I have to make my own decisions about my future, but my work is still going on, and when I calmed down and looked at things from a bird’s eye view, I decided to do it properly.”

He decided to become independent.

“I will face each job one by one and move on with my life again,” he said.

He looked forward to the future.


He is the second big independent following former V6 member Junichi Okada. Okada announced on his official website and said these:

“I would like to inform you that I will be leaving Johnny’s s. I will establish my own entertainment agency and continue my activities.”

The two members of Arashi after their independence were not in contact with each other.

Mr. Ninomiya’s independence has made it clear that those who are capable and can make it on their own are better off going independent than signing an agency contract. There are some jobs that have been stopped because of the uncertainty of what will happen to the new company.

The fact that Okada-san and Ninomiya-san will affect the other big names who have been withholding their final decision.

Takuya Kimura, a representative of the “big guns,” has already announced that he will sign an agency contract with a new company, but he was treated as a traitor by some fans during the SMAP breakup scandal in 2016.

“If he goes independent right away, he may be criticized as a traitor for the second time. If he becomes independent right away, he will be criticized for betraying the group for the second time.”


Kimura has been a fan of the group for many years and has been treated as a traitor by his fans. Kimura is the type of person who would get the most out of becoming independent, given his personal connections and career path to date.

There are reports that he is considering expanding overseas again. In that case, even if the company name is changed, SMILE and the new company will remain the former Johnny’s office. It would be better for them to become independent in order to erase any connection.

Returning to Ninomiya, a number of fans on the Internet mistook independence for withdrawal from Arashi. To this, Ninomiya responded,

“I know there are some people who are worried that Arashi will disappear, but I will continue to be a part of Arashi from tomorrow onward. As long as there is still Arashi, I will still be Arashi, so I hope you can rest assured of that.”

He reassured the fans by saying, “When Arashi resumes its activities again, of course, we will work together as members.” These words are very important as reassurance.


“I think he was concerned for himself and his family as well as for his fans. Mr. Ninomiya married a former announcer in 2019. At the time, there were reports that he pushed through the opposition.”

“Some fans turned their dissatisfaction toward Mr. Ninomiya himself and his wife. If Mr. Ninomiya’s independence this time delays the restart of Arashi, there could be another bashing like that time. Mr. Ninomiya’s comment seems to have been a preemptive move to avoid such a situation.”

Ninomiya has always been in the vanguard of the group. Will the other members follow suit?


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  • PHOTO Yusuke Kondo

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