Arashi: A Beacon of Hope for SMILE-UP’s Rebirth | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Arashi: A Beacon of Hope for SMILE-UP’s Rebirth

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Will we soon see these five together again?

On October 17, Johnny’s changed its name to SMILE-UP, ending a 61-year history of producing numerous male idols. The company will establish a new agent company to manage and nurture talent, and will hold a public contest for the name of the new company until the end of this month.

“The image of Johnny’s has been shattered by the sexual assault scandal involving the late founder, Johnny Kitagawa. The name of the new company, which will be solicited from fan club members, is important because it is a new company that will start anew with the transfer of talent. At the press conference on October 2, the company’s image was tarnished by the eight-figure decision to list the journalists who would not be nominated, so I hope that the selection of a new company name will be done with a lot of guts,” said a TV station official.


Although the details of the new company structure and the agent system to be employed by the new company are not yet known, celebrities have been active in the industry.

Sho Sakurai (41), a member of Arashi, appeared live on news zero (NTV), where he is the anchor, on the day of the press conference. He complained that Johnny’s was backward in its response to the press conference held on the same day. He also revealed that the members of Arashi were called in beforehand and all five members of Arashi were briefed together at the office, and that the leader of Arashi, Satoshi Ohno (42), who is on hiatus, was also present at the meeting.

“The Arashi group was originally promoted by former president Julie Keiko Fujishima, who may have been the first to explain the situation. Although Arashi is currently inactive as a group, its fan club is said to have as many as 3 million members, and the income from their membership fees is a strong backbone that supports the office. If they return to Arashi, not only will the number of members increase, but they will also be able to expand their resumed activity business in a big way, including regular programs by the five members and a YouTube channel,” said a source at the record company.


In the October 31 issue of Josei Jishin (published by Kobunsha), Ohno was seen taking a walk with his dog in Tokyo. Ohno, who has transformed into a wild-looking man with a beard, has returned to Tokyo from Miyako Island, where he had been living for a long time, and now resides in Tokyo. He is said to be in Tokyo to discuss his future with his office.

On the 6th of this month, Kazunari Ninomiya (40) said at the first day of the opening of Analog, the movie in which he stars, “On my way to this venue today, I met Satoshi Ohno walking in good spirits. When I was driving my car, I thought I saw someone walking around that I had seen before,” he said. When he told Ohno that he was going to the stage greeting, he also revealed that he was told, “Hee~ good luck,” to the delight of his fans.

Since Arashi went on hiatus as a group, the members have rarely mentioned Ohno’s name. However, the fact that they have now mentioned Ohno’s name in public, such as on TV programs and in stage greetings, may be taken as a flag for his comeback.


Arashi, which was the signature group of the former Johnny’s, will become a symbol for the revival of the company at the new agency. They will enter their 25th anniversary year on November 3, the anniversary of their debut. At that point, the name of the new company, which was publicly solicited from fans, will be decided, and it is said that the first major announcement as the new company will be a positive announcement regarding the resumption of Arashi’s activities.


Before Johnny’s fell on hard times, TV networks would have fought over the rights to air live performances and special programs of Arashi’s resumption of activities, but at present, there is likely to be no such movement. However, if Arashi resumes its activities, it will certainly be the greatest repayment to the fans who have followed them and not abandoned them in the midst of this headwind.

The members in their casual clothes after an appearance at an event in December 2020, just before they went on hiatus.

At the end of this year, it will be three full years since Arashi went on hiatus. For fans, it must have been a long three years.


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In 2015, this magazine scooped a bedrock bath date with a former actress. After enjoying the rock bath, they went straight to Ohno’s apartment in an intimate manner.
When this magazine directly hit him after the love affair was revealed, he made no comment, saying, “I can’t say anything. He later held a press conference and said, “She is one of my friends. There is no fact that we live together, and we are not in a relationship.”
Johnny’s’s press conference (PHOTO: Kazuhiko Nakamura)
Johnny’s press conference (PHOTO: Kazuhiko Nakamura)
Ninomiya announcing his independence from the office (from youtube “Janino-channer”)
  • PHOTO Shinji Hasuo (1st and 2nd) Shu Nishihara

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