As president of Smile Up, Higashiyama has decided to devote himself to dialogue and compensation for the victims.
Initially, he was going to be in charge of the new company as well, but compensation was more difficult than he expected, and he decided to make up his mind to face the situation properly. I am truly grateful that you have decided to retire as well and devote yourself to this project, even though you have a family to support.
I hope everyone will pray that the compensation will go ahead without incident.
On October 31, Vice President Yoshihiko Inohara (47) announced on the company’s Internet bulletin board that Higashiyama had declined the appointment as president of the new agency and would concentrate on compensation as president of “SMILE-UP. The company’s vice president, Akihiko Inohara (47), announced on the company’s Internet bulletin board that Higashiyama had declined to become president of the new company.
Higashiyama, who will be taking time off from his starring roles on stage to meet with the victims on a daily basis starting in September, will be rebuilding the former Johnny’s’s office out of his control.
Following the press conference by the former Johnny’s office, NHK and other TV stations, as well as companies that had used talents from the former Johnny’s office in commercials and other media, temporarily reviewed their transactions. In addition, they have stated that they will not use any new talent from the former agency unless they can confirm that “SMILE-UP.” and the new agency have completely parted ways.
If Higashiyama serves as president of both companies, it will not appear that ‘SMILE-UP.’ and the new company have parted ways. Therefore, there was talk of making Kohei Takenaka, a former Sony Music employee and advisor to the former Johnny’s, the president of the new agent company. However, for Takenaka, there was no need to become president now. It would be safer for him not to be in the center of the fray and continue to serve as an advisor to Johnny’s as he has in the past.
On October 24, “SMILE-UP.” was rocked by the news that Kazuya Ninomiya (40), who had been the office’s top earner for 27 years, decided to leave the company.
While many talents have yet to decide whether to leave the company completely or sign an agent contract or an exclusive contract, the departure of Ninomiya, who is the leader of the younger generation, is a considerable blow to the new company.
I think Sho Sakurai (41) is also firming up his intention to leave, as I have heard that NTV has promised him the anchor of “news zero”, the continued hosting of “Best Artist 2023”, and the production of a sequel to the drama “Daihyoin Sukyo” on the condition that he leaves “SMILE-UP. (A person related to a commercial TV station)
Vice President Inohara emphasizes the “bond
SMILE-UP.” must not want to see the exit dominoes continue.
As mentioned above, on October 31, Inohara, the vice president, posted a message on the company’s Internet bulletin board to the employees and talents. A message was posted on the company’s Internet bulletin board. The following is an excerpt (line changes are by the editor).
[Hello all SMILE-UP. employees, this is Yoshihiko Inohara, SU Representative Director and Vice President, CSO.
I wanted to explain about the new president in advance, but I apologize for the delay.
We decided to have a professional manager, especially an agent, as our new president. His name is Mr. Jun Fukuda.
I know there are some concerns that if the president is an outsider, it will be a completely different company, but of course I will also join the board of directors. I believe that the bonds we have formed will never change, even if the company name and president are different. So I want you to rest assured. And I want you to rest assured that we will be prepared to make drastic changes where we make new changes and protect where we protect as much as we can. I am prepared to protect what we protect to the best of my ability.
I had thought that no one would accept the position of president under the current circumstances. Even from the perspective of a management professional, I think the situation is more difficult than I had imagined. But Mr. Fukuda said, “You have to protect this wonderful entertainment culture. If you believe in me, I will do it. I am grateful for Mr. Fukuda’s spirit. Let’s strengthen our bond with Mr. Fukuda from now on.
What we must do from now on is the important work that lies ahead of us. And I believe that we must face our fans, who have watched us without running away even under such circumstances, more seriously than we are doing now.
Let us all repay the love we have received, even if it takes time. Let’s work together to become more talented than ever, more independent than ever, and more proud that we are the most advanced entertainment production in Japan! Thank you so much for everything.
In the text, Inohara repeatedly uses the word “kizuna” (bond), and it is clear that he is quite impatient, fearing that Ninomiya’s departure will cause an exodus of other talent. A ship that has lost its captain has been boarded by a shaggy captain. This is a dramatic plot, but Takenaka, who is an advisor to Fukuda, is said to be behind Fukuda’s appointment as president.
Mr. Takenaka was the one who recommended Mr. Fukuda. Fukuda was president of Sony Digital Entertainment Services, a subsidiary of Sony, until ’17. He is an old friend of Mr. Takenaka, who is still a senior advisor to Sony Group Inc.
Although Mr. Fukuda is engaged in diversified business with his consulting company “Speedy,” he has weak ties with the media, including TV stations. Takenaka, who does not want to take the brunt of the management, Fukuda, who wants to make a name for himself as a businessman, and SMILE-UP, which needs a new charismatic figure.
On the other hand, Higashiyama even declared his retirement as a celebrity, but he did not get the post he was originally promised. After atonement for the sins committed by his foster parents is complete, will there be a place for him in the entertainment industry?
From the November 24, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Yuri Adachi Kazuhiko Nakamura