Could the day of their comeback be near? Former Johnny’s Jr. members are taking lessons with Inohara even though their opportunities to perform have been drastically reduced. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Could the day of their comeback be near? Former Johnny’s Jr. members are taking lessons with Inohara even though their opportunities to perform have been drastically reduced.

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Akihiko Inohara, who is in charge of training and producing Junior

The former Johnny’s s office is going through a transitional period, changing its name to “SMILE-UP. Inc.” as of October 17. The company is in the midst of putting its structure in order, including the establishment of a new agent company, in response to the sexual assault scandal involving its founder, Mr. Janie Kitagawa. While the TV exposure of the talents has been affected, mainly young junior members (former “Johnny’s Jr.”) have been working hard on their dance and acting lessons.

SMILE-UP.” company, which has made a fresh start, will only provide compensation services to the victims and will dismantle and close the business as soon as it is finished dealing with the situation. However, details, including the name of the new company to sign contracts with the talent, have not been announced as of November 20. Under these circumstances, NHK announced the contestants for the 74th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen, a major singing program to be broadcast on New Year’s Eve. All of the former Johnny’s were eliminated.

In addition, in September, several companies announced that they would not renew contracts with former Johnny’s talents, and they continued to suspend the use of them in their commercials. On commercial TV stations, the former Johnny’s talents continue to appear on regular programs and even make guest appearances in some variety shows. However, an entertainment writer says, “As for the juniors who have not yet debuted, I have the impression that their availability is decreasing.

The “The Boys Club” (NHK BS Premium) stopped broadcasting after the October 27 broadcast of “Selection Special: August and September Meisho (Great Scenes from August and September). The title was changed to “New Generation! and the content will be drastically revised. In addition, the variety program “#Naked Boy” (TV Asahi), in which Junior appears as the main character, ended on November 4, perhaps because of the title, and a new program, “Community-based & station-specific map variety Kaku-eki! started on November 18.

Under these circumstances, young talents seem to be training without taking a break even during periods when they have time in their schedule. They are talking about their recent activities on their blogs on the members-only website “FAMILY CLUB web” and in magazine interviews.

For example, Ren’o Nagaoka, a member of AmBitious, a unit within Kansai Junior, reported on his blog dated November 6 that he had a “dance lesson in Tokyo” (original text in Japanese). On the spot, he said, “Make a pair!” and paired up with Rinne Sugata of Junior 7 MEN Samurai. Nagaoka, who is usually based in the Kansai region, had a great opportunity to interact with the Tokyo juniors.

In addition to this, HiHi Jets’ Mizuki Inoue confessed in the December ’23 issue of “Duet” magazine (Home-sha), which went on sale on November 7, that he went to the dance lessons at the office, and that he attends all the dance lessons because they are fun every time.

On that day, Tomohiro Kamiyama of WEST. (renamed from “Johnny’s WEST”) and Jingo Takemura, Junior, danced a genre of street dance called “breakin. Kamiyama is a member of the debutant group, but he has not neglected his efforts to grow in terms of performance.

Furthermore, in the December ’23 issue of “WiNK UP” (Wani Books), Hitonari Hamura of the intra-junior group Go!Go!kids said, “We recently started dance lessons at the office. There are genres such as jazz, rock, and breakin, and we are divided into classes according to our level,” he said, revealing the details of the dance lessons.

He is now 16 years old. “I’m in a good class right now, except for breakin’. I’m going to improve my breakin,” he added, setting high goals for himself.

Currently, the training and production of the junior dancers is being handled by the vice president of “SMILE-UP. Inohara probably wants the youngsters to study not only dance but also acting.

In the December issue of “Duet,” 16-year-old junior Shin Watanabe says, “Actually, a while ago, Mr. Inohara (Yoshihiko) invited a teacher to hold a workshop for acting lessons. At that time, the teacher complimented me on my natural acting ability. He commented, ‘That’s why I was so excited about acting at once.

Due to the sexual assault scandal caused by Mr. Janie Kitagawa, former Johnny’s talents have seen their activities dwindle. However, both junior and debutant talents are probably improving their skills day by day behind the scenes. SMILE-UP.” is standing by the victims, and we hope that the day will come when the hard-working talents will be rewarded.


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