Junichi Okada, Kazunari Ninomiya, Toma Ikuta… “NG of major distributors” behind the independence of leading actors of the former Johnny’s. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Junichi Okada, Kazunari Ninomiya, Toma Ikuta… “NG of major distributors” behind the independence of leading actors of the former Johnny’s.

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The three independent

Actor Toma Ikuta (39) left his SMILE-UP. (formerly Johnny’s) office on November 20. On his fan site, he wrote: “Starting tomorrow, Toma Ikuta will be a freelance actor. On November 21, he updated his Instagram to report the opening of his official website and official X (formerly Twitter). It seems that they are all set to work independently.

In the former Johnny’s, Kazuya Ninomiya of Arashi (40) announced his sudden independence on October 24. All three had been leading actors representing the former Johnny’s, and they also had something in common, which is said to be one of the reasons for their decision to go independent.

Ikuta’s wife is actress Nana Seino (29), Okada’s wife is actress Aoi Miyazaki (37), and Ninomiya’s wife is a former successful freelance announcer. And all three have children; Ikuta is 1 year old, Okada is 5, and Ninomiya is 2 and 1.

They have decided to part ways with the name ‘Johnny’s’ not only for their own future activities, but also for their children’s positions at school, their children’s future entrance exams, and, as for Ikuta and Okada, their wives’ future jobs.

And this similarity seems to be another reason why the three decided to become independent. Ikuta starred in “Yudo” released in February of this year, Okada in “Towards the End” released in May, and Ninomiya in “Analog” released in October.

All three films are distributed by Toho, a major film company. In the past few years, Ikuta has been in the “Uta” series, which has become his masterpiece, Okada in “Sekigahara” (’17), “Here it Comes” (’18), and “Burning Sword” (’21), and Ninomiya in “The Last Recipe: Memories of a Kirin’s Tongue” (’17), “The Asada Family! ~(2005), “The Asada Family! (’20) and “From Rageri with Love” (’22). All of these were Toho productions, and he is a firm favorite.

However, the issue of Janie Kitagawa’s sexual assault was even investigated by the United Nations and became an international issue. Therefore, Toho, which is also expanding its business overseas, has decided not to use talent formerly belonging to Johnny’s. For the three, for whom movies are their main battlefield, it would be very difficult if they stopped receiving offers, so they hurriedly announced their independence.

This is a matter of life and death, especially for Okada, who has his sights set on expanding overseas in the future. Takuya Kimura (51), who, like the three, has starred in many Toho films, must be envious.

Talent belonging to the former Johnny’s will sign either an agent contract or an exclusive contract with the new company, whose name was publicly solicited from fans. The president of the new company is expected to be Jun Fukuda, 58, president of the consulting company “Speedy Corporation,” which is also the agent of actress Non (30), but as of November 24, the company name and new organization have not yet been announced.

President Noriyuki Higashiyama, 57, of SMILE-UP. is starring in a stage production of “Chocolate Donuts,” which will close with a Nagoya performance on November 23. It is said that since the show will end there, the announcement will be made after that.

The new company is expected to wipe out the “Johnny’s color,” but it seems unlikely that Ikuta, Okada, and Ninomiya, who have no ties to Fukuda, who is expected to be at the top of the company, will sign an agent’s contract now.

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Okada is the first active former Johnny’s talent to win the Japan Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He has this aura even in the scene where he just comes out of the station (April ’21).
In “My Family” (TBS), Ninomiya passionately played a father who is trying to solve his daughter’s kidnapping case. The year before this, he became a father in his private life as well (March ’22).
Ikuta visited a shrine in Tokyo to pray for the successful filming of the drama. This year, his role as a dark hero in “Inspector Daimajin” (TV Asahi) is the talk of the town.
  • PHOTO Yusuke Kondo (Okada, Ninomiya), Yuri Adachi (Ikuta)

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