INI, JO1, M!LK, and SPAfull …… are the hottest non-japanese idols. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

INI, JO1, M!LK, and SPAfull …… are the hottest non-japanese idols.

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Which group will become the new “national boy group”?

With the announcement of the contestants for NHK’s “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” the season of major music special programs toward the end of the year has arrived again this year. As a result of the series of incidents involving the former Johnny’s (now SMILE-UP.), there have been more and more opportunities for boy dance vocal groups affiliated with other companies to appear in these special programs and in regular music programs.

However, it may be difficult to tell which one is which when all these boy groups appear at once, and now that we are in the midst of the age of “rivalry among the best,” let us take a look at the groups in a very rough way.

Groups Linked to Audition Programs

First of all, there are groups that were born in conjunction with audition programs. One such group is ” JO1,” which was born as part of the “PRODUCE 101 JAPAN” series (also known as “Nippu”), the Japanese version of the “PRODUCE 101” open audition program that originated in Korea, and held its first dome concert in late November. 1 ” (debuted in 2008, 11 members), and ” INI ” (debuted in 2009, 11 members), the second group to be born in the series and scheduled to hold their first dome performance in February next year. (*The third round, currently underway, is an audition for a girl group.)

JO1 (©LAPONE Entertainment) performed their first dome concert at Kyocera Dome Osaka on November 24 and 25.

The “Nizi Project,” a Japan-Korea joint audition by Sony Music and the Korean entertainment agency JYP, which produced the girl group NiziU and was comprehensively produced by J.Y. Park, is currently in the final stage of “Season 2” to select the final members for the boy group auditions. The Nizi Project, which produced the girl group NiziU, is now in the final stages of its Season 2 auditions for boy groups.

These groups are co-sponsored by Korea, and their visuals and performances are characterized by elements of K-POP.

BE:FIRST, which will be participating in “Kohaku” for the second time, is a seven-member group that was created in 2009 through “THE FIRST,” an audition held by SKY-HI at a cost of over 100 million yen. This fall, they will make their first appearance on “MSTE”, and in November, they will embark on their first arena tour.

BE:FIRST will participate in “Kohaku” for the second time (from their official website).

The collaboration of INI, BE:FIRST, and Naniwa Danshi, three “debutantes” in the recently broadcast music special program “Best Hit Song Festival 2023” (Yomiuri TV/NTV), also attracted a lot of attention as an event symbolizing the trend of the collapse of the wall. The collaboration between INI, BE:FIRST, and Naniwa Danshi, three groups that had debuted together, attracted a lot of attention.

In terms of “Kohaku,” the group ” Stoppuri,” which made its first appearance on the Kohaku, is a group with an unusual stance in that its activities are centered on live broadcasting and the members do not expose their faces except at live stages and live events. Currently, four of the six members are on the stage, and it remains to be seen how they will perform in Kohaku (red and white), and how they will make their presence known to the public.

Although they are slightly different from so-called idol groups, they have built a solid foundation ahead of the rise of audition groups that follow the trend of K-POP, such as GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE, THE RAMPAGE from EXILE TRIBE, and FANTASTICS from EXILE TRIBE. TRIBE, and FANTASTICS from EXILE TRIBE, all of whom belong to LDH.

Independent” boy groups

DISH//, to which Takumi Kitamura belongs and whose “Neko” (Cat) was a big hit, and Da-iCE, which won a record award the year before last, have each spread their recognition with hit songs.

LK, a five-member group from the same Stardust Promotion as DISH///, one of whose members, Yuto Sano, is also an actor of note, released their first album in June of this year and are scheduled to hold their first arena concert in October, both of which will mark their 10th year since their formation.

DISH///, which includes Takumi Kitamura, who is also active in TV dramas, and whose “Neko” was a big hit (from their official website).

There is more.

The seven-member group THE SUPER FRUIT, whose debut song “Chig Hag” was a big hit on TikTok last year, and the six-member group Panda Dragon, whose song “Pa LIFE! Panda Dragon, another TikTok group of six, will likely be seen more often on TikTok and on music programs.

Last year, THE SUPER FRUIT won the grand prize of the “TikTok Buzzword Award 2022.

And 7ORDER, which made its major debut in 2009, had seven (now six) members at the time of its debut, all of whom belonged to the former Johnny’s office ( INI also has one former Johnny’s Jr. member active). The group has steadily built up a track record of successful performances at the Budokan and in arenas one after another, and each member has a wealth of experience in drama and stage productions. We can expect to see more of them on terrestrial TV in the future, and we can also expect to see them performing together with their former friends in an emo-like setting.

Needless to say, the activities of Number_I and IMP., which are sent out by TOBE established by Hideaki Takizawa, are also in full swing and are sure to be a major topic of conversation in ’24.

Young “K-POP” boy groups

In addition to SEVENTEEN and Stray Kids, which will make their first appearance in this year’s Kohaku, young K-pop boy groups such as&TEAM, ENHYPEN, TREASURE, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, ASTRO, and NCT 127 are also expected to gain more and more exposure in the Japanese media. With the predicted increase in exposure in the Japanese media, it is highly likely that Japanese groups, Korean groups, and Japan-Korea joint groups will thrive in a flat environment.

SEVENTEEN, who are making their first appearance in this year’s “Kohaku” (PHOTO: AFRO)

And the old Johnny’s group “strikes back.

Of course, the former Johnny’s groups, which have signed new agency contracts or become independent, will also begin to “strike back.” In a sense, they will start their activities under the same environment and conditions, and the division of power will become even more extreme.

On the 15th, NHK will radically revamp “The Shonen Club,” the music program in which the former Johnny’s Jr. and other members played a central role, and change its name to “New Generation! and that idols, artists, and talents from other companies will also appear on the program, so we can expect to see them perform together.

In 2012, which group will make a major breakthrough and become the new “national boy group”? First of all, we would like to learn at least the names and attributes of the groups.

  • Interview and text Satoru Ota

    Writer, editor, interviewer. Started writing when he was a student, and currently writes mainly entertainment articles and interviews for the web and magazines.

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