Kohaku” with record low ratings, “Cowcon” is now “Runaway”… Johnny’s’s disappearing TV programs for the year-end and New Year’s holidays. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kohaku” with record low ratings, “Cowcon” is now “Runaway”… Johnny’s’s disappearing TV programs for the year-end and New Year’s holidays.

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New Year’s Eve, when Johnny’s was very active…

The end and beginning of the year 2011-2012 passed by without the old Johnny’s (now SMILE-UP., hereafter referred to as “Johnny’s” for the sake of convenience) on the terrestrial wave (almost).

The year-end and New Year’s holidays in recent years, or even for the past 10 years, have left a strong impression of the great activities of Johnny’s, especially on New Year’s Eve when “Johnny’s Countdown” (Fuji TV) and “NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen” are aired. As many people know, the countdown concert itself was cancelled, and the Kohaku Uta Gassen also lost its long-running lineup of Johnny’s singers.

Many people who do not actively consume Johnny’s on a daily basis still watch these two programs. In the Kohaku in 2008, seven groups, accounting for about one-third of the white groups, were active, and Masahiro Nakai and members of Arashi even served as hosts. Although the number of singers in this oligopoly has sometimes been called into question, the Kohaku stage and their spectacular performances were a perfect match, and there is no doubt that they livened up the New Year’s Eve viewing area.

The “NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen,” in which the former Johnny’s group’s participation ceased… (from NHK’s official website)

In the aftermath of the Kohaku, the live broadcast of the countdown concert, known as “Cowcon,” started immediately after the Kohaku ended. Fresh faces and veteran groups alike will gather on the Tokyo Dome stage to perform a medley of their many hit songs one after another in glittering costumes, on stage, and on stage. In some cases, CD debuts were announced on the spot. These events may have even become a recent tradition, fitting with the festive mood of the New Year.

However, they have disappeared entirely. Did the disappearance of Johnny’s have any impact on other New Year’s Eve and New Year’s specials besides these two programs?

The performance of “Kohaku” was possible only because of the absence of the old Johnny’s.

First, “NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen”. Some may have thought that non-Johnny’s boy groups such as BE:FIRST and JO1 had replaced Johnny’s, but these two groups were participating for the second time in a row. In addition to them, two male K-pop groups, SEVENTEEN and Stray Kids, decided to participate for the first time this year and gave spectacular performances, which was also impressive.

If you are not an avid Japanese fan, there may not be much difference in terms of the overall volume of song and dance performances that the boy groups can attract. To put it another way, it is not that the Johnny’s songs of recent years were all songs known by men and women of all ages in the tea room. If there was a difference, it might have been the difference in the advantage of impressions of names such as “Kimpuri” or “Snow Man” or roughly the faces of some members or the melodies of the choruses of tie-in songs due to their appearances in various dramas, commercials, variety shows, etc. The impression was “Oh, I know this group (or song),” or “I know this girl.”

The decisive difference in the absence of Johnny’s was the performance of “Idol” by YOASOBI, which drew a great deal of attention. As in the concept of the song, Japanese and Korean boy groups, female idols, and selected members of the red and white idol categories appeared one after another during the song and performed brilliant dances, unifying the audience and strongly impressing them with the existence and concept of “idols”.

Many people thought that this performance would not have been possible had it not been for Johnny’s, who were not interested in being side by side or in the pecking order. In fact, I think that would have been the case. It was a performance by YOASOBI that seemed to accelerate the argument that Johnny’s is no longer necessary for major singing shows.

How was Fuji TV, which did not broadcast “Cowcon”? Fuji TV aired the program from 19:00 to 24:30 as a New Year’s Eve SP of the popular variety show “Escape from Japan” and passed the year during the program’s broadcast. Viewers who had been looking forward to the live broadcast of Cowcon every year may have been saddened by the absence of the event, and viewers who customarily move to a Fuji TV channel after Kohaku may have said, “Oh, well, where should I watch it this year?

Singers and groups from the former Johnny’s s office who participated in “NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen” (Kyodo News)

On YouTube channels, fan club sites, and at the Imperial Theatre…the former Johnny’s

Did the old Johnny’s disappear completely during the year-end and New Year’s holidays? Of course not.

For example, the TBS broadcast of “CDTV Live! Live! (formerly Johnny’s WEST) and Travis Japan performed on the live New Year’s Eve broadcast of “CDTV Live! However, WEST. appeared during the time slot that usually coincides with Cowcon, which is a back-up program, so it was a rare opportunity to see Johnny’s live on terrestrial TV during that time slot, and although it was only one group and on a different station, it was a rare opportunity to bring the air of Johnny’s to the audience over the New Year’s Eve. The backstage group was a precious presence to deliver the air of “Johnny’s” to the audience.

On January 1, “Santaku” (Fuji TV). This program was broadcast as usual, and Takuya Kimura appeared on the program. Snow Man also appeared as a guest (the program was interrupted due to the earthquake that occurred on the same day). On the same night, “Monday kara yoru fukashi New Year’s Day SP” (NTV) with Shingo Murakami of Kanjani Eight as MC was aired.

Although popular special programs with Johnny’s talent as main MCs, such as “San Taku” and “Yofukashi,” were broadcast, it can be said that the old Johnny’s were thoroughly excluded from the Kohaku and other year-end and New Year’s special programs in which they appeared as one of the performers, except for “CDTV.

On the other hand, the ex-johnny’s group was seen here and there, such as Ken Miyake in “Ito’s Family Dining Table” (Nippon TV), Masahiro Nakai in “WBC 2023 Omisoka Live Special,” and Shingo Katori in Mitsuyoshi Uchimura’s show. So, where were the Japanese?

So where were the Johnny’s, Kis-My-Ft2, WEST., King & Prince, Snow Man, SixTONES, Naniwa Boys, and Travis Japan? JUMP also appealed to many fans by holding an additional Tokyo Dome concert on New Year’s Eve, while HiHi Jets, Bishonen, and Shonen Ninja started a new stage production at the Imperial Theater.

The treatment of the old Johnny’s on TV, especially on terrestrial TV, continues to be a headwind, or is likely to become even stronger. NHK will start a new music program to replace “The Boys Club,” and popular junior members will resume their appearances.

Will the day come when the old Johnny’s will be back in the spotlight again, or will other popular idols (and not just boy idols) fill their places? This is one of the trends to watch in 2012.

  • Text Satoru Ota

    Writer, editor, and interviewer. He has been a writer since he was a student, and currently writes mainly entertainment articles and interviews for websites and magazines.

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