TOBE Talent Exploits Disaster as Takizawa’s Actions Backfire | FRIDAY DIGITAL

TOBE Talent Exploits Disaster as Takizawa’s Actions Backfire

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Hideaki Takizawa has been criticized on SNS for providing food for the victims of the earthquake.

TOBE Talent, an agency founded by former Johnny’s executive Takizawa Hideaki, has seen several former Johnny’s talents join its ranks. After an earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture on January 1, TOBE talents visited the evacuation center at Jinmi City Rinzan Junior High School, engaging in relief efforts. While local residents express gratitude, there are skeptical opinions on social media.

The TOBE artists, including former V6 member Ken Miyake, members of the 7-person idol group IMP., and former King & Prince member currently active as Number_i, Yuta Jinguji, arrived at the scene. On January 6, the news site NEWS Post Seven reported on the relief efforts with the headline, “Yuta Jinguji made rice cakes for the elderly. Revealed by a junior high school teacher at the evacuation center.”

The TOBE team, according to a woman in her 70s who took refuge at the Rikuzen Junior High School in Wajima City, arrived around noon on the 4th. They served curry and hamburgers, and the elderly woman mentioned, “The curry had an authentic flavor with the aroma of tomatoes. It seemed homemade, a bit spicy, but Yuta Jinguji announced, ‘If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can just have the hamburger.'”

Around 800 people experienced the TOBE talents serving food, posing for photos with evacuees at the shelter. Additionally, a male teacher in his 40s at the same junior high school testified that they provided sweet porridge on the 5th. Concerning the size of the mochi in the sweet porridge, when advised that it might cause trouble for the elderly if too large, Jinguji said, “I see, thank you for letting us know,” and proceeded to chop it into smaller pieces.

Local newspaper Hokuriku Chunichi Shimbun (dated January 6) also reported on the cooking event in Wajima. In the article, a 26-year-old woman staying at the shelter expressed, “I was feeling down, but they came here, and it lifted my spirits. Everyone evacuating seemed happy too.” This sentiment was also shared on social media.

“At Wajima Middle School, Mr. Takizawa, Mr. Jinguji, Mr. Miyake, and others came and provided cooking and cleanup. I got to take a photo with Mr. Jinguji, and he looked cool. We also had curry and it really lifted our spirits!”
“I thought there were a lot of handsome guys, but they were wearing masks, so I couldn’t see their faces. The curry had a good kick of spice and was delicious.”

These are just a few of the posts from people who were probably at the soup kitchen. On the other hand, however, the details of how TOBE had organized the soup kitchen were not yet known, and the timing of their arrival at the site was criticized.

“There are also harsh criticisms about the curry and the rice cakes in the porridge provided at the relief site. Most of the comments are from TOBE’s antis, saying, ‘Bringing spicy curry and large rice cakes to the disaster area is not suitable. Did no one realize?’ ‘The menu for TOBE’s relief efforts, with slightly spicy curry and porridge with rice cakes that can pose a choking hazard. What they are doing is no different from annoying YouTubers.” according to an entertainment writer.

On the 8th, TOBE’s official X (former Twitter) reported on their volunteer activities.

“Triggered by a single contact, it was discovered that there was a stranded family in Ishikawa Prefecture. With minimal battery power on their phones and intermittent signal reception, they were able to make momentary contact. Given the detailed information, we first contacted the relevant parties, discussed the possibility of our direct visit to the site, and obtained approval. Subsequently, leveraging the knowledge gained from our years of volunteer activities, we gathered the maximum available supplies, loaded work tools onto a truck, and aimed for Rokkasho City, Ishikawa Prefecture on the night of January 3. We returned to Tokyo on January 6.”

He also mentioned the details of his activities in the area.

“Given the ambiguity in TOBE’s statement, there’s widespread confusion and criticism, with comments such as, ‘Why would a talent agency like TOBE go to the trouble of visiting the site just because they learned about a stranded family in Ishikawa?’ ‘What does their knowledge from years of volunteer activities have to do with serving spicy curry and rice cakes in sweet porridge?’ ‘Do young talents have experience in volunteering? It’s not a field trip!'”

However, as mentioned above, the local people were thrilled.

“Thank you so much, TOBE team, in spite of the danger. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“I’m sure the disaster victims can understand how grateful they are to be able to enjoy a hot meal. It’s not enough to criticize anything.”

There were many people who praised the energy of President Takizawa and his team. However, it is probably true that they went to the site on a spur of the moment, as the social networking sites had pointed out.

Unlike the annoying YouTubers, they already have enough publicity, so there should be no reason for them to use the disaster as a publicity stunt. They should have been careful not to be labeled as the same as the annoying YouTubers who use the disaster as a publicity stunt.

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  • PHOTO Makoto Kuwata

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