Reebok President’s Revelation and Meguro Ren’s Direct Contract Spark Speculation | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Reebok President’s Revelation and Meguro Ren’s Direct Contract Spark Speculation

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Ren Meguro of “Snow Man” signed a commercial contract as an individual. The contract issue with Starto is still unclear.

What is happening to “STARTO ENTERTAINMENT” (STARTO) led by President Jun Fukuda?

On March 6th, Yosuke Tanaka, the president of the sports brand “Reebok Japan,” updated his X (former Twitter) account. He announced the end of the annual contract with SixTONES, with whom the company had been collaborating. In his statement, Tanaka expressed gratitude to the group and mentioned that discussions had been ongoing for contract continuation, but:


“Due to various discussions arising, such as changes in the management structure at Start Company, and how this affects the members and fans, it has taken time to adjust.”

After this post caused a stir, the president deleted it. Some fans expressed indignation, believing that they lost their jobs due to Start Company’s mishandling.

The company, formerly known as Johnny & Associates, changed its name and now manages talent and operates as an agent. In April, they are planning to hold a long-awaited live event involving all talents at the Tokyo Dome. According to music industry insiders,

“Intending to showcase their continued vitality both internally and externally.”

However, up to now, Junichi Okada, Kazunari Ninomiya, and Toma Ikuta have left the agency. Tsuyoshi Domoto will also leave by the end of March. Even though Ninomiya and Domoto are leaving the agency, their activities with “Arashi” and “KinKi Kids” respectively will not be affected.

Furthermore, with Snow Man’s Ryo Miyadate directly contracting with Kirin Brewery and Kirin Beverage, it has become possible for individuals to enter into sponsorship contracts. This raises the question:

“Do we really need to be with Start Company?”

The varying degrees of interest among TV stations regarding this company have become clear.

NHK has halted the recruitment of new former Johnny’s talents in response to the late Johnny Kitagawa’s sexual misconduct allegations. Fuji TV announced the end of three programs by the end of March: “KinKi Kids no Bunbuboon,” “Tokio no Tokitabi,” and “SUPER EIGHT no Ato wa Jiyuu ni.” Hey! Say! JUMP’s “Itadaki High Jump” will be moved to a late-night time slot as a new program, and Aiba Masaki’s “Ki7 x Bu” will be moved to Saturday afternoons at 4:30 pm as a 30-minute program. An executive at the station commented on the background,

“The issue of sponsors is also involved in the restructuring.”


“We have made a comprehensive decision.”

They explained. TV station personnel provided additional information.


“Even though the agency changed its name to ‘Start Company,’ there are multiple sponsors who have reservations about employing their talents. It’s said that Ninomiya’s announcement of independence last October was also out of consideration for the Fuji TV drama ‘ONE DAY〜Holy Night Ruckus〜’ which was broadcast around the same time.

Meguro Ren is scheduled to star in Fuji TV’s Monday 9 p.m. drama in the July season. There are rumors that Kirin will advertise in this drama. Perhaps Meguro’s direct contract with Kirin was also for this reason.”


On the other hand, Nippon TV promptly announced the resumption of hiring talents from Start Company. They will cast Yokoyama Yu in the new drama “Yakusoku ~16-nenme no Shinjitsu~” (produced by Yomiuri TV) starting on April 11.

Although Sakurai Sho’s “1 Oku 3000-mannin no SHOW Channel” and the Monday late-night drama slot “Shindora,” featuring former Johnny’s talents, will end in March, an executive from the same network explicitly clarified:

“It’s a comprehensive decision to adapt to the changing needs of television. It’s not a decision based on the actions of former Johnny’s talents.”

TV Asahi, on the other hand, is not so sure.

As for TV Asahi, Kimura Takuya’s starring drama is set to begin in April. In 2026, the president-initiated “Tokyo Dream Park” is scheduled to open at the Tokyo Ariake Pier, with a “Johnny’s Theater” planned as one of its highlights.

“TV Asahi is prepared to go along with Start Company. NHK and Fuji TV are keeping their distance. NTV and TBS are taking a case-by-case approach; of course, they want to hire, but they’ll be watching the sponsors’ reactions.” (Source: TV station insider)

Some of the talents at Start are still wondering whether they should stay with the company or leave it.

The new agency will be fully operational in April, but it seems that there are still many problems to be solved.

  • PHOTO Takero Shigumura

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