Number_i’s Dance Showcase on NHK Music Program Sparks Discussion on Reshaping Japanese Perception of Idols | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Number_i’s Dance Showcase on NHK Music Program Sparks Discussion on Reshaping Japanese Perception of Idols

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The three members of “Number_i,” who have returned to NHK, are causing a stir as their success is said to be reshaping the Japanese perspective on idols.

King & Prince’s former members, Number_i (Yuta Kishi, Yuta Jinguji, Sho Hirano), debuted with their 1st digital single “GOAT” on January 1st this year. On March 2nd, they made their television debut as Number_i on NHK’s music program “Venue101” extended edition. Performing “GOAT” on the show, they received widespread praise from both their fellow performers and viewers, marking an excellent start.

The trio left King & Prince on May 22nd last year. Subsequently, they each left the former Johnny’s agency and joined the company TOBE, led by Hideaki Takizawa. Following Jinguji and Hirano’s announcement of joining TOBE on July 7th, Kishi joined them on October 15th. They announced the formation of the new unit, Number_i, with the three of them.

After a preparation period, they made their digital debut with “GOAT” on January 1st this year. The dance for the song was choreographed by the world-renowned dancer and choreographer, RIEHATA, resulting in a song filled with the unique charms of the three, different from their time with King & Prince.

On the night of March 2nd, they appeared on the live broadcast of “Venue101.” Alongside Number_i, other acts such as THE RAMPAGE from EXILE TRIBE, K-pop group ATEEZ, and TWS were also featured, with some cross-talk about dance among the four groups. Despite the presence of other popular boy groups, Number_i took the stage as the finale. They showcased their sharp rap skills and dynamic dance moves.

“THE RAMPAGE’s Shogo Yamamoto praised Number_i, saying ‘I really love it (‘GOAT’). The rap skills of the three are too amazing.’ After the performance, he added, ‘It’s amazing. They were so cool!’ Furthermore, the show’s MC, Hamaguchi Takakazu from Kamaitachi, excitedly said, ‘My vocabulary is lacking, but they were too cool. They were incredibly addictive. I want to see them again,'” according to an entertainment writer.

Viewers were also impressed by Number_i’s singing and dancing:

“Number_i’s three members must have felt a lot of pressure on stage after a long time, but they showed us the best performance. I look forward to their future activities!”

“I didn’t think they were bad at dancing even during their King & Prince days, but watching this song made me realize how good they are at dancing.”

“It was overwhelming. Their dance and singing were amazing, reminding us of the high potential of Number_i.”

Such was the level of excitement and admiration from viewers for Number_i’s performance.

In response to such reactions, the news site ENCOUNT published an article titled “Number_i’s First TV Appearance, Last Appearance by the 5 Members of King & Prince, Impressive Performance Elicits Really Touched Responses.” The article mentioned that “Venue101” was a live broadcast show where the three members appeared for the last time as King & Prince on May 20th last year.

Additionally, journalist and Yahoo! News Expert Soichiro Matsuya commented on the same article distributed on Yahoo! News. He pointed out that the 2010s were a time when dance and music were often neglected.

However, he explained that the theme of this program was not idols or entertainment, but strictly focused on dance. He evaluated, “Number_i’s performance also felt like the era had finally started to move forward from the traditional expectations of idols focused solely on charm or the entanglements of entertainment towards a strong paradigm shift towards dance and music.

“Nowadays, the idol world demands authentic singing and dancing. Apart from the former Johnny’s groups, in recent years, male dance and vocal groups have made remarkable advances. In 2021, the 5-member dance and vocal group Da-iCE won the Grand Prize at the 63rd Japan Record Awards with ‘CITRUS.’ The 11-member global boys group JO1 and the 7-member dance and vocal group BE:FIRST appeared in the ‘NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen’ for two consecutive years in 2022 and 2023,” as mentioned by the aforementioned entertainment writer.

With numerous young K-pop artists making their debut in what is often referred to as the Boy Group Warring States Era, amidst fierce competition, what kind of activities will Number_i undertake in the future?


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  • PHOTO Kazuhiko Nakamura (1st photo: Hirano), Yusuke Kondo (1st photo: Kishi), Ippei Hara (1st photo: Jinguji)

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