Backlash Erupts as Former Kanjani∞ Member Tadayoshi Okura’s Junior-Produced Project Sparks Shock Among Fans | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Backlash Erupts as Former Kanjani∞ Member Tadayoshi Okura’s Junior-Produced Project Sparks Shock Among Fans

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Tadayoshi Okura enjoying a trip to Bali with Yuriko Yoshitaka

In addition to his own idol activities, Tadayoshi Okura of SUPER EIGHT (formerly Kanjani∞) has been involved in producing projects for junior members of his agency in recent years. A new project led by Okura started recently, and as part of it, a video featuring two junior members was uploaded to YouTube. However, there was a major backlash initially as Okura attempted to reuse an existing channel, causing significant controversy right at the start of his project.


On March 2nd, at the Tokyo National Yoyogi Stadium’s First Gymnasium, in the fashion event “38th My Navi Tokyo Girls Collection 2024 SPRING/SUMMER,” junior unit members Shota Oriyama from Shonen Ninja and Taiyo Haku from Kansai Juniors made an appearance. This was reported as the first installment of Okura’s project aimed at “communicating idol × creativity for a new era,” with the two juniors from the east and west collaborating on stage.


Then, by the 3rd of March, teaser videos featuring Oriyama and Haku were uploaded to the YouTube channel “+81 DANCE STUDIO,” and the channel’s description was changed to “81 STUDIO evolves! A stage produced by Tadayoshi Okura!!” (verbatim, following the original text). Interestingly, “+81 DANCE STUDIO” originally belonged to Travis Japan, so the channel’s transformation sparked outrage among their fans.


“‘ +81 DANCE STUDIO’ was established in August 2021 as Travis Japan’s individual channel when they were still juniors. The concept was to showcase new choreography by Travis Japan, known for their high dance skills, set to classic songs from past Johnny’s groups.


However, Travis Japan went to study in Los Angeles, USA, in late March 2022. Consequently, regular updates stopped, and in September of the same year, the ‘2nd Season’ started. Groups like HiHi Jets and Bi Shonen inherited Travis Japan’s intentions and continued to dance across group boundaries,” according to an entertainment writer.


After their studies, Travis Japan debuted in October 2022, officially graduating from being juniors. “+81 DANCE STUDIO” had been in hiatus since the video released on April 3rd the previous year. Now, the channel’s transformation into “+81 STUDIO,” delivering Okura’s production stage, has been revealed.

However, for Travis Japan fans, “+81 DANCE STUDIO” held sentimental value. Additionally, there are separate channels on YouTube for juniors called “Junior CHANNEL” and “Junior CHANNEL+.” Therefore, on social media, negative opinions flooded in:

“Why does Travis Japan’s cherished channel have to be taken away? Don’t use the name ‘+81.'”

“The fact that Travis Japan’s mention disappeared from ‘+81 DANCE STUDIO’ channel is astonishing… If it’s going to change like this, create a different channel.”

“Why use ‘+81 DANCE STUDIO’? Do you hate Travis Japan?”

In response to this uproar, the channel name reverted to its original “+81 DANCE STUDIO,” and in a community post, an explanation was given: “We apologize for causing concern to our fans regarding the renewal of ‘+81 DANCE STUDIO.’ The renewal was intended to expand the range of expression on ‘+81 DANCE STUDIO,’ but considering the differences in direction between the new initiative and the existing channel, we have decided to launch a separate channel for the new creative project.”

“In the end, another channel bearing the name ‘+81 STUDIO’ was opened, and the main videos featuring Oriyama and Haku were uploaded there. Perhaps due to the negative image attached to it, the number of subscribers to the ‘hijacked’ ‘+81 DANCE STUDIO’ remains at 27000 (as of March 13), while the original channel has 441000 subscribers. It will take time to reach this level,” said the aforementioned writer.

On the 6th, Okura updated his personal blog on the membership site FAMILY CLUB web, apologizing, stating, “I deeply apologize to those who have been made uncomfortable.” Perhaps concerned about the criticism directed at the juniors, he sought understanding, saying, “Since the children are not at fault, I would appreciate it if you could refrain from using sharp words.”

Okura also disclosed that he considered this incident a lesson learned. He expressed his desire to continue guiding his juniors while prioritizing the feelings of fans and talents in the future.

  • PHOTO Shima Sota

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