The Dome Disappointment and Tragic Turn for Ae! Group’s Anticipated Performance | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Dome Disappointment and Tragic Turn for Ae! Group’s Anticipated Performance

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Richard Kusama (right) and Seiya Suezawa (left) of the Kansai-born Jr. group “Ae! group from Kansai, Richard Kusama (right) and Seiya Suezawa (left).

The five-member Kansai junior unit, Ae! group, held a fan meeting titled “Ae! group A Fan Appreciation Festival in Kyocera Dome Osaka ~Thank you everyone for your support~” at Kyocera Dome Osaka on March 16th and 17th.

There had been rumors circulating about their CD debut for some time, and they officially announced their debut during the event. However, just before the performance, tickets were reportedly being sold for as low as 500 yen on resale sites.

Ae! group was formed in February 2019, consisting of Seiya Suezawa, Richard Kusama Keita, Ryoki Shimon, Ken Kojima, Shoya Sano, and Daisei Fukumoto. They have been steadily gaining popularity and recognition for their talent.

“Junior groups have a YouTube channel called ‘Junior CHANNEL,’ featuring various units from Kansai juniors, including Ae! group and Lil kansai, alongside other groups like Shonen Ninja, 7 MEN Samurai, Beautiful Youth, and HiHi Jets. Each group uploads videos on different days, but Ae! group’s videos have the highest view count by far,” says an entertainment writer.

Last June, “Bunshun Online” reported that Ae! group’s CD debut was in the works. According to “Weekly Bunshun” (Bungeishunju), in the July 27, 2023 issue, they were scheduled to serve as special supporters at the Volleyball World Cup starting in September of the same year. However, these plans were derailed due to the sexual misconduct allegations against the founder of the agency, the late Johnny Kitagawa.

“At the end of last year, Fukumoto left the group. On December 30th, SMILE-UP. (formerly Johnny’s office) announced on their official website that they had discovered suspicion of compliance violations (verbatim) against Fukumoto. As a result of the investigation, they explained that they terminated the management contract with Fukumoto on the same day. With a fresh start, Ae! group continues their activities as a five-member group,” says the same source.

Despite these challenges, Ae! group has decided to hold a fan meeting at Kyocera Dome on March 16th and 17th. It is highly unusual for pre-debut junior groups to hold fan meetings at dome-sized venues, but it shows the high expectations the agency has for them.

And, just a few days before the actual performance on the 12th, it was revealed that the performance on the 16th would be live-streamed on FAMILY CLUB online. Upon hearing the news of the live stream, fans on social media expressed,

“Ae! group might announce their debut during the live stream of the fan meeting.”

“The fact that Ae! group’s live stream is confirmed means there must be something big, right? Is it time for their debut?”

“I thought they wouldn’t announce their debut yet, but if they’re doing a live stream, there might be a chance.”

“If Ae! group doesn’t announce their debut this time, when will they do it?”

There was growing excitement that they might finally announce their debut at the dome. And indeed, during the performance on the 16th, Ae! group declared that they would release their single “《A》BEGINNING” from Universal Music on May 15th and make their CD debut.


Fans and members alike must have breathed a sigh of relief at finally achieving their long-awaited debut. However, since this event was just a fan meeting at the dome, there were also concerns about attendance.

“Tickets for the fan meeting were being resold online. By the day before the performance on the 15th, the lowest price on a certain resale site was 500 yen. Since the tickets were priced at 4,000 yen for fan club members and 4,500 yen for the general public, it’s no wonder that all the ‘one-coin’ tickets seemed to have buyers, as they were marked as ‘in negotiation.’ However, despite being the day before, some were still unsold at 800 yen,” said the source.

Furthermore, viewing tickets for the live stream were priced at 2,500 yen for Junior Information Bureau (fan club) members and 2,980 yen for the general public (tax included). “It became a dire situation where it seemed more economical to buy resale tickets and attend the event in person rather than watch the live stream online. However, based on watching the live stream on the 16th, empty seats didn’t seem noticeable,” they added.

While it seems the stage wasn’t empty despite the challenges, one wonders if debuting at this timing will lead to success.

  • PHOTO Takero Yui

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles