While Hirano Sho Experiences Great Success, Kimura Takuya, Aiba Masaki, and Sakurai Sho Face Struggles Despite Past Prominence | FRIDAY DIGITAL

While Hirano Sho Experiences Great Success, Kimura Takuya, Aiba Masaki, and Sakurai Sho Face Struggles Despite Past Prominence

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Takuya Kimura had appeared in many commercials, but has been struggling this year

Former member of King & Prince, currently active as a member of Number_i, Hirano Sho. Since transferring to Takizawa Hideaki’s company, TOBE, he has been appointed as the image character for various companies and products one after another, showing remarkable progress. Meanwhile, talents formerly affiliated with Johnny & Associates (now SMILE-UP.) such as Kimura Takuya are facing a situation where their commercial appearances are decreasing across the board.


On January 1st of this year, Hirano made his debut alongside former King & Prince members Kishi Yuta and Jinguji Yuta with the 1st digital single “GOAT.” Individually, he has been appointed as the new CM character for Suntory Gin “SUI” and the new CM has been aired nationwide since February 10th. Additionally, he appeared in a commercial for Digital Hollywood University in February, which was published online and aired as a special TV commercial for one night on the 16th.

Furthermore, he has been appointed as the image character for the contact lens series “Bausch + Lomb Aqua Lux.” Since serving as the image character for the one-day disposable contact lens “Bausch + Lomb Aqua Lux One-Day UV Shin” in 2022 during his time with King & Prince, he has entered into a “re-contract” with Bausch + Lomb.

According to Bausch + Lomb’s website, during Hirano’s tenure, there was “significant attention such as increasing the official SNS account followers tenfold” (verbatim). As of March 1st, it has not been revealed whether a new CM has been produced, but Hirano is expected to “appear in various promotions for the Bausch + Lomb Aqua Lux series” in the future.

“Hirano, whose momentum is unstoppable, has been appointed as the new image character for Ikeda Mohando’s itch and insect bite medicine ‘Liquid Muhi S’ and ‘Muhi Alpha EX series.’ This marks Hirano’s appointment after two years, and according to an article from ‘ORICON NEWS’ (distributed on March 21st), ‘From mid-March onwards, store boards and POP displays will be sequentially set up in pharmacies and drugstores nationwide.’ With the approach of summer, when demand for insect bite medicines increases, there is also the possibility of shooting a new CM” (Entertainment Writer).

Speaking of Hirano, on January 5th, he announced on his Instagram that he had entered into a partnership with the global fashion brand “Louis Vuitton.” On the 10th of the same month, he was appointed as the Asia Ambassador for Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Line “Yves Saint Laurent Beaute” and appeared in a web CM for YSL Icon Lipstick “Rouge Pur Couture.” Most recently, he attended an event for the new product “YSL Love Shine Lipstick” held in Paris, France (March 25th local time).

On the other hand, last year, following the sexual misconduct allegations involving the late Johnny Kitagawa, companies that had been using talents from the former Johnny & Associates in their advertisements began announcing a policy of not renewing contracts one after another. For instance, even among individual talents reigning at the top, Kimura has seen the end of his contracts with Look Optical Japan, McDonald’s Japan, and Open House since the beginning of this year.

As of March 30th, the official website, FAMILY CLUB Official Site, lists Cube (MARK & LONA), Sega, Nissan Motor, Recruit Jobs (Town Work), Taisho Pharmaceutical, and Japan Sports Promotion Center in the CM section. The new CM for the golf apparel brand “MARK & LONA” began airing sequentially from March 19th, but information on other new TV commercials has not been disclosed.

“Besides Kimura, the number of commercials featuring prominent talents from the former Johnny & Associates has significantly decreased. Prior to the sexual misconduct allegations, Arashi’s Sakurai Sho, Aiba Masaki, and Jr. group Snow Man appeared in commercials for Asahi Beverage Company’s product ‘Mitsuya Cider.’ However, in February of this year, Asahi announced that actor Yokohama Ryusei and the music duo Ikimonogakari (Yoshioka Hitoe and Mizuno Yoshiki) would be featured in the advertisement for the same product. Sakurai’s contract with Aflac Life Insurance and Aiba’s contract with Tokyo Marine & Nichido have also ended” (source).


Additionally, according to the FAMILY CLUB Official Site, TOKIO is currently contracted with Fumakilla, Fukushima Prefecture’s “Locally Produced Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery Products PR Project,” Marugame Seimen, Art Nature (Shimojo Shige), and Marumiya Food Industry (Kokubun Taichi). Previously, Your Meister, Japanet Takata (Kokubun), Sapporo Beer (Matsushita Masahiro), and Vertex (Matsushita) were also listed in the CM section but seem to have been removed since October last year.

STARTO ENTERTAINMENT, the new management company for former Johnny & Associates talents, will officially start operating in April. Will talents under STARTO be able to compete with the momentum of Hirano?

  • PHOTO Yusuke Kondo

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