Kento Nakajima’s Departure Marks a Timeless Transformation, Initial Reactions Divide | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kento Nakajima’s Departure Marks a Timeless Transformation, Initial Reactions Divide

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The moment they announced the new group name, comments like cool and nice were prominent. (From the official YouTube channel)

On April 1st, Sexy Zone announced a group name change to “timelesz” and also revealed plans to hold auditions to recruit new members.

With Kento Nakajima’s departure at the end of March, the group shifted to a three-member lineup consisting of Fuma Kikuchi, Shori Sato, and So Matsushima. While it seems, they aim to power up by adding new members, there has been backlash from fans.

The group made their CD debut in November 2011 under the same title as their group name, “Sexy Zone.” Originally a five-member group, they underwent changes with the departure of Marius Yo (who retired from the entertainment industry on December 31, 2022) and Nakajima, leading to the trio’s activities starting in April this year.

“On April 1st, Kikuchi and the others conducted a live stream on the group’s official YouTube channel. They announced the new group name as ‘timelesz’ and reported that they would embark on their first arena tour as a trio in June. The chat section during the live stream was flooded with comments expressing joy,” stated an entertainment writer.

However, shortly after, Kikuchi shocked fans by stating, “In order to liven up timelesz with us, we will hold auditions for new members!” This statement prompted negative reactions in the chat section, with comments like “No way,” “We don’t need new members,” and “We prefer the trio,” along with suspicions about April Fool’s Day due to the date.

“Nevertheless, Kikuchi, Sato, and Matsushima addressed the fans with serious expressions. In order to gain the fans’ understanding regarding the addition of new members, Kikuchi confessed, ‘We wanted to make it like an audition program,’ and further explained, ‘We reached this decision because we felt that a major reform is necessary for future leaps,'” added the entertainment writer.

The special audition website specifies that male applicants aged 18 to 30 who can work in Japan and are not affiliated with entertainment agencies or groups, including juniors, are eligible to apply, regardless of experience or self-recommendation.

They also mentioned that they are looking for individuals who have respect for Sexy Zone’s past activities, and details about the audition schedule will be announced on the special website after May.

“While there were fans who sent messages like ‘We’ll support whatever the trio decides!’ the chat section mostly displayed confusion and reserved responses,” added the same source.

Amidst this, fellow seniors from STARTO ENTERTAINMENT commented on timelesz’s member recruitment on social media. KinKi Kids’ Koichi Domoto mentioned on his Instagram Stories, “I’ve been in the entertainment industry for 32 years, I’m 45 years old. Can’t I apply for the new member position? Is double booking not allowed?” He threw this question to the timelesz side. Furthermore, KAT-TUN’s YUICHI NAKAMARU and RYUICHI UEDA also expressed their enthusiasm to participate in the audition on Instagram, generating buzz.

“Koichi-kun, this is too funny.”

“They’re making jokes while also promoting their juniors. It’s the best.”

“Seniors creating a humorous atmosphere made me feel their love for timelesz.”

However, such support from their peers seems futile as many fans are considering “graduating” (leaving the fandom) from timelesz. On social media:

“I’m not going to the tour anymore because I’m going to graduate.”

“I’ll watch the concert of the three members and then graduate. Thank you for everything until now.”

“I can only support the trio. I might quit the fan club after this tour. If I don’t win tickets, I think I’ll graduate at that time.”

“If I’m going to graduate, this is the timing. If I drag it until the tour, it might become even harder when new members join.”

Negative opinions like these are rampant. Will there be a bright future awaiting timelesz members and fans after this major reform?

  • PHOTO Yusuke Kondo (Kento Nakajima), Yuri Adachi (Fuma Kikuchi)

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