Sushi at Ochayamizu: STARTO’s “Change” and “Alternative Special Treatment” for the “Old J” Reporters. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Sushi at Ochayamizu: STARTO’s “Change” and “Alternative Special Treatment” for the “Old J” Reporters.

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Shingo Murakami of “SUPER EIGHT” (left), Ryosuke Yamada of “Hey! Say! JUMP” (middle), and Fuma Kikuchi of “timelesz” performed at the dome concert on October 10.

STARTO ENTERTAINMENT (STARTO), the new company that took over the management of Johnny’s from the former Johnny’s Office (now SMILE-UP.), has been in full swing since this month and held a concert “WE ARE! Let’s get the party STARTO! was held at the Tokyo Dome on October 10.

Each sports paper reported the event extensively. It has been customary since the days of the former Johnny’s’s for the sports papers to report extensively on the events organized by the entire office, but behind the scenes, a slight “change” was taking place.

Until now, only the “journalists in charge of Johnny’s,” or “J-Yo” for short, from each sports paper would cover the concert at the main venue, and afterwards, before the performance, the audience was treated to a meal. However, the interviews have ceased, and now it seems that even if they are served, they are served only water or tea. It is not clear whether it can be said to have been replaced, but it has become customary for the talent to see off the media and others who came to cover the show after the performance.

(A TV station source said, “Before the sexual assault scandal involving the late Johnny’s founder, Janie Kitagawa, caused a major uproar last year, the “preferential treatment” given to the “J-boys” by the various sports newspapers was quite significant.

For example, “Only J-supporters were given lectures on important information released by the former Johnny’s, gifts were delivered to their homes on their birthdays, and they were given priority in obtaining tickets to concerts of their own talents. It is not only sports newspapers. The “business trip” to Hawaii in September 2002 for Arashi’s Hawaii tour, which was revealed in a TBS program last November that examined the relationship with the former Johnny’s office, also became a topic of conversation.

Once I was sent to cover a story on behalf of the reporter in charge and had dinner with Mr. Janney. I think I ate very expensive sushi. It seems that at the site of the interview where Mr. Janney was coming, I was interviewed around Mr. Janney and had dinner with him.

However, when the old Johnny’s changed its name to SMILE-UP. last October and a new organization was formed, the way of dealing with J-supporters seemed to have changed drastically.

On March 16, the “A! group” announced at a concert held at Kyocera Dome Osaka that they would make their CD debut on May 15 with the release of the single “《A》BEGINNING” from Universal Music. The news was reported extensively by various sports papers, but behind the scenes, this is what happened.

Before that, it used to be the norm for the former Johnny’s to pay for their own transportation and lodging on their business trips. However, on the day of the Osaka trip, the companies had to pay for their own travel expenses. Some people asked, “Is it really necessary to go to such lengths to make a big story out of it?

Some things have not changed, such as giving gifts to the press at the time of the marriage announcement. However, it seems that the “reforms” under the new regime are progressing steadily enough to confuse the media.

In January of this year, “Shukan Bunshun” (literary magazine) reported that the desks of NTV’s information programs were sending faxes to the former Johnny’s to obtain tickets on a preferential basis. Until now, it has been common practice to give “preferential treatment” for tickets to people in the media, but there are whispers that this may no longer be the case.

This may mean that the relationship between the office and the media, especially the sports papers, is finally beginning to approach that of “equals. The media, which was criticized by the BBC’s Mobyn Azar for “ignoring this issue for decades” in the wake of last year’s sexual assault scandal, must also refresh its awareness of the issue.

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Yamada on location for the drama “Dear me, I’m going to kill you” (Fuji TV) in August 2010 in strong winds (September 2, 2010 issue).
Kikuchi was smiling and giving a divine response to fans on location for the drama “Fight Song” (TBS) in a shopping arcade (March 11, 2010 issue).
In July 2010, Murakami served as MC at an event held 1,000 days before the opening of the Osaka Expo.
  • PHOTO Yoshito Murata (Yamada), Yusuke Kondo (Kikuchi), Kazuhiko Nakamura (Murakami)

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