Hirano Sho and Two Others, Growing Disparity in Number_i: Dark Clouds Surround Takizawa Hideaki’s Production Methods | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Hirano Sho and Two Others, Growing Disparity in Number_i: Dark Clouds Surround Takizawa Hideaki’s Production Methods

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Number_i” Jinguji (left), Hirano (center), and Kishi (right). Their performance since the group’s formation has been spectacular!

From May 11, a commercial for Suntory’s “Beer Hall” featuring the three-member group “Number_i,” consisting of Shiyou Hirano (27), Yuta Kishi (28), and Yuta Jinguji (26), has been aired, attracting much attention. One year after leaving “King & Prince” in May 2011, the three members have been the talk of the town in their new home.

They made their distribution debut with “GOAT” in January of this year, and have appeared on numerous commercial music programs; on April 15, they took the special stage at the world’s largest music festival “Coachella” in the U.S. On May 27, they released their mini album “No.O─ring─” and in June The group will hold a live concert at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo in June with the album in tow.

With their breakthrough, Hideaki Takizawa (42), president of their entertainment agency TOBE, is trying to take Hirano and his group to the next stage.

He is thinking of expanding into China. On April 21, Takizawa sent the seven-member group “IMP.” to a music festival in China’s Sichuan Province, and on April 23, the president himself visited the operator of the Chinese version of the SNS “Weibo” to build a pipeline with local music and IT professionals. I believe that he is trying to get Number_i, which also has momentum in TOBE, to play an active role in China,” said a source from a record company.

When Hirano and the others announced their departure from “Kimpuri” in 2010, they revealed that one of their reasons for leaving was their strong overseas orientation. For these three, the “China expansion plan” is likely to be a stepping stone closer to their goal.

In recent years, K-pop artists have been expanding into Southeast Asia, where there is a large population of young people, and then into the U.S. and other markets,” said Takizawa. Takizawa-san may also want Number_i to perform at music events and live concerts in China and other Asian countries in order to expand into the U.S. and Europe.

Since its debut in January of this year, the work of “Number_i” has been uninterrupted. At first glance, their activities in their new location seem to be going well, but a shadow is beginning to form.

There is a gap between Mr. Hirano, Mr. Kishi, and Mr. Jinguji. This year, Ms. Hirano has appeared in commercials for famous companies such as Suntory’s Gin Sui, Bausch + Lomb Japan, and Ikeda Mokuhan-do’s Muhi series, and she has become Yves Saint Laurent Beauté’s Asian ambassador. On the other hand, although Kishi and Jinguji have appeared in fashion magazines, it is hard to shake the impression that their solo work has decreased compared to their days in “Kimpuri. The current group is becoming a “Hirano-dominated” group.

The entertainment industry official mentioned above speculates that the “Takizawa Production” method may have something to do with the growing dependence on Hirano.

The former Johnny’s office took the time to market each of the five members of “Kimpuri” in a well-balanced manner, making the most of their individual strengths. I think it was their individual successes that ultimately led to an increase in the value of the ‘Kimpuri’ as a whole. On the other hand, I have the impression that Mr. Takizawa has placed Mr. Hirano as the absolute center of the group and is concentrating on selling him. However, if things continue as they are now, the group will never get out of the “group with Shiyoh Hirano” category, and the group’s popularity may reach a plateau. If “Number_i” is to go global, it is important that Mr. Kishi and Mr. Jinguji are able to take a leap forward.

Can “Number_i” come up with an “answer that is not a mistake” like their debut song “GOAT”?

  • PHOTO. Yusuke Kondo (Shiyoh Hirano, Yuta Kishi), Ippei Hara (Yuta Jinguji)

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