Writers Witness Dramatic Change in Former Johnny’s Entertainment | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Writers Witness Dramatic Change in Former Johnny’s Entertainment

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On January 22, 2020, both SixTONES and Snow Man debuted on the same day. Over the past four and a half years, the circumstances surrounding them have changed significantly.It has been over seven months since the shocking press conference on September 7 last year, where the former Johnny’s Entertainment acknowledged the sexual misconduct by the late Johnny Kitagawa. The agency’s name has changed, and compensation for the victims is reportedly progressing. As a result, a certain television station states that efforts to address the issues are steadily advancing, leading them to actively start using former Johnny’s talents again. The situation appears to be settling down.

Have they really changed? When we talk about the old Johnny’s, they were known for being completely analog, not active on the internet at all. Their main platforms were TV and magazines.

TV, a big part of their presence, says “they have changed.” But how about the magazine industry? We talked to editors and writers who have made many articles about old Johnny’s talents in the past, and still write about talents managed by STARTO ENTERTAINMENT (the new company managing old Johnny’s talents).

Interestingly, we found three big changes in the way interviews are handled, which are unique to Johnny’s Entertainment. 

Firstly, one major change is the disappearance of implicit rules regarding placement in magazines.

“There used to be unspoken rules about featuring talents from Johnny’s in the same issue. For instance, you couldn’t place junior talents before senior talents or have more pages for juniors than seniors. It used to be quite strict. As a result, it was challenging to prominently feature junior talents in women’s magazines. Recently, these rules have relaxed somewhat.” (Freelance editor & writer)

Another story that was shared:


“When a certain talent, who now belongs to a very popular group, was still a junior, many women’s magazines wanted to feature his exceptional talent. However, almost every issue of these magazines featured talents from the debut group. I remember trying to pitch an interview once, but I was met with responses like, ‘No way! ●● gets 2 pages and the junior gets 4 pages? That’s unthinkable.’


As time passed, other juniors started to shine, and we lost interest in him. Looking back, I think if it were now, he would have been featured more widely and could have become a big breakout star.” (Former women’s magazine editor) 


The second change is in the comments made by the talents during interviews.


“When interviewing old Johnny’s talents, we often asked, ‘Who do you respect?’ Whether it was part of their training from the agency or their own discretion to read the atmosphere, they always used to mention only senior members from the agency. They’d say things like, ‘I want to be like Takuya Kimura’ or ‘I admired Arashi and joined the agency because of them.’


However, recently, they freely mention names of rival idol group members. I think it’s okay, but it makes me a bit worried. I feel like the agency might ask us to delete those comments during their manuscript check. That’s why I always ask, ‘By the way, who is your respected senior?’ just to be safe.” (Interview writer) 

And the third change is the coexistence with rival groups.

“Since the allegations of pressure on former SMAP members were reported, things have changed. In the past, Johnny’s Entertainment wouldn’t allow male idol groups from other agencies or those with similar styles to appear in the same issue. They would inquire about planned appearances and say, ‘Oh, if that person is appearing, then it’s a no-go.’


This restriction meant there were limited male talents who could appear in the same issue. That’s why we used to do a lot of interviews with actors like Shun Oguri and Masaki Okada back then. They were highly popular among women, but they were seen strictly as actors and not considered direct rivals.” (Freelance editor) 

Because of that, people in the magazine industry who remember the past have been shocked recently.

“The other day, I was watching a certain variety show and saw junior talents appearing. What surprised me was that the show had members of another agency’s idol group serving as one of the MCs. They didn’t interact closely with the juniors, but knowing the times when we couldn’t feature idols from other agencies in the same magazine, it was quite emotional. Other editors and writers have mentioned this too, and it became a small topic in the women’s magazine community.” (Another interview writer)

It seems clear that Johnny’s Entertainment has indeed undergone significant changes.

However, on the other hand, there are voices mentioning various restrictions still present in creating articles for web media, such as not being allowed to use many photos or videos. The true test of their transformation lies ahead.

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In the March 17, 2023 issue, it was mentioned that Kimutaku (Takuya Kimura), who was often cited by junior Johnny’s members as a respected senior.
Arashi, who were often cited as respected seniors, now have Ninomiya and Matsumoto independent from the agency (November ’19)
  • Interview and text Nanako

    Born in Ehime Prefecture. After working at a broadcasting station, became a freelance writer. She specializes in interviews with celebrities and analysis of popular events, and is always on the lookout for serial dramas and popular Japanese movies. She is a well-known beautiful writer in the magazine industry.

  • PHOTO Takero Yui (1st photo), Ichiro Takatsuka (2nd photo), Shinji Hasuo (3rd photo)

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