King & Prince Audio Leak Sparks Takizawa’s Quick Action Amid Kitayama Controversy | FRIDAY DIGITAL

King & Prince Audio Leak Sparks Takizawa’s Quick Action Amid Kitayama Controversy

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The audio of Number_i Shiyoh Hirano with members from his King & Prince days has leaked

Audio data believed to be of Number_i Shiyoh Hirano, Yuta Kishi, Yuta Jinguji, and ‘King & Prince’ Kaito Takahashi has leaked, causing controversy.


The leaked audio is about one minute long and appears to be from the time when the five members were still active as King & Prince.


The content is typical male conversation with hardly any scandalous elements. Ren Nagase is also thought to have been present, but his voice is not heard. According to an entertainment reporter for a sports newspaper:


“The conversation is just typical boyish banter. While it might cause a slight image downgrade, fans aren’t particularly shocked. In fact, most are charmed by the evident camaraderie among the members.” (Sports newspaper reporter)


Nevertheless, the fact that such private conversations have leaked at this time cannot be overlooked. 

“The leaked audio appears to have been recorded inside a car during a tour. Given that this is an extremely private space, the leak must have a limited source.

More importantly, such audio shouldn’t be leaked without intention, making it clear that someone deliberately released it. Some speculate that ‘the footage from a dashcam might have been misused.'” (Same sports newspaper reporter)

The audio leak caused a stir on social media and gradually spread.

Amid this situation, on June 2, TOBE, the agency that manages Number_i, updated their official website with a message titled “To All Our Supporters.” They revealed that they have confirmed multiple instances of slander, fraud, and illegal ticket sales, and announced the creation of guidelines for fans. 


Particularly regarding slander, they stated that, depending on the content, it could be considered defamation or obstruction of business.


“If such content is discovered in any case, we will consider taking legal action.”


And made it clear.


“The response from TOBE President Hideaki Takizawa was swift. With the announcement of the guidelines, social media accounts that had contributed to the spread of the King & Prince audio began deleting their posts. It seems to have had a certain deterrent effect.” (Talk show insider)


It is possible that President Takizawa’s actions were not just aimed at Number_i, but also at another artist under their management—Hiroki Kitayama, formerly of Kis-My-Ft2.


Kitayama transferred from the former Johnny’s agency to TOBE in September ’23. He graduated from Kis-My-Ft2 and is now working as a solo artist and actor. 


Starting from April 5th, the drama “Before You Become a Beast” starring in the TV Tokyo “Drama 24” slot has begun.


“Hiromitsu Kitayama, a TOBE artist, stands out as the most bashed. While Number_i’s three members left the former Johnny’s agency aiming for global advancement, the reasons for Kitayama’s departure remain unclear.


Moreover, last year during a period of turmoil due to a series of ‘sexual misconduct issues,’ the agency was in disarray. Some fans treat Kitayama as a traitor and excessively criticize him.”  (talk show insider)


Kitayama actively communicates on X (former Twitter) and YouTube, but during his time at the former Johnny’s, discussing romance was taboo. He also sends messages of encouragement to younger talents from his former agency, which has drawn criticism from Kis-My-Ft2 fans who say, “Read the room!”


“TOBE continues to make strides, but with success comes an increased likelihood of slander and defamation. Establishing rules at this time could help mitigate online backlash in the future, whether from leaked audio data or past photos.” (sports newspaper reporter)


TOBE has successfully utilized the internet to assert its presence. To prevent new troubles, proactive measures seem necessary.

  • PHOTO Yusuke Kondo

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