Surprising Reason Why “Entertainment Schools” are Opening One after Another in Okinawa | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Surprising Reason Why “Entertainment Schools” are Opening One after Another in Okinawa

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Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reversion to mainland Japan, NHK’s TV series “Chimudo-don”, set in Okinawa, started in April.

The first viewing rate was 16.7%, exceeding that of the previous “Come Come Everybody”. Kuroshima plays the heroine who loves to eat, and “Chimu-don” is off to a good start.

Yuna Kuroshima (25), who plays the heroine, is from Okinawa and was chosen through direct casting rather than an audition because of her many appearances and contributions to NHK productions. NHK’s expectations are quite high” (TV magazine editor).

Many of the supporting actors are also from Okinawa, including Yukie Nakama (42), and the theme song is sung by Okinawan-born Daichi Miura (34).

In fact, famous entertainment production companies have been actively opening schools in Okinawa for the past 10 years or so. This spring, Sun Music Production, to which Takashi Tsukamoto (39) and Pekopa belong, opened an Okinawa school.

Just to take a quick look, in 2010, “LD H JAPAN,” to which “EXILE” and others belong, opened a school in Okinawa. H JAPAN” in 2010, and “EXILE” and others in 2013. In ’13, “Gekidan Himawari,” which has produced many child actors, and in ’18, Yoshimoto Kogyo opened the “Okinawa Rough & Peace Vocational School.

In 2006, Yoshimoto Kogyo opened “Okinawa Rough & Peace Vocational School.” Speaking of Okinawa, “Okinawa Actors School,” which has produced Namie Amuro (44), SPEED, and Hikari Mitsushima (36), is well known. However, the school has stalled in the wake of competition among major entertainment companies for graduates, and has been forced to close. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the return of the school to the mainland, so it is being revived for a limited time, but it has a strong event element. It is said that one of the reasons why major entertainment professionals are opening schools in Okinawa is the closing of the prestigious “Okinawa Actors School”” (a former executive of an entertainment professional).

An Okinawa-based entertainment writer analyzes the rush to open schools from another perspective.

The average annual income in Okinawa ranks 46th in Japan, and the divorce rate is the highest in the country. There are many single mothers, and in my view, they don’t have that much money to spend on entertainment. There may be some talented people who want to make life easier for their families, but I believe that the entertainment industry is more interested in the “business on the former base land.

As noted in this series, Hiroshi Osaki, 68, chairman of Yoshimoto Kogyo, is a member of a panel of experts on the use of former U.S. military base sites in Okinawa.

Yoshimoto Kogyo started the Okinawa International Movie Festival in 2009, knowing that it would cost a huge amount of money, probably to strengthen relations with Okinawa Prefecture. Osaka has also come forward with the IR concept, and Yoshimoto is planning to hold the “Okinawa International Movie Festival” in 2013. Yoshimoto is also focusing on the Osaka-Kansai Expo scheduled to be held in 2013,” said an advertising agency official.

In other words, other entertainment companies also see business opportunities in Okinawa.

In other words, other entertainment companies are finding business opportunities in Okinawa. Yoshimoto, which has a close relationship with Okinawa, has booked “Garage Sale” and others for TV programs and events in the prefecture. With the proposed construction of a theme park and a large commercial facility on the former site of the Futenma Air Base, regular work in sales and commercials can be expected. Other entertainment companies are probably following Yoshimoto’s example and building a foundation.

The success or failure of the “former base site business” remains to be seen, but it would be good news if a new star following in the footsteps of Amuro and others is born in Okinawa.

From the May 20-27, 2022 issue of “FRIDAY

  • Photographed by NISHIHARA Shu

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