Since everyone is making their yearly list on “who made it big this 2012” type of list, I decided to make my own. Of course, this will involve nothing but Johnny’s news that made headlines, if not, became favorite topic in twitter, forums, groups, and tumblr.
12) TOKIO Celebrates 18 years + Tomoya’s “Sayonara” to Aibu Saki
-Johnny’s only rock band ended this year with their “1718” tour, which included a three-days Nippon Budokan concert wherein the final night was simulcast in selected movie theaters. Aside from that, Tomoya Nagase and Aibu Saki have ended their 3-years relationship with Tomoya-Ayumi Hamasaki fans keeping their hopes up for a reconciliation until Ayu showed the world his new boyfriend on the cover of her album.
11) Tackey &Tsubasa Celebrates their 10th year Anniversary and Becomes Envoys
– This duo have gone a long way and celebrated their 10th year this year. Aside from marking a decade in the entertainment industry since their debut, they also represented Japan by being ambassador’s and envoy;s in different countries. Takizawa Hideaki became the Ambassador of Goodwill in Micronesia while Tsubasa Imai became a Spanish Envoy.
10) Johnny’s Juniors Gets their Share of Limelight
– Taking the cue from uber-talented Ikuta Toma, these Johnny’s talents doesn’t have to make a music debut to make it in the news. After starring in late drama “Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou“, Shintaro Morimoto‘s of “Bakaleya 6” was made known with the rest of the guys having a movie debut when the said drama was turned to a movie. In addition, Shintaro Morimoto and Takada Sho also starred in the much-anticipated GTO Remake of 2012. Lastly, Jesse Lewis or just “Jesse”, who played “the other guy” in Chinen Yuri’s “Sprout“, also starred in his 1st solo drama special- “the QUIZ“.
9) Kis-My-Ft2 Releases 1st Album + Loads of Projects for Members
– The group haven’t waited long to launch their 1st album since their debut. Their first album, “Kis-My-1st“, topped Oricon charts with 254,000 copies when it was released, even extending to topping Oricon’s Monthly Album Charts. Aside from successful album and single sales, Kisumai members were also blessed with load of projects this 2012. Starting off with Fujigaya Taisuke‘s 1st lead drama in Beginners! with Kitayama Hiromitsu, who went on a solo journey in India, Tamamori Yuta have a successful foray in reality TV by winning “Ikinari Ougon Densatsu”, Miyata Toshiya and Senga Kento starred with Kamenashi Kazuya in Dream Boys 2012, and Yokoo Wataru and Nikaido Takashi leads a stage play- “Legend of Galactic Heroes“. Lastly, the group also did variety TV show specials with “Hama Kiss” and “Busaiku!“.
8) KAT-TUN Members Get More Solo Exposure
– Viewers of NTV’s Going! Sports and News may be used to seeing Kamenashi Kazuya doing ceremonial pitches for local baseball games, but it was the first time that he threw the ceremonial pitch for an international exhibit game. Kamenashi’s name was mentioned not only in local Japanese papers but in US as well. Aside from Kame’s loads of projects that includes Dream Boys, Yokai Ningen Bem movie, and his upcoming movie “Ore Ore“, other members also made news. Tanaka Koki starring in period drama “Ooku” where he played a monk; Ueda Tatsuya starred as rival of Kanjani8’s Maruyama Ryuhei in “Boys on the Run“; and Junnosuke Taguchi starred in a dance stage play with Noriyuki Higashiyama. Lastly, KAT-TUN started the year with “CHAIN” album + tour, made a TV comeback with “Dameyoru“, and they made a new trend with each members getting solos (song + PV) with each single release.
7) Yamashita Tomohisa’s Rocky Career
– Since Yamapi’s departure from NEWS, his decision to go solo was met with a lot of trials. First, his two singles didn’t do well in Oricon charts; it was a shocked that AKB48 member Watanabe Mayu beat him in 1st day sales, but it was a good thing he was able to recover before the week is over. However, that was not the case with kpop star Kim Hyun-Joong, who managed to elude Yamapi from the top spot, with Kim’s B’z-composed single. Despite all this, Yamapi was able to bounce back with his 1st radio program “Cross Space“, he went on a solo super sexy “ERO-P” tour, and formed a special unit- “the MONSTERS“- with SMAP’s Shingo Katori.
6) SMAP Continues to Reign Supreme
– SMAP have had their share of controversies and rocky careers, but they remained as popular as ever. Just take the cue from an article on bbc news where the group was featured in celebration of Nakai Masahiro‘s 40th birthday. Nakai also starred in deka drama “ATARU” that got high ratings during its run; Kimura Takuya returned in Getsu9 series with “PRICELESS“, which got rave reviews and strong viewership; and Shingo Katori formed a special unit and starred in a drama with Yamashita Tomohisa. Lastly, the group also released an album, went on a tour, and still raked millions of Yen from CMs.
5) Hey!Say!JUMP Asia Tour + Yamada Ryosuke as 4th Kindaichi
– Asian fans have been waiting long enough for Johnny to market his talents overseas, so it was a huge deal when Johnny brought Hey!Say!JUMP in Hong Kong and Taipei for a concert. Although fans were hugely disappointed when Johnny’s cancelled the 1st announced concerts in Hong Kong and Bangkok, it was still a feast when Hey!Say!JUMP continued their tour in Hong Kong and in Taipei. In addition, Hey!Say!JUMP also headlines this year’s “Johnny’s World” to commemorate the wide-array of Johnny’s talents and released their 2nd album- “JUMP WORLD“. Moreover, the members were kept busy after Yamada Ryosuke, Chinen Yuri, and Nakajima Yuto graduated from High School. Chinen had his 1st solo drama- “Sprout“, and he also went on a journey to France with fellow HSJ member Takaki Yuya. Lastly, it was announced that Yamada Ryosuke will be acting as the 4th generation Kindaichi. Aside from being the 4th gen, Yamada also acted alongside Asian stars and was able to shoot the drama special in Hong Kong with fellow HSJ member- Arioka Daiki. Lastly, Yamada will also have a new single- “Mystery Virgin“- to be released next year.
4) Kanjani8’s 8 year anniversarry, 8sai, 8EST, and Eito Rangers
– As Kanjani8 celebrated their 8 years since debut, they were given a much-deserved warm reception with projects left and right. Aside from having their 1st ever “8sai Matsuri festival“, they made an Eito Rangers comeback with a movie + single, went on an 8EST tour + album, and will be performing for the 1st time in Kohaku Uta Gassen. In addition, other members were also given new TV and movie projects that were usually given to Nishikido Ryo. Maruyama Ryuhei‘s had his 1st lead drama- “Boys on the Run“, Okura Tadayoshi will appear in a tearjerker movie with Kiritani Mirei, and Yasuda Shota will also star in romantic-comedy movie with Aso Kumiko next year.
3) 4-nin NEWS Comeback
-Fans crashed Johnny’s special website when a countdown appeared with the number “4” being highlighted, followed by the appearance of 4 silhouettes bearing resemblance with remaining NEWS members. After that, Keiichiro Koyama‘s guested fellow NEWS members on his radio show- “K-chan News“- where they announced something that fans have been waiting for more than a year- a new single, a best-of-album, and a tour. In addition, the members have been blessed with more blessings, such as Keiichiro’s stage play- “Hello, Goodbye“; a new drama, manga adaptation of his debut novel, and a 2nd novel in the works for Shigeaki Kato; Masuda Takahisa starred in a medical drama and was able to meet-and-hug Olympic gold medalist for Female Wrestling- Yasuda Shori; and Tegoshi Yuya being appointed as FIFA Japan’s main caster.
2) Jin Akanishi Takes on US and a Rockier Path
– If you think that Yamapi’s career was rocky this year, so is Jin Akanishi. Earlier this year, Jin was able to release his second digital single – “Sun Burns Down“, released an album titled “Japonicana“, hosted 2012 Grammys for WOWOW, and became the star in Leslie Kee’s photo exhibit- “Super Jin Akanishi“. Aside from those, he also went on series on concerts, all in the US, until the inevitable happen. Talk about controversial, after a tabloid reported his relationship with actress Kuroki Meisa and their plans on getting hitch, the couple decided to spill the beans by announcing that they are already married. In addition, it was later announced that Kuroki is pregnant with their 1st child. Getting married without informing Johnny’s, Akanishi found himself suspended from all his activities, which included a Japanese tour and the role of Onizuka in GTO remake. Despite all this, Jin found himself a new blessing with the birth of his 1st child last fall.
1) Arashi and 2012 as Their Year
– There are lots of reasons why Arashi is the Biggest of Big this 2012. Being the top newsmaker and trendsetter, Arashi made headlines by their single sales- 3 singles occupying the top spot in Oricon’s Weekly and Monthly ranking, ending the year with an album- “POPCORN“- together with a tour, and topping Oricon’s annual DVD chart with “Beautiful World” concert DVD. In addition, the group also made splashed on TV with their returned as “24 Hr TV Main Personality” for the 4th time and as the main hosts and white team leader for “Kohaku Uta Gassen 2012“. Arashi did not stop there, they also had their 1st-ever music festival- “AraFes“- where the concert setlist was voted by the fans. 70,000 fans trooped to Tokyo Olympic National Stadium to witness Arashi performing all by themselves. Lastly, Arashi and its members always topped any existing ranking or surveys.
Arashi is not only successful as a group, the member’s are just as successful. Starting with Sakurai Sho, who despite being the topic of controversy with “fan cellphone throwing scandal”, was again NTV’s main reporter for London Olympics. His drama with Keiko Kitagawa, “NazoDi“, will be returning in theaters next year where most scenes was shot aboard Superstar Virgo in Singapore. Then there’s Ninomiya Kazunari, who will also be starring in a new movie “Platina Data“, amd went blond for his “24 Hr TV” drama special, titled: “Kuruma Isu de Boku Na Sora wo Tobu“. Matsumoto Jun also starred in drama this year with “Lucky Seven“, which will make a drama special comeback in 2013. Ohno Satoshi and Aiba Masaki starred in successful spring deka dramas early this year; Ohno did a documentary on the life of Disney’s Walt Disney and Aiba will be starring in a new medical drama next year.
Lastly, who could forget the night when Tokyo Tower was illuminated with Arashi colors?
That concludes my “Big 12 of 2012“, until next year!