I did something similar back in 2012 and I think that I should do it again because 2014 is indeed a blast in Johnny’s. Of course, this will involve nothing but Johnny’s news or controversies that made headlines, if not, became trending topic in twitter, forums, groups, and tumblr.
14) TegoMass is still alive
The cutest duo in Johnny’s (Sorry, TakiTsuba) started their 2014 by releasing an album, “TegoMass no Seishun”, and they also embarked on a live tour. One of the duo’s most memorable performance would be singing “Aoi Bench” during the Yokohama leg of their tour without a microphone.
13) Johnny’s WEST debuted!
After 10 years, JE decided to debut another Kansai-born group with Johnny’s WEST. Also, it’s also the first time since the 1960s that the agency decided to use “Johnny” in a group’s name. The original plan is to have four members but it got expanded to seven and the add-on members got more solo projects than the first four, like Shigeoka Daiki in “SHARK 2” and “Gomen ne Seishun”, Fuji Ryuusei in “Again!”, and Hamada Takahiro appeared in two seasons of “SHARK” . Anyway, Johnny’s WEST debuted with “Ee ja nai ka”, which landed them in Oricon Weekly, and they also made a grand debut in one of Osaka’s grandest skycrapers, Abeno Harukasu.
12) Sexy Zone is missing members yet still rack-up sales
There’s something about the number 3 that is so Sexy Zone. First is that the three older members (Nakajima, Sato, and Kikuchi) that are always in the center of jacket covers and live performances get to have a single without the two younger members. However, Marius and Matsushima are back for Sexy Zone’s “Kimi no HITOMEBORE”, the group’s 3rd anniversary single. The said single sold 300k on first day after they pulled an AKB-like stunt by selling 20 versions of one single. So, are the two in or out? Well, fans had enough of the two being ignored so they made Sexy Zone’s self-titled first single returned to Oricon hit chart as their way of telling the agency that they want the two back. In short, JE have earned too much from Sexy Zone this year.
11) V6 gets back on track
V6 had a grand time this year particularly for Okada Junichi. Not only he did taiga this year with “Gunshi Kanbee”, Okada’s acting prowess gets recognized for his “Eien no Zero” performance. In addition, their single, “Sky’s the limit”, landed in first in Oricon Weekly after a long time of no.1 drought. In addition, V6’s sub-unit, Tonisen, returned to stage with “ON THE TOWN”. Lastly, they debuted in 65th Kohaku Uta Gassen as performers.
10) Who needs a single or an album if you’re Ikuta Toma?
Ikuta Toma has been doing great with TV and movies that he starred in. Ikuta appeared as a priest in “Gunshi Kanbee”, he did “Mogura no Uta” and “MIRACLE” this year and before 2014 ended, he already have TV and movie line-up next year. Ikuta will start the year starring in “Ouroboros” with BFF Oguri Shun. Next will be a movie with Toda Erika in “Yokokuhan”, and another movie with his kouhai, Yamada Ryosuke, in “Grasshopper”. All the best, Ikuta!
09) Yamapi bounces back…
Yamapi‘s 2013 has been lackluster to say the least, but his 2014 has been full of blessings starting with his movie “Kinkyori Renai” that reached a billion Yen mark and was on top of box-office ranking for a few weeks. Also, Yamapi’s 4th album, “YOU“, managed to get the top spot in Oricon‘s weekly album ranking, the second time after 3 years. Moreover, Yamapi’s show, “Otona no KISS no Eigo” is getting good reviews and the show’s theme song, “Your Step”, was sung by Yamapi in English. However, this year has also been hard for Yamapi after the “cellphone theft” issue that made the agency lost 3 million Yen isnsettlement money. Still, Yamapi was able to bounce back.
08) Former Johnny’s are also bouncing back
We said goodbye to two big names in Johnny’s, specifically from KAT-TUN, with Tanaka Koki (2013) and Akanishi Jin (2014). No hard feelings for the two and they have worked hard with Tanaka being just KOKI and the lead vocalist of his band, “INKT”. Meanwhile, Jin is being jindependent as he started his own record company, “Go Good Records”, which is like a reminder to himself.
07) Kis-My-Ft2 now functions with seven members, “Thank you, Jan!”
Well, Kisumai’s “3×4” is nothing new to those familiar with the group but 2014 gave their sub-unit, “BUSAIKU”, some much-needed break. The four member unit had their 2nd single this year (thank you, Nakai-sama), starred in their own CM for “Spiral”, and they also had their first late night drama in “Heisei mai sai gumi otoko“. Although the drama failed to deliver stellar results, Kisumai’s “Another Future” single has given the so-called back-up dancers some equal footing.
06) More Johnny’s getting second careers
Being an idol isn’t forever and more Johnny’s have expanded from just being an idol. There’s the ever successful “Tetsuwan DASH!” featuring TOKIO, Johnny’s only band, that also functioned as farmers and carpenters. Then there’s Johnny’s breed of newscasters starting with Sakurai Sho, Koyama Keiichiro, Kokubun Taichi, Masuda Takahisa, and Inohara Yoshihiko. Some Johnny’s have also became special reporters during FIFA World Cup with Murakami Shingo and Tegoshi Yuya enjoying some Brazilian sun and in Hina’s case, foreign ladies. Lastly, there’s Kato Shigeki who published his 3rd novel this year and made his series debut in two magazines.
05) Who is dating who?
Johnny’s wouldn’t be complete without a dating rumor. True or not, these couples made tabloids go crazy, starting with Sakurai Sho and Horikita Maki, Abe Aran and Murashige Anna (who denied it), Takaki Yuya and Aimi Hara, Okura Tadayoshi and Serina, Shibutani Subaru with a gravure model, and the ever popular Matsumoto Jun and Inoue Mao.
04)TOKIO Celebrates 20 years
Aside from being such an adorable bunch of ossans, TOKIO celebrated their 20th anniversary and as the only Johnny’s rock band, the group performed at “Iwamizawa JOIN ALIVE music festival” in Hokkaido and at “SUMMER SONIC” in Osaka. It’s a first for any Johnny’s group to take part in such festivals and TOKIO were remarkable. Also, due to their successful TV show, “Tetsuwan DASH!”, the group were given a permission to enter No. 2 Coast Battery (Daini Kaihou), a man-made and uninhabited island just outside of Tokyo. To finalize their 20th year anniversary, the group released a “Best of album”, embarked on a summer tour, and got to bond with their kouhais as they did their “TOKIO 20th anniversary live tour HEART” at Nippon Budokan.
03) SMAP is still the biggest group (in Iijima’s faction)
SMAP is still a successful group and its members also got to shine on their own. Aside from hosting “FNS x 27” again this year, the group made history with their 45 minute nonstop medley just because they can. They also released an album with “Mr. S“, embarked on 5-Dome tour, and became ambassadors for Universal Studios Japan where they got to bond with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe and US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy. As solo performers, doing dramas kept them busy with Kimura Takuya bouncing back from his ratings flop “ANDO LLOYD” and re igniting the public’s love with “HERO 2014”.
02) Kanjani8 celebrates 10 years
Kanjani8 is such a big deal this year and here are the reasons why: (a) they started “Infinity Records”, their very own indie label, after leaving Teichiku; (b) they became main personalities for “24 Hr TV”; (c) another group movie with “Eight Ranger 2”; (d) other members also had movies this year from Nishikido Ryo‘s “Dakishimetai”, Okura‘s “Clover”, and Subaru will be having his first solo movie next year; and (e) They did another music festival with “Jyuusai”. Furthermore, members Yokoyama Yu and Murakami Shingo scored loads of endorsement deals, and became one of those male celebrities with most CMs joining the likes of Arashi and Kimura Takuya in the ranking.
01) Arashi “BLAST’s” 2014
Arashi will always be a big deal in Johnny’s land and their 15th anniversary came with a hefty price tag. The biggest would be their 2 days Hawaii concert where we saw fancams that would have been banned in Japan. The group also made a sequel of their “Pikanchi” series in selected theaters, and their annual “WakuWaku Gakkou” was screened internationally. Furthermore, they also embark on a Dome tour, and the members consistently top some of the most relevant ranking such as Nikkei Entertainment’s “Talent Power ranking” and Nihon Monitor’s “Talents with most CMs”.
That concludes my Big 14 of 2014. Happy New Year everyone! Pls. continue to support Johnny’s and my blog for this year again. Yoroshiku!~