J&Me: A Primer

As you’ll soon notice, Johnny’s has a major presence on this blog. What can I say? I’ve fallen hook, line, and sinker for the promises the money making empire of Kitagawa Hiromu will never fulfill. You’ll also quickly notice that I have some very definite feelings towards some (most) of these boybands. At the risk of flames, let’s get all these opinions out of the way.

Last updated: 2011/04/13

Shounentai Technically, they have no right to be on this list. But since one of my first (and forever favorite) Johnny’s dramas is Kuitan, and with Nishikiori’s constant presence at Countdown lately, I can honestly say I like two-thirds of the daisenpai group. Maybe now that Uekusa’s divorced, it’ll become a whole.
Favorite Song: Kamen Butoukai, because it’s so damn fun to sing.
Favorite Member: Higashiyama Noriyuki is king, baby. Been saying it since 2007, don’t think it’ll change.

SMAP It’s so easy to make fun of SMAP. They can’t sing, they can’t dance, they can’t really act. And yet there is a reason they’ve been around for almost 20 years. Their genius is in slapstick, in hard work (more so than any other Johnny’s when you consider that they developed the formula that’s allowed Johnny’s to last so damned long), in being not good at all. Sooner or later, they will get you. And then they will smile without a trace of vengeance, because they don’t know you exist. I went to watch Shingo’s Talk Like Singing musical when he performed it in New York. I probably would’ve gone even without the blog thing, because by then I’d gotten a defined interest in SMAP.
Favorite Song: Kono Toki, Kitto Yume Janai is my jam. Uplifting and soft and beautiful.
Favorite Member: Nakai Masahiro. But the more I watch SMAPxSMAP the closer the race gets.

TOKIO To outsiders, they’re considered the actual “artists” of Johnny’s because they actually play instruments in performances. But they are hilarious in the context of Arashi (especially when they get pissed that their kouhai aren’t calling Mabo with proper respect), pretty damn awesome on their own, and in the company where the prevalent sales point is “girly men” – their manliness says something. “BOOM. BAM. FIREPOWER.”
Favorite Song: NaNaNa (Taiyou Nante Iranee), more recently. But long before I had a concept of “Johnny’s”, Minna de WAHAHA! made it onto one of my self-burned Japanese pop compilation CDs. Only my favorites went on those.
Favorite Member: When you have Kokubun Taichi who is equal parts crack, composure, and cute, there is little else to say even in the face of Nagase’s body.

V6 If you don’t know V6 is my favorite Johnny’s group, you need to know that right now. That’s all that matters. The end.
Favorite Song: You know how it goes. New releases, new songs. Their only dreaming single was my favorite release of 2010, but will is a keeper.
Favorite Member: Miyake Ken, hands and pants down. I am superficial. But everyone else is so close I may as well just say the whole damn group.

KinKi Kids In 2006, I watched Remote and Sushi Ouji, and grew interested in Domoto Koichi. I have since fallen from that into the ever-downward spiral of Johnny’s fandom. Then I watched the video for SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!, watched episodes of Shin Domoto Kyoudai, and have grown to love both the Hakuba Toilet (Koichi) and the person who sits on him (Tsuyoshi).
Favorite Song: Ai no KatamariBonnie Butterfly and KANASHIMI BLUE are firmly seated on top here, even with KinKi’s wide discography.
Favorite Member: Oh, c’mon, this isn’t fair. There are only two members. And I’ve adored Domoto Koichi since the incident mentioned above.

Arashi If Koichi got me more into Japanese pop culture, then Arashi is responsible for literally kick-starting me into the Johnny’s fandom in 2007. Through them I watched various variety shows, in particular Utaban. And then wanting more Nakai & Taka-san abuse, I watched more, including other Johnny’s appearances. Then there was also the start of my Countdown “tradition.” With their rising popularity and increased visibility in Japanese entertainment, it’s gotten too tiring to keep up. I actually just stopped listening to their music in 2010 after Troublemaker. But I’ll always have a fond spot in my fandom heart for them. Besides, I’ll still be listening and have to learn more raps because I got Ruri into Arashi and she likes me to rap for some unknown reason.
Favorite Song: Future, then toss up between PIKA★★NCHI DOUBLE and Jidai.
Favorite Member: Nino, Nino, Ninomiya Kazunari. Oh dammit, that snarky prankster gets me every time.

Tackey & Tsubasa Despite having sung two songs for super!anime ONE PIECE, I don’t really like Tackey & Tsubasa all that much. Put bluntly, I think they’re bland. Their debut story doesn’t move me. Tackey scares me at times. Since they haven’t been too musically active since I joined the fandom, that doesn’t help much either.
Favorite Song: Venus, but Samurai might’ve been here if I hadn’t sung it to death.
Favorite Member: Neither, because. I don’t know them, I can’t pick a favorite. D:

NEWS It’s almost embarrassing to admit given my Johnny’s history, but NEWS was the first time I recognized a Johnny’s group as Johnny’s, back with CHERISH, though I didn’t care about other Johnny’s then. Then scandal hit and my favorite member had to go. And then they came back, fans were ecstatic, and I couldn’t have cared less. I think since then my opinion of NEWS has been going down, between fandom, spotty group activities, and Yamapi being Yamapi.
Favorite SongI・ZA・NA・I・ZU・KI and Smile Maker.
Favorite Member: If I really must pick a current one, Masuda Takahisa. But back then, Kusano Hironori was where it was at.

Kanjani8 So you have the family, and then you have the crazy Kansai cousins. For so long, this was how I defined Kanjani. Perhaps it’s still how I define Kanjani. They’re not exactly beautiful, and since they were defined by the comedy for so long I still can’t break that mode of thought. But I do like them as people. I like them as crack factors. I like them in not musical situations. But I should probably listen to those Kanjani albums on my hard drive before I continue.
Favorite Song: When Musekinin HERO came out, I called it my theme song. But I love Snow White even when it’s not winter.
Favorite Member: Maybe it’s because I’ve watched him most in dramas, maybe because he’s evil – but Yokoyama Yu. Followed by Murakami Shingo.

KAT-TUN I don’t hate on KAT-TUN, not really. I hate on their fandom. Other than the K, though, I just don’t like any of the other members. This was already the case long before I “officially” joined the Johnny’s fandom, back in 2005/2006. I don’t know if it’s the portrayed attitudes, or the fact that occasionally they seem dysfunctional as a group, or maybe because they’re so easy to mock. Or maybe I just don’t get the fuss. I think I’m slowly opening to them now that Jin is gone, but time will tell.
Favorite Song: Toss up. The D-MOTION and RESCUE, but more so THE D-MOTION right now.
Favorite Member: I feel so guilty admitting this, but, Kamenashi Kazuya. By a large effin’ landside.

Hey!Say!JUMP Some of you may have noticed – my pet nickname for HSJ is Hey!Say!VOLTRON, or Voltronites for short. I have a good excuse. Sort of. This dates back to the 2007-2008 Countdown where the hook of their debut song, Ultra Music Power led me to mental images of robot mecha anime/sentai shows, where the boys formed the body and Johnny himself would be the head. (The hook, by the way, is “J! Johnny’s! U! Ultra!” etc.) I don’t really dislike them, but I’m not really interested in them either, short of when they appear in dramas or guest on their senpai’s variety shows. I think a big part of it is the fact that they’re all younger than me.
Favorite Song: Since I don’t really listen to their music, this is moot. D: But lately I must sadly confess to liking “Arigatou” ~Sekai no Doko ni Ite mo~.
Favorite Member: Dating back to his days in Ya-ya-yah… Yabu Kota.

A note: I get inordinately annoyed when I see Johnny’s as a whole being referred to as “JE.” JE being shorthand for Johnny’s Entertainment. Johnny’s and JE are for the most part, different entities. JE is a part of the Johnny’s kingdom, but not all Johnny’s are a part of JE. It’s like how a square is a quadrilateral, but not all quadrilaterals are squares.

To clarify – Johnny’s Entertainment is a record label and thus a publishing part of Johnny’s. It’s like avex (with V6 and Tackey & Tsubasa), Teichiku (with Kanjani8), Victor Entertainment (with SMAP), and the clearest example, J-Storm (with TOKIO, Arashi, KAT-TUN, and Hey!Say!JUMP). Unlike avex, Teichiku, and Victor, Johnny’s Entertainment probably actually belongs to Johnny’s & Associates. The official website of Johnny’s Entertainment is http://www.jehp.jp/top.html. As you see, only Shounentai, KinKi Kids, NEWS, and “others” (special units and Johnny’s Juniors) are listed.

Johnny’s, on the other hand, is short for Johnny’s Jimusho – also known as Johnny & Associates. (By the way, Johnny is one of those words that looks weirder the more you look at it.) As such, it refers to any act or member under the Kitagawa stable. The website in this case is http://www.johnnys-net.jp/, and lists every act being produced by Johnny’s Jimusho – including Ikuta Toma (despite his lack of musical releases). To further cement proper usage, you don’t see Japan referring to any Johnny’s as a JE Boy. They are called Johnny’s. Now you know the reason.

I get it. JE is easier to type than Johnny’s. So much of the fandom (no matter what group) uses it. (So much of the fandom can often also be insanely wrong.) But the two are different things. If you use JE in reference to Johnny’s as a whole while talking to me, I’ll… well, I’d like to say I’d throw a cow at you, but realistically, there’s nothing I can do about it. I will, however, grit my teeth, clench my fist, bang my head against my desk a number of times, and then respond to you as civilly as possible having gotten some of my aggression out of the way.

But my brain cells – or what little I have left after falling in the honey trap that is Johnny’s. They like being alive. You wouldn’t want to kill them, would you?

Save a brain cell (or several thousand). Stop the incorrect usage of JE when referring to a Johnny’s. This has been a public service announcement.

  1. 06/04/2011 at 1:09 AM

    I never realized there was a difference between the usage of “JE” and “Johnny’s” until I stumbled on your blog 😉 Thank you for the clear explanation 😀 I did notice they call the boys “Johnny’s” when I watched shows and stuff recently, but was too lazy to find out why. This is really because I’m pretty much J&A illiterate, save for V6, so… But that’s why I stopped, and read. 😀

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