*chuckle* kai now on mc and not resting... ^^;;
allow me to start this thread, so that we can all classify most of the japanese eye-candies here...most of the popular boybands in japan actually all stem out from a single entertainment company, and thats Johnny & Associates or Johnny Entertainment [JE].
I've always found JE amazing and to me personally it's pretty interesting company to explore about. There have been rumours about the boys getting ill-treated, or getting sodoXXXX-ed by their boss etc etc..but such things are always left hanging in the air, for us to ponder about...
It was first established in the 60's by Johnny Kitagawa [he's still going strong currently!] and since it has been producing popular boybands bringing millions of revenue for the company every year.
The company rules are strict, there are rules like no smoking, no dating before their adult ceremony [which is 20yrs old...correct me if im wrong] and no marriages till ...not stated...Violating the rules means saying 'sayonara' to JE but Kimura of Smap the dare-devil challenged the company policy openly in 2000 by having a shot-gun wedding with also famous singer Kudo Shizuoka. [it was rumoured he delibrately planned her pregnancy..something else we'd never know...] and it seems that his act has given Nagase of Tokio enough courage to plan his wedding with his long-time lass, Ayumi Hamasaki. That, we will know in time.
All of JE groups work in similiar manners.
first, everyone is given a fraction of attention and tons of hard work being in the Johnny Jrs. There are so many eye-candy boys in this whole band of little performers and each is given a chance to dance behind their seniors in concerts or tv shows, and they all get featured in the monthly issues of JE's own idol magazines, they get to do their own variety shows and radio programes. and annually they have things like jr concerts, countdown concerts, JE sports day [where ALL JE boys come together and compete in sports], theatre plays etc etc.
Some get to act in dramas.
eventually, those who have the potential to make it big are given more opportunities to perform, and subsquently every now and then, without any prior warning Kitagawa comes personally and handpicks potential boys to form a new group and debut.
No one ever knows when Kitagawa will come to choose, nor on what basis he makes his choices. It seems that he is just choosing based on his fancies, however each group he chooses every time makes a very successful one and churns in revenue @ astrological figures.
however, the revenue aside, each JE member is merely getting a monthly wage like any other salary-man from the company, they dont seem to work on a royalties basis...
and when a group debuts, apart from doing records and holding annual concerts, they host variety shows and radio programs, act in dramas and theatre plays, developing their potential as a full-fletched artistes/performer, not just a singer/actor. and the members will work separately, coming only together for certain variety and the annual concerts. other than that, each develops his career on his own. this seems like a fixed formulae across JE groups.
then again, perhaps it's due to their diversified channels... few JE boys can really sing well... sorrie for saying this.. and some were quite horrible, some cant act, some cant dance...however at the end of day, we are all so attracted to all of them.... sigh~ hopeless me...
watching a JE performance is as good as watching an acrobat performance...they do back-flips, cart-wheels, somersualts etc etc... then they'd fly into the air, suspending on steel wires and sing as they hover while the audience go crazy screaming and shrieking below...
To begin with, im only familiar with the groups from Hikaru Genji onwards.
that's hikaru genji... not the japanese literature about the charming prince, but this boyband that was so famous in the 80's. their songs were mostly catchy pop tunes that till today, the JE juniors sing them during concerts, there's still attraction in the tracks. Established boybands today, Tokio and Smap were once little boys barely noticed dancing behind Hikaru Genji on rollar-skates.
in 1982, Shonentai was formed.
i'd say it is one of most successful group of JE. in the 80's they were so famous that it was them who 'lured' now members of Tokio, Smap, V6 into joining JE.
Right now, the 3 of them are still pretty active in the entertainment scene, and still as attractive!
the 12 boys dancing behind Hikaru Genji finally saw their chance coming in the late 80's... and 6 got into Tokio, formed a rock band, the other 6 became Smap.
One member left Tokio some time after and the vocalist was then replaced by then 12-year old Nagase Tomoya . ...someone correct me if im wrong, working strictly from memory here ... *grinz*
Tokio eventually developed to be a pretty unique group and only rock band of JE. They have recently celebrated their 10th muscial anniversary and released a compilation containing their tries at singing other JE groups songs. worth a grab. ^-^
Smap is dare-i-say, the most defiant JE group. They know their advantageous position being the most profitable group around and seems to get away with violation of the sacred JE rules. Releasing a pictorial outside the company's reign, getting married, ...etc. Right now, though i can be wrong, it seems to me apart from the label 'Johnny Entertainment' and the copy rights they owe, Smap has nothing to do with JE...they have full say in their own productions and since 1996 they have never participated in any of the JE events, be it sports day or countdown concert. Guess i can safely deduce Smap has detached itself from JE?
Next comes kinki kids.
they first debute in 1997 with a single though this group has been formed long ago.
Beside Smap, Kinki kids have been the most successful JE group having the honour to enter Guniness world of records for their large volume of records sales. Though both shares the family name Dohmoto, they have no blood relations! it is just a coincidence. Currently KKK is working separately, each holding solo concerts and releasing solo albums..even calendars are sold separately ..fans are so worried they might just get disbanded like that...but my personal guess would be that KKK will stay like this for a while, after all revenue is now three-folds compared to previous.
to add, Tsuyoshi Dohmoto is known for one of best singers in JE. Owning to popular dramas like Kindaichi and To Heart he has won over hearts of many however some years back he has fallen sick and due to his medication & break his face ballooned so round, it slowed down his pace a little. However his fan base is strong and this chap is definitely shining still. Then again he has been dressing himself up in weird manners these days, and one of the periods resembling a bit like late Leslie Cheung. He has always been a great fan of Chueng, we wondered if he was badly shaken by the terrible news since.
then in 1994/5 came V6.
im not too familiar with v6, hope someone can come along to enlighten us. seems to me that v6 is a dance group with many catchy tunes.
V6 is further divided into 2 groups, 20th Century and Coming Century. 20th Cen consists of the 3 older members while Comin Cen contains the 3 young ones. I'm given the impression V6 likes to release titles of varying versions. For example, their summer concert this year was sold in 3 different versions...which i dunno where the difference lies...
It was a long time after V6 that JE ever had a new group... while rumours were growing strong for Takki [then a Jr leader] to debut for he has established a super strong fan base by then, his chance never arrived till 2002.
in 1999 Nov instead, Arashi, consisting of 5 members was formed.
yet again another group of promising youths, Sakurai Sho rec'd most rave for he was from a prestigious high school and was on his way to finish a degree in Economics in one of best U of Japan. There were skeptical views for many japanese artistes actually cant quite finish their degree courses doing part-time. This chap cried terribly at the end of their very first concert cuz apparently it was said that he has made a pact with his dad if he doesnt graduate from Johnny Jr by the time he was ready for U, he will be quiting from JE. Well, today, Sho has finished his degree course and gained his position as the rapper of Arashi. We can expect to see more from them in time to come.
[kai luvs Jun & nino of arashi!!]
and next it was another 2 years before the next shiny group was formed. in 2002, the long awaited Takizawa Hideaki made his appearance with his long time partner Imai Tsubasa. many fans had wrote in and appealed greatly before this duo finally made their debut. they were such great pals and people just enjoyed seeing them together. and by the time they debuted, each already has gathered his fan base while they were still in Johnny Jr and they were gonna be such a big hit.
surprisingly though, their first release, HATACHI was pretty weak in sales. I wasnt too sure why but im definitely looking forward to more of their productions! i've always favoured Imai since 2000...
and lastly, last year NEWS came along.
What a big group...there were 9 of them in all... but within a few months they debuted with the catchy single "NEWS NIPPON" [nice song..] one of them got kicked out of the group and outta JE cuz he was caught smoking. ... poor thing, he could actually sing...
NEWS is kinda too new to make any comments, but watching their first video kinda captivates me and think most prob i'd follow them thru in time to come... scary idea... out of the 7 active JE groups, im already pursueing Smap, Arashi, T&T and now News, and thats like more than 50% of JE ... not forgetting the Jrs...
Recently one of the subgroups in Johnny Jr, the 'kansai 8' released a new single. 2 of them are from News. i cant quite comprehend whats kitagawa's motive for getting these 2 members, Ryo & Uchi alternating between these 2 groups but one thing for sure, Kansai 8 will be the next JE group in focus.
there are still groups not mentioned, they are the subgroups of the Jr clan..but since they have yet to debut, allow me to take a breather first.. there are still groups like KATUN, MA, FIVE, Yah Yah Yah...and on and on and on...
finally...im done with the intro... let the rest of the discussion come from people keen on the groups mentioned above...!