Random Fandom: SMAP and KaT-TUN, Mori and Jin

To the Faithless Departed
(Because Johnny-san Hates! Members! Who! Leave! Him!!!)

by Ender’s Girl

Johnny & Jin in happier days

Something funny happened at the KaT-TUN concert in Tokyo Dome.

(Yes I know you’re sick of KAT-TUN, lol. Don’t worry, this isn’t about them. Er, technically.)

Don’t Shoot the Messengers?

Last July 25th, Johnny Kitagawa sent Akanishi Jin a message. — In a bottle, you say??? No!!! — In a — Johnny!!! Actually — No!!! — In a pair of Johnnies, to be exact! Tokyohive reports that during the July 25th MC portion of KaT-TUN’s World Big 2010 Tour (WTF World Big????? hahahahaha), the topic turned to TV dramas that members had co-starred in. And Kamenashi Kazuya, ever Johnny’s loyal hatchet man-thing, pointedly asked Taguchi Junnosuke if he had ever done a drama with another member before, to which Junno (aka The Member Least Likely to Act Like an Ass — Until Now) replied that no he had not, (conveniently) forgetting that he had actually done not one, but two dramas with newly minted ex-member Akanishi Jin. (Yukan Club in 2007 and Omae no Yukichi ga Naiteiru in 2001.)

Junno’s loaded denial sparked off a wave of indignation among Jin fans and prompted heated reactions that Kame and Junno’s snarky exchange was tantamount to “mistreatment” of the former KaT-TUN idol. (Snarky yes, but… mistreatment? LAWL riiiight. What is Jin, a 4-year-old child locked away under the stairs?) Both camps (Jin vs. KaT-TUN) have since exchanged accusations and sundry excuses, all swinging from the “keep blinking real hard until you get the logic behind them” headscratch-worthy variety, to the downright LOLWHATesque — like, Technically Jin isn’t part of the band no mo’, so Junno wasn’t obliged to mention him!!! Or — maybe Junno simply forgot!!! He forgot that he did those two dramas with Jin, amongst the — um, oodles of dramas he’s done it’s so hard keeping track of ‘em all!!!

I won’t waste anymore time trying to confute these views, because seriously folksss — I think it’s pretty obvious just whose gnarly, lichen-sprouting hands were doing the actually string-pulling here, using Kame and Junno (willingly or not, is anyone’s guess… though I suspect: Junno = unwillingly; Kame = very willingly, lol) as his mouthpieces to nail home the acrimonious message that Jin is DONE. Jin may still be a JE contract artist, and there’ll probably be a perfunctory effort — or two — to launch that U.S. career, but Johnny seems intent on making it clear just what Jinny Boy is to him now. Well, hell hath no fury like a Goblin King scorned, ne?

Ahhh Johnny-san, you spiteful old manhag, you think we can’t see past the gimmickry and subterfuge as you remain holed up in your Dark Tower, cloaked in impunity and stewing in your own sulfurous bile? You think we haven’t forgotten that you tried pulling the same sh*t when Mori Katsuyuki left SMAP in 1996 to pursue a professional moto racing career? He quit SMAP just when the group was hitting its stride, just as superstardom glinted on the horizon after five years of lukewarm to moderate commercial success, and you never forgave Mori for leaving. You even forbade the remaining SMAP members — under pain of death!!! (lol not really… but then again who knows, it IS Diyannehhh) — to so much as utter Mori’s name on SMAP live appearances… not on their radio show, not on their weekly variety show, not at press cons or their own concerts, not anywhere else in public.

You like to bury them alive, don’t you, Johnny-san? These Boys Who Leave? Mob bosses would be tickled pink to have you on their tag team. You muzzled NEWS when two of their members got the boot in 2006, and now KaT-TUN. The only difference between SMAP and your younger units is that SMAP had both the good sense and the cojones to flout your edict — openly reminiscing about the good old days with Mori-kun on What’s Up, SMAP and SMAPxSMAP, or simply mentioning his name in passing while discussing a related matter — whereas the current crop of Johnnies are too chickensh*t to even think of trying.

Racer Mori and Rapper Jin

Jin’s recent departure and the ensuing brouhaha (Exhibit A: Kame’s Sin of Commission + Junno’s Sin of Omission last July 25th, lulz) got me thinking about that time in 1996, when SMAP was faced with a similar predicament. Then 22, Mori Katsuyuki left JE for good to try his luck as a pro racer before he got too old. An enthusiast since childhood, racing was his lifelong dream (and his father’s as well) that superseded all other aspirations — even becoming an in-demand pop idoru. Somehow, the purring of motorbike engines and the smell of asphalt mingled with dust held a far stronger pull than the bright klieg lights of the TV studios, or the screams of fans at concert arenas. And unlike Jin’s hiatus+return back in 2006-2007, for Mori it was a one-shot deal. When he left SMAP and JE, it was clear that he was never coming back — not even if he failed to make it big in the racing world.

To be fair to both sides, Jin isn’t Mori, no more than KAT-TUN is SMAP. The circumstances of leaving are different, as are the group makeup and inter-member dynamics. And so much has changed since 1996 in terms of the general J-Entertainment landscape, the size of the market, the industry politics and power bases, the speed and accessibility of information, and the freedom and openness of cyber-discourse. (Only Johnny-san remains unchanged, hahaha. Him and his ruby-encrusted shoes, hahaha.) But if KaT-TUN has any intention of moving past this imbroglio, it would do them well to draw from the example of SMAP, a group that has been favored with greater success and longevity (22 years since formation; 19 since their official debut — an eon in pop industry reckoning) than any other J-Pop group.

It’s true that the SMAP dudes have their own checkered history of hot-headed scrapping and cold wars, of bullying and asshole behavior *cough* Kimura *cough* and other immature sh*t way back in their callow youth, a phase experienced by any unit that has been together since boyhood. But when the chips were down, when the group had to weather crisis after crisis over the years, whether collectively or individually — Mori’s early retirement, Kimura’s shotgun marriage, Goro’s arrest, Tsuyoshi’s very public meltdown… these were SMAP’s finest hours, the times that the group was at its strongest and most cohesive, when the members’ respect and loyalty towards each other — not towards their parent agency, or the industry moneybags, or even the fickle fans, but to each other — could be most keenly felt. It’s easy for any pop group to fake the skinship just to crank up the fanservice. Which makes you wonder how long these other groups can last running on just that. But true solidarity and resilience in the face of adversity — that can’t be faked.

And — yes, this is really about SMAP, lol. So I’m posting this video link of the May 27, 1996 episode of SMAPxSMAP where Mori bids a final farewell to SMAP and to the fans. The talk portion comes right after a medley performance of songs that Mori himself selected. The vid clip isn’t subbed, but I managed to fill in certain portions (see below) using translations by yanie from her wonderful (and wonderfully long) video tribute to SMAP, which came out in 2006. (If you’re a SMAP fan and haven’t seen yanie’s labor of love, I strongly recommend that you do. The download links (not sure if they still work) can be found at D-Addicts. Otherwise, she can be contacted at her LiveJournal site.)

(Video credit: mmAngela @ Youku.com)

>> Click to view: SMAPxSMAP (05.27.96) <<

(MC portion right after song tribute)

Nakai: Hai… (breaks down, can’t continue, oh Nakai!)

Kimura: (quickly) This medley, the songs were all chosen by Mori-kun.

(nice save, you unsentimental, heartless, always-perfectly-composed bloke, you! *flying kisu*)

(KimuTaku, why you so hawt???)

Mori: Hai… Hai.

Kimura: I guess… this is an atmosphere that we never expected to feel in SMAPxSMAP…

[…] (Mori says something, but it’s all… Greek to me this part wasn’t included in the clip that yanie subbed.)

[1:03] Kimura: What do you think, Tsuyoshi?

Tsuyoshi: I guess, from now on, this is Mori-kun’s beginning, you know… Though we’ve been together for quite some time… this is his beginning. (awww Tsuyoshi!!! you’re so sweet)

Kimura: Yes, yes, yes… Shingo? (note: Shingo, the youngest, was just 19 at this time)

[1:32] Shingo:  (struggles to speak) Well, I guess… of course, we’d find something missing…


[2:11] Kimura: Goro.

Goro: This is not good… (LOL oh Goro)


(Kimura says something)

(KimuTaku, why you so hawt???)

[3:22] Kimura: With this, we’d see you less often, but I think, we can still meet on some other occasion. Ganbaro. Nakai.

(Nakai by this time has composed himself, and launches into a long, heartfelt message for Mori. I think the best part is what he says at the end:)

[5:05] Nakai: Mori Katsuyuki as a man… I really… I’m really glad I got to know you. Thank you very much for all these times. Ganbatte, Mori! (shakes Mori’s hand)

Oh man.

Besto Friend, Besto Friend

When the Goro Crisis hit in August 2001, speculations once again ran high as to SMAP’s future. But Goro returned in 2002, and the clip below is from their concert tour in the same year. (Translations by yanie)

>> Click to view: Drink SMAP! Concert Tour 2002 (11.03.02) <<

(End part of MC portion)

Goro: Minna-san, thank you for coming out in this cold weather… Last year, I was apart from the members and went through the cold winter alone. It was a bitter memory for me. But now I feel warm because I’m with all of you.

Nakai: I think many things happened this past year. Bad things, lonely things, sad things… But we’ll do our best next year, so that we can meet again in the summer. Hontouni arigatou gozaimashita. (bows deeply)

(Video clip starts)

Nakai: Please listen to this song which has never been sung before at our live concerts…

(“Best Friend” intro music)

SMAP: Best friend, best friend, the person that I love the most… Always, forever, my best friend

Nakai: Though we fight, but I don’t really mean it… Nobody can see through kindness, anyway

Goro: It’s just that I can’t express these feelings that well… I know you are worried about me, that’s why

SMAP: Please express your feelings softly… Best friend, best friend, the most important person… The closest person to me, my best friend

Tsuyoshi: I don’t want to see your sad face like that… I even suffer a bit and look away

Shingo: Even though my ears don’t listen, my heart is always listening… I can hear you, you can trust me, forever

SMAP: Please express your feelings softly… Best friend, best friend, the person I love the most… Always, forever, my best friend

Nakai: Tonight I’m gonna leave a memo on the table, I plan to write “I’m sorry.”

Kimura: After the wind has blown and the storm has passed, I believe and hope the sky will become bright and clear as always

SMAP: Hopefully your feelings reach my heart… Best friend, best friend, that beautiful smile… Please show it to me tomorrow, my best friend… Best friend, best friend, the person I love the most… Always, forever, my best friend…

Watching this performance it doesn’t really matter that Nakai has a broom splayed around his head, or that Shingo dyed his shaggy mane that shade of platinum, or that Goro’s never-changing mono-hair seems to defy the vagaries of time (“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” lol). It doesn’t matter that they can’t seem to hit the right pitch for three consecutive notes, much less actually sing in harmony. It doesn’t matter that some of these grown men are crying freely before a sea of equally emotional fans. And it doesn’t matter that the cheesy “Best-o Friend” lyrics sound like they were scribbled by a third-grader on strawberry-scented Sanrio stationery during recess period. I guess, if you knew what they’d just been through together, none of that stuff would really matter.

Mori: A Postscript

Private Citizen Mori Katsuyuki, 36, seems to be doing well in his speedway racing career. (Reports also say he got married in 1998.) I found a recent (unsubbed) video clip of one of his races dated January 2010. He’s biker #7, and goes on to win the event after starting out in the middle of the pack. (Yay for Mori!) Interview follows. (Video credit: 0ANGEL0ANGEL @ Youtube.com)

It turns out that Mori hasn’t shunned the limelight altogether, as his racing career has made him a minor sports celebrity (with a couple of endorsement deals to his name) and kept him visible on the sports news channels. Of course, we’ll never know if Mori ever feels the occasional twinge of regret that he left SMAP, or whether he would make the same choice all over again even if someone had told him back in 1996 that SMAP would go on to become what they are now. (And something tells me that yeah, he’d still choose to race.)

But one thing’s for sure: if there’s any remaining shred of doubt in Mori’s mind as to the wisdom of chucking SMAP’s success for a riskier — and shorter-lived — career in motorcycle speedway, that will be quickly obliterated after seeing what Nakai, Kimura, Goro, Tsuyoshi and Shingo have been wearing onstage to their 2010 concert tour, lollll

(Mori: Aieeee!!!! No regrets!!! I made the right choice!!! I made the right choice!!! *hops on motorbike and vroooms away*)

lulz XD

Photo credits: D-Addicts.com, japanuptown.com, noizumi.wordpress.com, Yahoo Auctions Japan (via SMAPxSMAP community @ LiveJournal)

Explore posts in the same categories: J-Ent: Welcome to the Freakshow

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26 Comments on “Random Fandom: SMAP and KaT-TUN, Mori and Jin”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Very interesting points! I didn’t even know Smap had a 6th member.
    But he seems happy with his choice and he most likely is happy that he quit because he could get married and start a family.
    The only reason the agency let Kimutaku get married was because Shizuka was pregnant(and she was really popular back then but she gave up her carrier for him)
    The wrath of Johnny is a scary thing considering how he’ll destroy anyone who dares to leave the agency,
    So Jin will have a contract with JE if I understod right. Haha Taguchi’s comment, most logically they have been told that Jin is no longer part of Kat-tun so in that case they have not done a dorama together.

    Did you know NEWS also had a seventh member Takahiro Moriuchi but he left the ganecy and started his own band One ok rock(he is the vocalist)

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      That was one ROCKIN’ video! Thanks for sharing! 😀 (Wow, I did not know the vocalist used to be a NEWSboy. Looking at him you’d never guess it!) Actually, I like how this rock band doesn’t try to amp up the drama the way other J-Rock acts do (with all the makeup and crazy hairstyles and stuff that scream Meatloaf — if he were Japanese). I like how One OK Rock look so stripped down and normal in this video, wearing just T-shirts and jeans (that I can even forgive Takahiro’s black emo nailpolish, lol). Even the English lyrics sound normal (I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t Engrish… lol NOT) and I was singing along by the halfway mark. Nice song 😉

      I think Kudo Shizuka was very popular in the ’80s and early ’90s (she was part of this supergroup of a girlband, then she went solo I think), but towards the late ’90s her mass appeal had begun to wane so that career-wise, bagging Kimura was really the best thing she could’ve done at that point. So it’s not like she gave up her career just to get hitched and have that baby, because there wasn’t much of it left anyway. (The career, not the baby. XD) It was KimuTaku who stood to lose more by getting married. 😉

      Re Junno – well if Johnny (and his minions) fed him that line and he believed it, then… *throws hands up* Anyway it’s Kame who’s the bigger douche bag here, because he obviously posed that question NOT because he DIDN’T KNOW THE ANSWER. So why ask at all, huh Kame? Hmmm… why indeed… *roll eyes*

      • Jenny Says:

        Yeah, well I think Kame and Jin’s relationship was quite strained. And in the end I don’t think Jin was very interested in the whole boyband thing, he got decent reviews from his acting in Bandage(the music was good too) so maybe he wantts to be a rock star not a pop star ^^

        Yeah, Takahiro quit I think soon after releasing the first single and then he decided to leave. His english pronounciation is really good and they are a hardworking band. And he can sing! The guitarist Alex had to quit after being arrested on charges of groping.

        Shizuka did all the vocal parts for Yukie Nakama in kamisama mou sukoshi dake.
        Kimura was definetely becoming bigger then her so maybe it was not such a bad choice and hey they are still married so perhaps they are not that miserable together.

  2. jicks Says:

    lmao, & Junno, I thought you were the least bad of those KaT-TUN bad boys! How I shall look at you in a different light now!

    But maybe- maybe those 2 series were such disturbingly horrific acting memories for Junno that his brain has elected to forget them beyond his conscience? You know, traumatic memory loss or something? I mean, Yukan Club & that teacher one wasn’t it… can’t blame the poor kiddo xO

    But… cynical me strikes again! Maybe this is some kind of sick tactic to make ppl sympathise for Jinny-Jin-Jin???

    Btw, lol@”Rapper Jin” caption! There is actually a recording artist in Hong Kong who rolls by the name of MC Jin. Everytime I hear it I can’t help but lovingly think of my manwhore xDD Has quite a ring to it doesn’t it?

    I like the SMAP comparison as well. Ii think it’s pretty cool that they tend to band together even more during adversity & that even to this day they still agree on wearing matching stage outfits. Oh man.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      “But… cynical me strikes again! Maybe this is some kind of sick tactic to make ppl sympathise for Jinny-Jin-Jin???” << At the expense of the other 5? Don't thunk so…

      “& that even to this day they still agree on wearing matching stage outfits. Oh man.” << Gahahahha I know right??? I don't know which costume change I hated the most, the green suits with circles and bubbles, or the… tents/giant bibs. Can't wait for the 2010 concert DVD to be released, though… or not, lulz

      Heyyy "MC Jin" ain't bad for his onstage persona! 'Course, he'll have to start wearing those atrocious parachute pants and vest (with nothing under, just… gold chains?), and then a few years from now he'll have to drop the "MC" and simply go by the name of "Jin." Then he'll go bankrupt and later appear as a judge on some gimcrack talent show or something… Oh no, how bleak the future seems for your badass pumpkin, jicks! 😀 “BakanishiTime!!! Can’t touch this… (bom-bom-bom-bom-bom)… Can’t touch this!!!” lulz

      • jicks Says:

        At the expense of the other 5? Don’t thunk so…
        ^^Okay, so I didn’t think that all thru properly. I’m guessing I’m just a little too worried for the guy’s future- lol, that picture you just painted of him being a talent show judge is the biggest of my fears ^^;; This apprehensive stage of how it’s all going to pan out is becoming slightly nerve-racking for moi. My, I’m really hoping he never gets to the point where he is forced to take his AnAn thing to the other level…

        Oh well. I’ll live on lol

        Re, SMAP. The tent outfits did it for me xD And the Kindergarten DYI halo things, golly. I mean, who are they kidding >< As for the DVD… you're actually considering forking out real dosh for it??? xDD

        • Ender's Girl Says:

          Well, Eeemrica has its MC Hammer, and Japan has its MC Jin. Makes perfect sense! (Although I read this Jin interview where he said he felt more American than Japanese, poor boy lol. No wonder he’s so gung-ho on his American dream. He doesn’t wan’t to make it worldwide… just stateside, I guess. Tsk tsk)

          “My, I’m really hoping he never gets to the point where he is forced to take his AnAn thing to the other level…” << LAWWWLLLL. You mean there's ANOTHER level? Ai caramba, let's pray we never get to witness such a thing in our lifetime… @___@

          “As for the DVD… you’re actually considering forking out real dosh for it??? xDD” — *wiiiiiiiiide grinnnnnnn* Well I figgered, since I bloody collect bloody KAT-TUN cons, and SMAP palatability >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> KT palatability, then why not SMAP right-o? 😀

  3. jazminsense Says:

    Wow, very interesting. I feel as if I really learned something, and something rather troubling.

    The picture of Johnny made me start. I know you’re not supposed to judge people by their looks, but…

    I’m more familiar with K-pop news and this made me wonder about what parallels, if any, might lie between this and the 2pm/Jay fiasco. I can see some parallels already actually, in that the members of 2pm haven’t talked about him at all, and vice versa I think. It just makes me wonder what’s happening out of sight that we don’t know about.

    One thing’s for sure. I’m glad that Korean companies such as SM, JYPE, YG don’t seem to have the overwhelming power of Johnny. Yet.

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      “The picture of Johnny made me start. I know you’re not supposed to judge people by their looks, but…” << Bwahahahaha! For our dear beloved Mr. Kitagawa, we'll make an exception juuuust for him! XD

      Oh, 2pm — I think I read about their controversy a while back. Not too conversant with K-pop, though. I'm afraid Shinhwa would be the extent of my knowledge, hahaha — and they're in the army!!!!! lulz

      “It just makes me wonder what’s happening out of sight that we don’t know about.” << Oh dear. Probably WAY MORE than we'd ever want to know about, haha. @-@

  4. Peggy Says:

    I always thought that Kimura and Shizuka were well matched. They have many things in common that would bring interest between them. Not the least was the surfing and loving the beach and ocean. Kimura would never walk away from the situation and I think myself, that he deliberately arranged things so that he would marry and Johnny would not be able to stop anything. Kimura was at the peak of his SMAP career and brought in the shekels for JE. There was no way he could be let go. I was also so pleased they had another baby and it is my personal opinion that there would have been another child but it just was not happening. Kimura has been good family man and I think Shizuka did give up her singing career to concentrate on family. She still has a career in art and music but just does not perform publicly.In her snapshots she looks so feminine and just the woman Kimura described as his favourite type. I think they were, and still are on the same wavelength and they understand one another perfectly. Ten years and still strong I think.

    • kisskimu Says:

      I agree with everything you said except for the part that he deliberately arranged things back in 2000. If you watch his press conference you would see that he was shocked and uncertain about his own future. He never once looked directly into the camera, he just stared blankly in the space in front of him and there were tears in his eyes. The timing was also not right, it was during smap concert tour and he had to announce it to the fans before a concert. There were empty seats because many fans, who were shocked by the sudden announcement, refused to show up at the concerts. It was reported later that Kimura said the most difficult thing for him to do was to tell his bandmates that the leaked gossip about his shotgun marriage was indeed true.

      I don’t think he deliberately planned the news to leak to the media like that because he looked angry and I believe he never would have picked that to be the perfect timing. I think he learned about the pregnancy, decided to keep the baby and get married, but the media got winds of it and all hell broke lose. Johnny was so mad at him that he didn’t even send the staffs and bodyguards to his press conference. Hence we see the difference in Kimura’s and Goro/Tsuyoshi’s press conference. The latter were more controlled and ordered while Kimura’s was a chaos.

  5. Kira Says:

    lol oh Johnny, he definitely has a thing for burying them alive. Thanks for the clips of Mori, I’ve always wondered what he looks like now.

    Re: KAT-TUN’s treatment of Jin vs SMAP’s treatment of Mori, the difference is glaring – SMAP seemed supportive of Mori’s decision whereas KAT-TUN seems resentful, though I can’t fault KAT-TUN for it. Jin was one of their two frontman and his leaving could majorly jeopardize the group’s future. Also, he isn’t leaving for another industry or being suspended against his own will, he’s essentially used KAT-TUN as a stepping stone for his career and is now casting them off. Although on paper it’s just a career move, some of them might have taken it as a betrayal on a more personal level. 😛 perhaps when the dust settles, members like Nakamaru or Ueda who were closer to him might start talking about the guy.

    Re: Kame
    I don’t have any affection for him but I doubt he would have asked such a question if it weren’t scripted. He’s always been their de facto leader and spokesperson. And the best thing in that situation would have been not to broach the subject at all.

    As for Kanjani 8 and NEWS, again their situations were very different but while they might not have been as bold as SMAP, they did find their own ways to circumvent the bans even before Uchi finally stepped out from “trainee aka pretend he never existed” status. The Kanjani bunch did stuff like dragging Uchi on stage at a con, leaving pointed gaps in their shoots (lol might be fans reading too much into it), Ohkura signing off with 8->1 even to this day etc. NEWS wasn’t as obvious but there were the little things like Koyama and Yamashita finding a way to publicly wish Uchi or Kusano happy birthday on their jwebs and other allusions to a ‘mutual friend’ even in magazine interviews that are probably subject to heavy censorship.

    And of course now there’s Kusano modeling for clothing and jewelry lines by Yamashita’s college bff. That’s the relationship I find the weirdest lol

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hey thanks for the info on Kanjani 8 thumbing their noses at Johnny’s draconian bans in their own little ways, lol. I don’t know much about K8 except that a couple are from NEWS, haha. But that bit of news certainly is interesting… 😉

      “Also, he isn’t leaving for another industry or being suspended against his own will, he’s essentially used KAT-TUN as a stepping stone for his career and is now casting them off. Although on paper it’s just a career move, some of them might have taken it as a betrayal on a more personal level.” << Well, I don't hold it against Jin for wanting to leave KT — for whatever reason. Maybe he did so in search of greener (stateside) pastures, or he wanted a change of scenery 'coz he was butt-sick of all the J-Pop/Jimusho/JohnnyK shenanigans. Or maybe he was experiencing member-ai fatigue syndrome (lol). Maybe the KT mix of personalities and constant infighting made it untenable for a productive working relationship between Jin and his KT-TUN homies. Maybe all he ever wanted to do when he grew up was become a cobbler or a dentist or something, and after giving a decade of his life to this industry he realized he didn't want to spend the rest of his life dressed as a muppet and jumping up and down stage after stage after stage while singing songs — ABOUT jumping up and down the stage. 😀

      Whatever the underlying reason. I just don't think it's fair to bind him to one group — as if being part of KT was a lifelong gig. I don't know about the legal ramifications of this thing, if Jin violated any terms of his management contract by wanting out — and in that case there'd be such considerations as buying out the contract or settling it amicably… or Johnny could haul Jin's ass off to court and make him do community service or something (i.e. 9 months touring with KAT-TUN! lol). But that's a legal matter. As for whether what Jin did was right or wrong, I don't think it would've been in the group's best interest to force Jin to stay even when his heart was clearly not in it anymore. I'm no Jin fan, so I can only understand a small part of the feelings of "betrayal" that everyone must be feeling, from Johnny to Kame & Co. right down to the fans, but at the end of the day it's about a person who's trying to work out what's best for his life. It ain't about the fans, or even about the industry (KT included). And whatever happens, whether Jin's fledgling solo career will soar to greater heights or crash and burn along with most of those who have tried the same route before… I just hope that Jin will be man enough to face the consequences and outcomes of his decision. 😉

  6. Yoko-chan Says:

    First things first: i love the way you write! Your posts always make me laugh. “Hell hath no fury like a Goblin King scorned”? Epic!!!
    I didn’t know all those things about SMAP. Well i’m not a SMAP fan to begin with… However, the thing with Kame and Junno does smell fishy. I mean come on, no matter how forgetful you are, how can you forget that?? However, let’s assume he did forget. Do you know what happened after that? I mean, Junno forgot, but so did Kame? He didn’t starr in those dramas, but he did know about them…
    Well anywayz, great post!!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Thanks! I guess that’s why I’m harder on Kame than I am on Junno, who usually just stands there and smiles shyly during the emcee portions of their cons (at least from what I’ve seen on the DVDs) while Kame/Jin/Koki/Maru gab away. Kame set the direction of their little spiel, he asked the leading question knowing full well what the answer was and, more importantly, who had ordered him to do it. Although Junno was in on it too, obviously, so I can’t hold him blameless either. 😉 You don’t forget about these things that easily — and most especially not now, given the circumstances.

  7. tinysunbl Says:

    Wow Jonny-san’s regime, where those who disagree vanish without a trace, is comparable to Big Brother’s in 1984! I just checked the wikipedia page and Jin’s name wasn’t listed anymore…not sure if the old man did it himself…

    I love the first (those-happy-days) picture where Johnny-san and Jin each looks at a different direction lmao. You sure have a clever sense of humor!

    Thanks for the update, EG. I was a bit disappointed with Junno, whom I always believe to be quiet and nice. As for Kame, that Malfoy boy can do anything and I still love him lol.

    And thanks also for transcribing the SMAP interview. SMAP and I are like a generation a part so I don’t really get to see them that often. LMAO@the collection of SMAP costumes. Good for some exhibition on sustainability and recycling.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Johnny-san = Big Brother… wow, his minions must be furiously at work trying to erase all traces of Jin’s memory from cyberspace, lol. (… or this could be the handiwork of a really, really ticked-off KT-TUN fan, hahaha)

      Kame = Malfoy = Draco = Dracula = vampire solo 2010… it all makes sense now! @__@

      “Good for some exhibition on sustainability and recycling.” << ROFLLLL spot on! 😀 Funny, 'coz my field lets me work with community-based environmental projects, like — making bags/accessories/stuff from trash. I'm sure we can ship over a container van of recycled garbage goodies that the SMAP costume designer can use for their next concert tour!

  8. Helicidae Says:

    Hi Ender’s Girl,

    I’ve stumbled across your blog recently and decided to subscribe to it after having read a couple of your articles. I especially enjoyed that deliciously long piece about my favourite J-drama of all time, Nobuta Wo Produce. Great in depth analysis. Must have taken some time and work to write it, thanks for sharing!

    And being an avid fan of Mr Eggplant’s I eagerly devoured your Jin-related entries. 😉 I quite like this guy and wish him all the best for his solo career. And yet I find it refreshing when somebody has the audacity to poke a little fun at Johnny’s idols. Or to go so far and even *gasp* criticize the Goblin Kindom. 😉 Which is well deserved imho. I just found an interesting article (not my work) concerning this topic and thought you might be interested in reading it as well. Here’s the link: http://www.hellodamage.com/top/2010/04/27/translation-of-2006-johnnys-jimusho-expose/

    (PS: Sorry for my English, I’m not a native speaker so my wording must sound a little strange.)

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hi! I’m thrilled to meet someone who loves NwP as much as I do. Yeah, I think writing that review took me at least a couple of weeks. Glad to know some of you out there enjoyed reading it, so it feels like all the effort actually paid off, lol. A friend of Shuji/Nobuta/Akira is a friend of mine, so do make yourself at home! 😀

      You mean… people don’t normally poke fun at Johnny-san and his Evil Empire? lol 😉 Why? (I mean, look at the guy.) Most of us English-speaking fans don’t live in Japan anyway, so what can he possibly do to us, right?

      Re the article, THIS DIRT IS GOLD!!!!! >D I was looking for an English translation of the news reports, but couldn’t find any. Thank you for steering me in the right direction! And it’s a good thing I wasn’t eating anything when I clicked on the link, because the food would never have gotten past first base if I was, lol. The transcript was pretty disturbing, ehh? Those poor ex-Johnnies, tsk. I mean, sure it came from a tabloid so we all ought to take it with a grain of salt, but… still. Eeeeeeewwwww. *bathes in industrial-grade bleach* @__@

      p.s. I never would’ve guessed it 🙂

      p.p.s. LMAO @ Mr. Eggplant… man I wish I never learned why fans call him that, too late hahahaha Y______Y

  9. Helicidae Says:

    Gosh, I totally forgot to reply to your comment.

    As for NwP, I’m thrilled, too! I lovelovelove this drama. Last year, when I discovered it, I really meant to buy it on DVD. Too bad, that copies are so hard to get here and come without (professionally translated) English subs. I’d like to watch it in good quality on my TV!

    Re poking fun at JE, I wasn’t actually referring to His Creepiness himself but rather his minions.
    I’m sure the general consenus within the English-speaking fandom is that Johnny-san is fair game, bashing-wise. What amazes me, though, is the number of fangirls who honestly think that JE idols are real artists/musicians. True, *some* of them might have what it takes to be an artist. But I doubt that they can show what they’re made of when JE practically owns them.
    (Besides, all JE costume designers must really hate their jobs. Why else would they be this determined to make the poor guys look as ridiculous as possible?)

    The article makes me shudder, too. Did you know that Jin had failed his audition but was then told to stay by Johnny-san himself? Makes you wonder why. Jin was only fourteen then. *shudders some more*

    Sorry for bringing up the eggplant analogy. *g* I bet that Jin, however, might prefer the vegetable food group over fruits. When they’re meant to describe himself, that is:

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      “(Besides, all JE costume designers must really hate their jobs. Why else would they be this determined to make the poor guys look as ridiculous as possible?)” << True, true!!! 😀

      The fruit pic: Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaa *wipes away tears and snot of mirth*

      (hehe Mr Eggplant is technically still a fruit, since "vegetable" isn't really a botanical term while"fruit" is (= ripened plant ovary containing the seeds). ^^;;

  10. Ellen Says:

    Hi Enders Girl,

    I just watched Mori’s last smaXsma episode (I’m a brand new, smappie, remember?) and was blown away by what a cool guy Mori seemed to be. I am guessing that 1996 was the inaugural year for the Bistro. In any case, Shingo and Tsuyoshi were both hilarious and pathetic “cooks.” I know Shingo was only 18, but still.. And on the other side of the “kitchen” was the model of efficieny that was Mori and Kimura. At 22, Mori already seemed a natural gourmet chef. Who knew?

    And he had so much poise and presence and seemingly good acting skills. Got me thinking how brave he was leaving the warm embrace of his SMAP bros. Unlike Jin, he did not stay in the music biz. unlike Jin, he made a clean break. Imagine that all he knew was being a Johnny’s and he just leapt into something completely different. Love when Kimura says that they should try to be capable men. Seems to me they were already on their way.

    And… what sort of group dynamic might there have been with Mori on board? I have a feeling Kimura would have been washing dishes at least occasionally.

    But you are so right about SMAP. You can say what you will (my tomodachi) about them but you can never doubt their affection for and loyalty to each other. I like to think that it is them – the 5 – who are special and not that the times and biz has changed and made the new boyz more shallow and callow.

    And Mori is now included in the history of SMAP or whatever that video was they showed to commemorate 19 or is it 20 years of SMAPdom? And, didn’t he come to see them at the Tokyo Dome this last time, too? Would love to see him as a guest on smaXsma, but I guess that might be too much too soon for Johnny, after all, it’s only been 14 years. I’ll just keep the fantasy of him giving the winning chef a toy race car when he comes on the Bistro!


    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Oh I didn’t see the part where Mori did his last Bistro SMAP episode! I only got to see the final performance and tearful farewell the boys gave him in the studio.

      “Unlike Jin, he did not stay in the music biz. unlike Jin, he made a clean break. Imagine that all he knew was being a Johnny’s and he just leapt into something completely different.” Yah, I know right!?! He had more to lose but the gamble paid off in the end. I def. give da man props for that — in a way I can’t do for Jin. W/ Jin I’m more like, “oh. so you want to go solo. er, how nice. go. go. go.” lol 🙂

      “And… what sort of group dynamic might there have been with Mori on board?” << Hmmm good question. Hopefully not too chaotic and drama-laden like some *other* 6-member JE groups out there… *rolleyes*

      Yeah, I did hear that Mori dropped by the 2010 con! How kewl is that huh? 😀

      “Would love to see him as a guest on smaXsma, but I guess that might be too much too soon for Johnny, after all, it’s only been 14 years” << Bwahahahaha!!! Too funny!!!!!! I can just imagine you dead-panning that line. 🙂 Yeah, that goblin king is older than dirt, so what's 14 paltry years? Ugh @__@

  11. […] posts: Anatomy of a J-Pop Breakup ; To the Faithless Departed ; Tuesdays with […]

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