How’s everyone coping with your “Stay Home” lifestyle?
It’s the start of Golden Week in Japan but everyone is encouraged to “stay home” and not travel outside of our neighbourhood. Japanese TV shows are flooded with repeated dramas or variety shows, some shown as it is, some reproduced as a recollection of funny snippets. It’s interesting to see if there is an effort to put the date of filming so that the audience doesn’t misunderstand that the artists are still going outside, filming for the shows.
Times like this, the entertainment world is really struggling to come up with new ideas to create new contents within the restrictions. I don’t really mind since I got to see some shows that I didn’t catch 1-2 years back, especially those with Johnny’s artists.
Social media power
It’s great that Johnny’s Jimusho has embarked on new channels to engage their fans and audience via social media. With this situation, they have been actively connecting with us via Instagram Live, YouTube Live, LINE Live, etc. With all the cancelled concerts, it also means they need to find a way to sell those concert goods, which you can purchase from their recently-opened online shop!
New Discovery: Snow Man
Within these 2 months, with the help of social media, I discovered this Johnny’s idol group “Snow Man”. I was aware of the dual-debut they had with SixTones, and was watching all those variety shows from January 2020, but my attention was very much on SixTones.
Hubby was the one who noticed one member from Snow Man had this very interesting character, and when they announced their Asian Tour 2D.2D., I decided that Hubby needs to join the fanclub so that we can see them in Southeast Asia! Alas, everything is now cancelled.
Nevertheless, I started following this group and found that everyone has really unique characters that made them so fun to watch in their YouTube videos. Similar to SixTones, they have their own YouTube channel which is updated with new videos every Wednesday. They also own an official Weibo account under J_SNOWMAN.
Formed in 3 May 2012, Snow Man started off as a 6-member group, named by the man who managed Johnny’s Jimusho now as Vice-President, Hideaki Takizawa, Well-known for their acrobatic dance performances, they were back-dancing for Takki’s show “Takizawa Kabuki”. I think they also went to Singapore in 2015 for the 10th anniversary show with Takki. You can find their profile from Johnny’s Net or Avex Trax.
Leader: Hikaru Iwamoto
He’s the leader of the group, a multi-talented guy who handles the choreography for some of Snow Man performances. He’s also well-known for his body fitness and claimed to have a body fat percentage of 5%. Contrary to his looks, he is afraid of horror houses, has a sweet tooth, and is a tapioca drink lover! 🙂
MC: Tatsuya Fukazawa
Eldest of the group, he is the MC in charge. It’s interesting to see how each Johnny’s group will always have a person good at being an MC. He joined Johnny’s Jimusho around the same time as Ryohei Abe (same group) and other debut group members like Ryosuke Yamada, Yuto Nakajima (Hey! Say! JUMP), Ryosuke Hashimoto (A.B.C-Z), so you can imagine how many years he has spent as a Johnny’s Junior. He’s well-known for his crane game talents.
Masters Degree Holder: Ryohei Abe
Armed with a Masters Degree, Ryohei Abe is the intellectual one in the group. He also holds the license of a weather forecaster, which is said only 5% will pass this super difficult course. With that, you can see them showcase himself as the teacher for other members in this YouTube series called “Abe-chan Sensei“. He also got on the news because he won 3,000,000 JPY when they answered all questions correctly on a TV quiz show.
Anime Otaku: Daisuke Sakuma
He’s the mood-maker of the group, usually noisy and making funny comments. Self-proclaimed anime otaku, he’s good friends with another Johnny’s debut group member, Toshiya Miyata (Kis-My-Ft2). In most of the YouTube videos, you can see him wearing anime or manga related T-shirts. While Snow Man members can all do acrobatic dance, he’s the one who’s probably doing the most difficult stunts.
Beauty maniac: Shota Watanabe
Appealing to the female fans, he claims to be a beauty maniac. He was also exposed to have undergone full body hair removal, after first going through facial hair removal. In terms of the group character, he’s usually one of the main vocals with his clear sweet voice. His fans also think he looks like Sanrio’s character “Cinnamoroll”. You can see it for yourself when they visited Sanrio – Puroland. Fans also love to refer him as a 5-year-old in the way he behaves and reacts. He is also the childhood friend of Ryota Miyadate (same group) and lovely known as “Yuri-gumi” (literally “lily group”) which is the name of their kindergarten class group.
His Royal Highness: Ryota Miyadate
An avid fashion lover, Ryota Miyadate, royally known as “Date-sama” (aka Mr. Date), designs stage costumes for the group. Usually, when the other group members are funny and noisy, you will find him observing quietly but when needed, he will give comments like what royal members will do. He showcased his superb cooking skills and is also very resistant to pain. (WTH?) LOL!
From 6 to 9 members
In January 2019, it was announced that 3 new members will join Snow Man. At that time, these 3 members were all juniors belonging to different Junior groups. The renewed group then started their promotion activities and concerts from 2019, heading towards their debut.
Kansai x Thai: Koji Mukai
Born to a Japanese father and Thai mother, Koji Mukai was previously part of Kansai Juniors. There are some old TV show videos of him with Kansai juniors, including Ren Nagase (King & Prince), Daigo Nishihata (Naniwa Danshi), etc. Scouted by Johnny-san who visited a Muay Thai gym in Thailand and spotted a photo of Koji there, Johnny-san found out his contact details and called him up. Unsurprisingly, he also speaks Thai and was helpful when Snow Man visited Bangkok this year for Japan Expo Thailand 2020. You may find him mentioning his mother many times, I feel that he’s really a mummy’s boy. You can see Date-same cooking his mother’s dish as part of Koji’s welcome party.
Model: Ren Meguro
Ren Meguro was previously part of this Johnny’s Jr. group “Uchu Six” (literally Universe Six) who was back-dancing for a couple of years for Arashi. Standing at 184cm, he’s also a regular model of Fine Boys. If he doesn’t speak, you will find him a young handsome idol, but when he does, you will notice that he’s not exactly on the intellectual side. Especially when he recites the time-table, 7×8=56 but 7×9=53. EH?! Or Sunday in English = Remember. EHx2?! His special talents involve fishing for crayfish (HUH?) and he’s super flexible! I still cannot believe with his height, he can clear the limbo dance at 65cm. FYI, He’s my favourite member of the group.
Baby of the group: Raul
Raul has his beautiful exotic looks due to his Venezuelan blood, and was previously part of this group “Shonen Ninja”. He changed his name from Murakami Maito Raul to Raul after joining Snow Man. Aged at 16 years old, he’s the youngest in the group, but the tallest at 185cm with really long legs. Apparently, it’s 94cm waist down.
Basically, with his height and presence, it’s hard not to notice his powerful dancing when they are doing their performances. With Raul, I also realise how important hairstyle/hair colour is for an idol’s image. The blonde hair did wonders to his star aura compared to his previous dark hair. Similar to Ren Meguro, he has this model-quality good looks and height, but when he speaks or laughs, he will be your usual teenage boy.
Debut song: D.D.
A very powerful debut song and dance performance. With all the acrobatic moves, I think they have to keep their bodies in very good shape if they still want to do the same level of performance 20 years down the road. 😛
Crazy F-R-E-S-H Beat
This song is the coupling song of D.D. single. It gets addictive after a while, with a very familiar ring like Gangnam Style. Dance choreography is done by Hikaru.
Recent Videos from Remote Working
With the current situation, many Johnny’s talents are also staying at home. With that, they come up with a series of videos to showcase some games we can play with friends at home too. From these videos, you get to peek at some personal life of theirs and the way they interact with one another which definitely brings smile to the viewers.
There are still many videos out there that I haven’t touch, so I guess I am not getting bored with my “stay home” life anytime soon.