In a significant move, Johnny & Associates are considering waving goodbye to the term "Jr." for its talents who are yet to make their CD debut. This decision comes on the heels of the recent sexual assault allegations surrounding the late Johnny's founder, Johnny Kitagawa. During a press conference held on the 2nd, the company announced its intention to rename all group names and nicknames connected to "Johnny's," including affiliated entities, starting from the company name itself. It appears that this rebranding wave will also touch the long-standing nickname, "Jr."
At present, Johnny & Associates boasts a roster of around 200 talents labeled as "Johnny's Jr." and "Kansai Johnny's Jr.," actively engaging in activities across East and West. Groups like "HiHi Jets" and "Ae! group" are already competing for attention even before their official debuts. The age range spans from the youngest member at 6 years old to the oldest at 29, and these young talents have been making waves, even performing together at Tokyo Dome concerts.
According to insiders, Yoshihiko Inohara, the current president of the affiliated company "Johnny's Island" responsible for overseeing this division, is set to become the vice president of the newly formed company. It's reported that he played a pivotal role in advocating for change, including the possibility of retiring the iconic "Jr." label. Inohara is expected to take an active role in mentoring young talents in the new setup, stating at the press conference, "These are the kids who will bear the responsibility of our future. I want to impart not just professional skills but life lessons as well."
The freshly established company is also hinting at a shift, saying that "young talents will be able to join the new company instead of signing with an agency." This suggests that changes won't be confined to just names but could extend to the very concept and approach of a "debut." A new dawn seems to be on the horizon for the entertainment world.