Another moment of me being late to the party but also me taking some time to process my feelings. Around January 16th, it was officially announced that Snow Man would be adding 3 new members to their line up. The new management, Tackey, added Raul (Murakami Maito Raul), Meguro Ren and Mukai Koji. Above is the first video mention of it on the Johnny’s Jr channel.
Originally, I wasn’t that mad about the line up change. Since Snow Man, despite being an active Johnny’s Jr. group since 2012, are still un-debuted. Adding more members before debut really isn’t that uncommon in the entertainment world. It’s usually a sign that perhaps a debut is in the near future but it’s hard to say.
However, all I’ve seen is other fans being distraught to the point of un-following the group. I’m not kidding. Even the Facebook group I’m in the moderators have been vehement about ‘not being mad about it’ but also saying more or less, that they don’t support the new members. Which to me, is rather sad.
I understand that my indifference to the lineup change stems from being a recent fan only within the past year or so. I didn’t really know about Snow Man until the Johnny’s Jr channel, so call me a band wagoner. I don’t have the connection that some fans have had since the beginning, that does not make me less of a fan. To me as a fan of the group, as a fan of idols, it’s still sad that people have already written off these new members… despite them literally not have done anything worthy of being written off for.
Originally it was written that Raul, Koji and Ren wouldn’t be on the channel until early March, but in the below video they participate in the introduction. The series of videos was filmed before the announcement of their addition, so it’s kinda nice that Snow Man is all together for the beginning and original members get their ‘good bye’ videos so to speak. Additionally, the group got an updated opening card for their channel!
Just a bit of background is that these members did not appear from thin air. Mukai Koji is from the Kansai section of Johnny’s Jr. Meguro Ren was part of Uchusix aka Space Six. I haven’t read if he’s been pulled from the Uchusix, but I believe he has been. Raul is from the Tokyo based Johnny’s Jr branch but wasn’t in an official Johnny’s Jr group.
I’m left with some mixed feelings. There’s a certain part of me that knows this initial introduction above was coached. Another part of me wants to believe that the dynamic on camera and off camera isn’t so different. It’s not like they would have just been meeting each other for the first time.
Johnny’s uses a lot of the Jr’s in theatre productions and other big events so I’m sure somewhere along the lines they would have met each other before. From both debuted groups to un-debuted groups, they all talk fondly of running into each other at the company or company functions so again, they’re not complete strangers. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe is going on behind the scenes. It’s always so hard to tell.
I do get some of the tension. It’s hard to be rooting for a group for so long and then to have it changed so quickly without notice. It’s not fair to the fans or the group, but that’s part of the business so to speak. What I think a lot of fans forget is that the most tense individuals are Raul, Ren and Koji.
Those three will be expected to fall into place rather quickly, especially with the new concerts happening in March. Their company, new members and fans have the expectation that they will be able to incorporate themselves professionally as soon as possible. They have to bond with the managers, fellow new members, and with the original six members in a really short amount of time. These guys have the absolute most pressure of everyone in this situation on them, and it seems that no one wants to admit that.
I’m sincerely rooting for them to do well, and absolutely nail it with their first performances as nine.
Following all that, is that I’m understanding, but not pleased to see fans of Johnny’s lash out at Tackey. Most people, when not placing the blame on Raul, Ren and Koji have made Tackey to be their scapegoat. Since he is the new head of Johnny’s, or at least Johnny’s Island, obviously this change was all his doing. I get the logical, but that’s not confirmed. With a company as big as Johnny’s there’s never just a one person decision in something like this. It was probably a long standing, calculated risk on their part. Displacing the blame on one person is never cool, even if it does seem suspect.
Moving beyond all that, Snow Man themselves, seem to be taking it in stride. I’m still a new fan to the original 6 so I’m sure it’ll be a much easier transition for me to love the new three as well.