Where will fans go after Arashi?

Music | Sound Off Feb 7, 2019

Where will fans go after Arashi?

by Patrick St. Michel

Fans of Arashi still haven't come to terms with the news that the J-pop group will go on a hiatus at the end of 2020, bringing a close, at least temporarily, to one of the 21st century's most popular Japanese acts. While supporters might not ...

Is the feudal era over for Japan's talent agencies?

Film May 2, 2018

Is the feudal era over for Japan's talent agencies?

by Mark Schilling

Japanese show business definitely has a feudal side. Talent agencies control their tarento (talent) much in the way the daimyō (feudal lords) controlled the samurai in their clans, supporting their livelihoods in return for absolute fealty. And just as samurai were expected to stay ...

Former SMAP stars find freedom online

Music | Sound Off Nov 9, 2017

Former SMAP stars find freedom online

by Patrick St. Michel

When a wrecking ball fell on and destroyed a car, I was hooked on a 72-hour live stream starring three former members of pop group SMAP. Airing last weekend on the online streaming site AbemaTV, this program found Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori ...