Morimoto Ryutaro on indefinite suspension!

A completely unexpected and shocking scandal is rocking the idol world. Hey! Say! JUMP’s youngest member, 16 year old Morimoto Ryutaro, has been caught underage smoking. And because of this scandal Ryutaro will cease all of his activities in the entertainment field indefinitely. He will also be edited out of the cover of Hey! Say! JUMP’s new single, Over, and will not participate in the Summary concerts.

Here are the larger pictures of him smoking:

Is anyone else having really bad Kago Ai flashbacks? All Ryutaro needs to do is date a 40 year old woman, and he’s as good as history. All joking aside, this is a completely serious issue. Not only is underage smoking illegal it’s also taken very seriously in Japan. It’s easy for fans living in the West to dismiss this scandal as not a big deal at all. When underage celebrities in America are caught doing a lot worse, nothing happens to them. Back in the day Lindsay Lohan drank underage, Taylor Momsen flashed her underage boobs, and Miley Cyrus was caught smoking “salvia.” Among many other underage scandals that I’m sure exist, but don’t know of off the top of my head. But for some reason in the US they got a slap on the wrist, and people didn’t seem to really care. However, just because America seems to be more lenient about these things, doesn’t mean Japan should or will be. We’re talking about idols here. Idols who get kicked out of their group for being caught with a boyfriend. (Well, that only happens to female idols. I won’t get into how unfair and sexist that is.)

People should legit be worried that Ryutaro might never return to Hey! Say! JUMP again. I am sure everyone is familiar with the big NEWS scandals of 2005 and 2006. First NEWS and Kanjani8 member Uchi Hiroki was suspended indefinitely for underage drinking. Then in 2006 NEWS member Kusano Hironori was caught for the same thing. Which of course lead NEWS to go on a year long hiatus. And we can all see how that turned out for them. They never returned to their groups. And are pretty much in obscurity. It took Uchi 3 years before his comeback solo concert. And since then all he’s been up to is random appearances on Shounen Club, is part of the Johnny’s New Year’s Countdown, and he was in a drama. And that’s it. In the 3 years since his scandal he’s basically done nothing. He’s only done the little bit he has done because he was a fairly popular member. But what about Kusano? Kusano, who to this day I am convinced is completely innocent. If you look at the pictures it does not look like beer. In Kusano’s parting words he said something along the lines of even though I am compeltely innocent I will dissapear from the public anyway. It was completely sad. And what is Kusano up to? Nothing! He studied dance in New York for a year and was a model for some random brand. But his pictures are still blurred in tabloid papers. All because Kusano wasn’t that popular. Uchi, who was drunk in public and was a public nuisance, got to make his comeback. But Kusano, who is seemingly innocent and even claims to be innocent, has done virtually nothing. And to be honest, none of that makes sense to me. The only logical reason for it has to be because Uchi is more popular and can make more money then Kusano can.

And if Kusano isn’t doing anything after his scandal because of popularity, where does that leave Ryutaro? Ryutaro is obviously one of the least popular Hey! Say! JUMP members. He’s on the bottom tier alongside Inoo Kei and Okamoto Keito.

Fans could also argue that Ryutaro will be fine because smoking isn’t as a big a deal as drinking is. Which seems a little weird to me. I don’t really think you can judge the 2 in that way. Underage is underage. Whether it’s drinking or smoking. That’s just my opinion though. Obviously JE thinks it’s a huge deal. It’s such a big deal that he is being treated to the same punishment that Uchi and Kusano were put under for a quote unquote less severe scandal. Also, note that Ryutaro was put on an indefinite suspension. Indefinite! Which means this suspension can last for however long Johnny’s sees fit. 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, or never if he feels like it! Don’t just assume that everything will be ok for Ryutaro because you feel it should be. Or that you feel it’s not a big enough scandal to warrent an indefinite suspension. The bottom line is Johnny’s makes the decisions. He decides what’s fair and what’s unfair. What’s a scandal and what isn’t. And the other bottom line is, Ryutaro broke the law. Which in turn makes the entire agency he works for look bad. I’ve said this before, I will bet you a million dollars that all idols, yes ALL idols male and female, have to sign a morals clause. And if they break that at any time the agency has every right to fire them, or punish them however they see fit.
On the other hand, maybe fans are right and smoking scandals aren’t that big of a deal. And Ryutaro will eventually return to Hey! Say! JUMP. So, let’s look at the only other idol smoking scandal I know of, Aibon’s. In 2006 Hello!Project member, and member of idol group W, Kago Ai was caught smoking underage. In a very grainy and unclear tabloid picture I might add. Aibon was immediately suspended for one year and W’s next single was put on hold. She then was later fired after being caught in another scandal. When Aibon eventually made her comeback she talked to teenagers and encouraged them to not smoke underage. She said that one foolish and careless act ruined her life. In responce the people she talked to said how they were shocked and disgusted by her scandal. They couldn’t believe she would do something like that. Not only because she seemed to be a good girl, but because she was a role model. However, Kago Ai was extremely popular, and therefore lucrative for H!P. I firmly believe she was only given such a small hiatus because of her popularity. And we all know that if a member of H!P is popular enough their scandals get swept under the rug or are more lenient. Nothing came of Tanaka Reina’s, Kamei Eri’s, or Natsuyaki Miyabi’s boyfriend scandals. But less popular members like Arihara Kanna and Murakami Megumi were given the boot. Or excuse me, they left to “continue their studies.” And even popular members Yaguchi Mari and Fujimoto Miki were forced to resign as leader of Morning Musume after their boyfriend scandals. H!P scandals also come down to popularity, and their position within the group. Obvious a leader in a scandal was setting a horrible example for the rest of the group.

All Morimoto’s future really comes down to is luck and popularity. Ryutaro obviously doesn’t have popularity on his side. So, fans just have to hope that Johnny realizes that smoking underage isn’t really that big of a deal. I mean, apparently Johnny knew Ryutaro was smoking from time to time. I think that will play a big role in how long he is under suspension.

But for me personally, I actually don’t care that much about this scandal. Yes, it is sad that he’s under suspension and he may never come back. And that HSJ might never be 10 members again. Or that fans are left hanging about his fate like they were with Uchi and Kusano. All of that is incredibly sad. But Ryutaro isn’t really my favorite member. And as selfish as it sounds, I’m just happy it’s not a member I actually care about. That and the fact that I don’t really feel any sympathy for him. It was his fault. He was the one that not only broke the law, but was stupid enought to let people take pictures of it. The one picture he was legit caught off guard. But the picture where he’s wearing the black shirt, he’s trying too hard to look cool, and it looks almost like he’s modeling for the person who’s taking the picture. If Ryutaro can’t do the time, he shouldn’t have done the crime.

SCANDAL-SCANDAL Nanka Buttobase preview

Back when I was blogging about Shunkan Sentimental I said I was going to stop neglecting SCANDAL, and was going to post more about them. Well, here we are 3 singles and an album later. With a new single and mini album being released in a matter of 2 months. And of course I feel completely awful about not blogging about them, because I really do love SCANDAL. And they have yet to release a single I don’t like.

On Octomber 6th SCANDAL will be releasing a new singled called SCANDAL Nanka Buttobase. The composer for the song said he’s going in a different direction with this song and is making sound like it’s from the 1970’s.

I absolutely love this new direction from SCANDAL! It definitely sounds like a 1970’s rock song. This is probably the heaviest single SCANDAL has released. Shunkan Sentimental was a little heavy, but this takes it to the next level. Which is a welcomed change. SCANDAL usually releases softer rock songs, which in the US would be considered pop punk. Don’t get me wrong I love their previous singles, but it’s nice to hear something new every now and then. I absolutely love everything about this song, I automatically fell in love with it the first time I heard it! The harmonies in this are also really amazing.


And am I hearing things or did I actually hear the other members sing? Maybe it’s just wishful thinking since they never sing. But I want to hear my beloved Rina sing, she has an adorable voice!

SCANDAL’s Sentimental Moment

Pop/rock band SCANDAL released their 5th major single, Shunkan Sentimental, on February 3rd. It’s being used as the new ending theme for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
This video has been floating around for a while now, but I just found out about it recently. I really need to follow SCANDAL a lot closer than I have been. I almost missed this single completely.

I think the song is absolutely amazing. It song sounds a lot heavier than the songs they usually made. They’re songs are usually upbeat rock. Even Shoujo S, which is heavier, is more anime sounding than rock. So this so is a nice change from that. This song does have some anime elements to it but they’re not so predominate in the song. The bass and guitar completely overshadow it, which is nice. The beat as a whole is pretty standard for a rock song. But that’s fine, the simple beat works well with the song. And Haruna’s voice makes this song great. She has to be one of my favorite vocalist in Jpop as a whole. I am a little sad that the rest of the girls have to share one solo line. I love Tomomi’s voice, so I’d like to hear her a little bit more.

The PV is pretty simple. There’s really nothing else going on except them playing in a dimly light warehouse. But it reminds me a little to much of Morning Musume’s Nanchatte Renai and Girugamesh’s Owari to Mirai PV. I actually think all 3 videos were filmed in the same place, so that’s probably why.


SCANDAL’s Shunkan Sentimental


Girugamesh’s Owari to Mirai


Morning Musume’s Nanchatte Renai

There also a few scene where they are inverted for some reason. It’s pretty cool looking, but still seems a little unnecessary. But the flame parts add a nice touch to it. Even though it reminds me of Nami Tamaki’s Brightdown PV. (I really need to stop comparing this video to other videos.) I also like their solo scenes in front of the white wall, because that’s the closest SCANDAL will get to actually dancing.


Haruna looks gorgeous


However Mami is wearing so much makeup she looks like a ghost

I don’t know why they don’t have official dances. There moves are about as good as Guardians 4.
The disappearing into fire scene is probably my favorite part.

Is H!P superior or am I just biased?

Many of you people know that I’m an avid Hello!Project fan. I follow their music almost religiously, which might not be as great as it sounds. H!P monopolizes a lot of my time, and I love H!P to death. But it feel like there’s an entire world of idol music I’m missing out on. There’s definitely more idol fish in the sea.

Let’s take a look at my Japanese music taste pre and post H!P obsession.

Pre H!P.

And Post H!P.


Now that doesn’t seem like a lot.
But lets see where that is in Jpop alone.


My potential bias doesn’t stop there. H!P effects all the idol music I listen to.


Hinoi Team:

Hinoi Team formed around the same time I started getting in Japanese music all together. They were really cute and had an appealing sound. For a while I was obsessed with para para. And I even wanted to be ganguro. Thank god that passed.
I vowed to make them the first Jpop act I followed from beginning to end, and I did. I listened to everyone on of their songs. And know lots of things about the members. Especially Hikaru. I guess they kind of set the stage for me listening to idol music. Even though at the time I had no idea what an idol was. They were the only group I liked that wasn’t directly influenced by H!P.

Perfume:

I found out about Perfume around the time I just got in H!P. Back when I only listened to Koharu’s solo stuff. They had a similar sound to Hinochi. But instead of Euro beat they were techno. I though Perfume would ultimately fill the void from Hinoi Team’s sudden and unannounced break-up. (Which I didn’t even admit happened until they didn’t release anything for a year.) But my love of perfume didn’t really catch on. I like a few songs by them now and that’s really about it. Instead I focused on Koharu and slowly the rest of H!P.

Scandal:

I’ve never even heard of Scandal before they were the opening theme to Bleach. I haven’t really heard of most idols outside of Hello!Project. It took me almost 3 years of being an H!P fan to find out about JE. And if I wasn’t in cover groups I probably still wouldn’t know what JE is. Which would be pretty terrible. I can’t even remember what it was like not listening to JE.

But even now H!P is indirectly the reason I like Scandal. I was drawn to Scandal because they are so different then H!P. They are leaning more towards being the new Zone then anything else. However I didn’t really listen to Zone beyond True Blue. I really think Scandal has the staying power for me though. It combines my two favorite things. Jrock and cute girls singing happy music. Plus my love for anime. And yet, I don’t know how closely I plan to follow them.

The sad truth is if Scandal lost the guitars, and was another idol group I’d lose all interest. Because to me they would be just another idol group that’s inferiorly to H!P. Which is jacked up logic, and at the same time is sadly how I feel.

JE:

The main reason I was drawn to JE had less to do with H!P and more to do with hot guys. Even though H!P didn’t effect the reason I gave them a chance, H!P is still the reason I like the groups I like. My favorite groups in JE are NEWS and Hey! Say! JUMP. And the reason for that is they are basically the male version of Morning Musume and Berryz Koubou.
NEWS and Momusu both focus around cute and happy songs, mostly about love. NEWS is the cutesy group within JE.
Berrzy Koubou and Hey! Say! JUMP both are the younger groups within their company, and have members around the same age. They both started out doing more childish songs and moved to more mature ones as they got older.

I’m not really sure what conclusion I was trying to draw or what point I was trying to make by witting this. Right now the only thing I proved is that I am definitely H!P biased. And maybe it also proves that I’ll probably never find an idol company or group that I like as much as H!P or H!P’s groups. Which in a way makes me less biased and more dedicated.
So is H!P superiorly? It depends on who you’re talking to and what the criteria of being “superior” is. H!P’s music is catchy, happy, and fun. Sure sometimes it’s not lyrical genius, but whoever said it was. It’s uplifting and entertaining, which is all I, or anyone else, should ask for from idol music
As for the idol world I missing out on, I guess I’m still on the fence about that. Maybe sometime in the future their be a group I like more than Momusu. But as for right now there’s not.
I do feel a little left out when people get jazzed over AKB48 or Perfume. But I’m just not into it. It’s like being the odd person out in game of Red Rover. You see it happening, you want to get involved, but you’re just not invited.

Ai Kago FRIDAY’d again

Once again Kago-chan is hit with another scandal. This time it’s an alleged affair with Hidejiro Mizumoto. Mizumoto had recently gotten a divorce from his wife Asato. But Asato is claming the reason for the divorce is her husband having an affair with Ai Kago. She is also seeking a large ammonu of money from both Mizumoto and Kago, 50 million yen from Mizumoto and 10 million yen from Kago. She is also asking for child support, which is standard for divorces. Asato also seems to have proof of the infidelity. She claims to have pictures Kago’s underwear, clothes, cosmetics, and other items at the apartment and also love letters on Mizumoto’s movie scrips. Tokyograph posted the news a couple days ago. You can read the full article there.

Kago, Kago, Kago. It really seems that she’s learned nothing. She’s finally getting her life back and is in the spotlight again. And yet she risks to lose it all again, for essentially the same reasons. I really thought she was past all of this and finally moving on. But this really makes it seems like she doesn’t care. And is again acting like a selfish teenager who never thinks of the repercussions of her actions. This really is disappointing. I was finally getting used to the new Ai and then she does something like this. I mean she’s probably allowed to date now. Can’t she find anyone single?

Another thing that catches me off guard, is the fact that Asato is asking for 10 million yen form Kago. Does Kago even have that kind of money anymore? She spent her H!P money when she was under house arrest. She even stated in her photobook, she had to take an office job with H!P because she didn’t have any money. I wonder how she’ll get that kind of money.

It also seems that Kago-chan isn’t over the older men yet. Mizumoto is 13 years her senior. And above all that, he’s not even good looking. Kago could do way better! Even the last scandal she was caught in, the guy was hideous. I don’t really understand. If you’re going to risk your career for a guy at least make sure he’s attractive.