Attendees of 2014 “Johnny’s Countdown” Demand Refunds

Held every year, Johnny’s Countdown is a  New Year’s Eve spectacular that showcases a variety of Johnny’s talents in one big concert broadcast on Fuji TV. However, fans and attendees of the last Johnny’s Countdown have expressed a lot of displeasure in last year’s concert, going so far as to demand their money back. This is because the Johnny’s Countdown unexpectedly turned into “Matchy’s 35th Anniversary Concert.”

The first problem with the most recent Johnny’s Countdow is Fuji TV’s decision to not broadcast the entire concert. Because of this, demand for tickets was high, and fans scrambled to get tickets in a frantic manner. This made tickets difficult to get, which led to an even bigger disappointment among fans who attended the event. When the concert turned out to be something that fans were not expecting, fans began to demand their money back. But why is that? A 39 year old housewife and passionate fan of Yamapi says:

“The main offender is Matchy-san. When the countdown began, the voltage of the venue came to a climax. Then, since the moment that the year turned, Matchy’s solo concert abruptly began. I slumped. I didn’t ask for that. That was long, so long. He called his kouhai Okamato Kenichi and this pointless talk between old guys went on and on. I understand his feelings of wanting to celebrate his 35th anniversary but that’s not what we want. The friend who went with me seriously shouted “We don’t need these old dudes. Scram!” Even though I thought they gave us a cold shoulder, the people around me gave a round of applause and I was shocked. I thought that everyone felt the same as me.”

It was reported that even during performances by groups that they didn’t particularly like, fans still stood up in support. But during Matchy’s set, more than half of the fans remained seated and during the set about a third of the fans went home.

The aforementioned stay at home wife said:

“Every for this day I save money to buy the ticket and pay for the traveling costs. The clothes I wear on that day so of course I want to go to a beauty parlor. To clear the house on New Year’s Eve I have to play a serious house wife habitually or I won’t be allowed to go. For all of that, because of Matchy’s childish personal appeal, it all went to nothing. I feel like I want to demand not just a refund for the ticket but for consolation money as well.”

Johnny Kitagawa allegedly said on radio that “If there are people that don’t like even one minute of the countdown, I will refund their money.”

Quote + information source

Fans on Twitter also expressed similar distaste:

Tweet text: Since the Countdown is finished, if I were to put my feelings into words, I say that it wasn’t the Johnny’s Countdown 2014-15, but “Kondou Masahiko’s 35th anniversary concert (back dancers: kouhai Johnny’s)”

95% of the part that was not broadcast on TV was Matchy-san’s concert.

Well we didn’t pay 8500 yen to come see Kondo Masahiko’s 35th anniversary concert, understand?

The right name for this year’s countdown should be Kondo Masahiko’s Countdown Rehearsal with Johnny’s, honestly

I have gone to the Countdown for 10 years now but this is the first time I have seen completely dead venue

Tweets source

There has been no news of fans being refunded their money as of yet. Hopefully, this will not turn into negative prospects for next year’s show.

  • Comments

    • eplizo

      lmao lawd. It sounds like it was a bore. It’s the sort of thing that you expect to happen when you go to a show with more than one artist though……. I’d say they should just deal with it tbh, but I guess they were technically promised a refund, so w/e.

    • Ryusei

      Well that must really suck… I understand them tbh Johnny could just give him a solo concert, this isnt the right way to do it

      • Nakai Masahiro from SMAP

        probably all the tiny venues were booked

      • omg

        Johnny is trying to bring Matchy back from irrelevancy by putting him in the countdown concert but apparently it backfired.

        • Guest

          Matchy usually (if not always) was at JCD. For the first time though it turned into HIS concert.

          • omg

            that’s what I meant…Johnny is making the countdown concert as Matchy’s solo concert and it backfired.

            • Conspiracy Theory

              Matchy probably wanted a concert for his 35th anniversary. Instead of going for some classy smaller one, he wanted a big one. J&A knew it wouldn’t sell and they’d lose money on it. No one was brave enough to tell this to Matchy, so they came up with this. Apparently to J&A it’s better to piss off 50k of fans than one Matchy. Guy must have a lot of stuff on them.

              • chu

                also I heard he is the shareholder of J&A so….

              • omona

                Isn’t he the one who had his mothers ashes stolen because of Johnnys?

              • Reileen

                that actually sounds really probable lol. They probably are like “omg how do we say no to Matchy” and ends up not doing it

    • omg

      Johnny Kitagawa, put money where your mouth is, start giving out refunds…

      • yamakita

        I kinda don’t wanna know where his mouth is.

    • guest

      “I have to play a serious house wife habitually or I won’t be allowed to go”

      What a lonely lifestyle.

      • M

        I was thinking that was extremely sad, tbh.
        Is Japan really this bad???

        • chu

          tbh the situation is similar in most asian countries…

          • rei

            I think this only apply to the northern east part of Asia.

          • CultureDifference

            This kinda thing is more common in Japan and South Korea, but not as much in other East Asians countries.

            • chu

              Hello what about India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and maybe other eastern countries like Indonesia etc

          • meh

            It’s uncommon in the Philippines.

      • johnny’s wotas

        that’s pretty much cover half of the Johnny’s wotas

      • OhSnap!

        who has to “allow” her? isnt she an adult?

        • guest

          she’s a housewife, so obviously she needed permission from the husband of course. That’s the sad life of a housewife in Japan and many other parts of Asia, the wife obey’s the husband’s every command & needs permission from the husband to do virtually anything. sad.

          • OhSnap!

            That’s just so depressing. They go through all their lives unable to do whatever they want and take decisions as adults. First it’s their parents and then it’s their husbands. That has to be some kind of human rights issue, idk, maybe.

            • blanc49

              As sad as it sound, thats how it is in most Asian countries. I also been thought the same but I never thought its wrong. Probabily coz we already embrace it idk…

              • OhSnap!

                Personally I think nothing is black or white. I have relatives whose marriages have the breadwinner-housewife dynamics and they go just as fine. The woman is not repressed, not asked in a patronizing manner where she goes or what she is wearing and she has all the cash to manage as she wishes, so I dont like when people assume automatically that a houewife is always miserable or something because it’s absolutely not true
                However I do believe that women who dont have some economic independence are at bigger risk when their husbands happen to be mean and controlling and oppresive or , in the worst cases, violent. Because they have no mediums to leave the house and leave the violent situation, etc.
                But yes, no one can assume anything unless you know about each case individually.

          • A

            Honestly, I can’t say this about every Asian country but Japanese housewives are definitely not stereotypically submissive at all and, in most cases, they’re the ones that control the house’s finances et all (including husband’s allowance)

      • justanidea

        are u sure it’s not something that is taken out of context and thus having something lost in translation?
        as far as I know, in Japan New Year Countdown is supposed to be a family occasion, so I think the wife and his husband was just having some kind of negotiation, where the husband will not be jealous or mad if the wife want to spend countdown with her favorite idols as long as she does her household works seriously?
        I think the information given is too little for you to generate such hasty conclusion.

        • justanidea

          sorry I mean ‘the wife and her husband’, as u know typo happens ;)

      • Surreal Score

        I know, right? Out of the entire article, that line caught my eye the most. Who the hell is she married to? Whoever he is he must be such a dictator. Either that or she has a wicked mother-in-law. Their love must be strong for her to put up with that kind of oppressive environment.

      • M

        I was just thinking, maybe it was a matter of translation? I’ve seen before where fans of Johnny’s groups who are learning Japanese translate articles or interviews and there’s times where they’ve put something down that wasn’t quite correct in terms of wording… And then there’s the fans that translate Japanese to English that are actually learning English as well, so their translations aren’t the best and are easily written poorly (using a word that doesn’t quite equal what was being said by the idol, etc.). Which can very easily be misunderstood by others who are reading it.
        I know this is a little different, but maybe it was translated a little roughly. I did some research on families in Japan last year for a school assignment, comparing Japanese culture to ours regarding the family, and women were much less ‘obedient’ than I’d expected – the idea that the women are lesser than the husband and don’t work and take care of the kids and all that stuff was starting on it’s way out the door. Slowly, anyways. Japanese men also wanted to stay home more or be home more often and that kind of thing and had more equal views when it came to things like their wife having a job and that kind of thing. But I’m sure there’s still people who are old-fashioned, like this husband and wife.

    • Guest

      Johnny said more than once before that he’ll refund money if you didn’t enjoy the show. Time to empty your pockets, old man.

      At least they should say that one hour of 2hr show will be ALL about Matchy.
      Apparently at some point Kuroyanagi Tetsuko went up on stage and talked for 10+ minutes. Adding to that talk with Okamoto etc, a snoozefest was guaranteed, especially for those who went to see other groups (which is most of the audience).
      It’s amazing that after so many years in this industry, J&A managed to pull off something so unprofessional.

      • omg

        Johnny is getting old, senile and out of touch with reality. He seems to be stuck in his own ways and doesn’t want to change. Even thinking he can get away with anything he wants to do to his wotas.

        • myspeculation

          I don’t think it’s still Johnny controlling all of the things in Johnny’s management now. as you say, he is getting old, and like many other company’s founder he might have been too focused on building the company yet forgot to prepare his next successor to lead the future of Johnny’s company, thus right now it seems it’s all about power struggle and political camps inside of Johnny’s. According to rumor, at least there are two established camps: Julie and Iijima. I am suspecting there is another growing camp, building power from outside the Johnny’s, with one of the current Johnny’s idol as the center.

          • kiyomi

            The growing camp is Tackey. He’s really trying, even threw a lavish bday party for Johnny last year…

          • Reileen

            Is that Higashiyama or Tackey we are talking about?

          • M

            Who is this Julie and Iijima everyone keeps mentioning??? Can someone explain this to me?? I’ve been a Johnny’s fan for three years and have never once heard these names until recently?? They seem important?? Someone said this Julie is the reason SZ is now promoting with 3 members, but why does she get to decided and why would she do that??? I’m confused, lol.

            • M

              And you can tell I’m confused due to my amount of question marks, lol.

            • guest

              Fujishima Julie – Johnny’s niece, J&A’s vice president. Her groups: TOKIO, V6, Arashi, NEWS, Kanjani8, KAT-TUN, HSJ, probably KinKi, since lately they appear on her other groups shows a lot (same thing happened to HSJ when she took them)
              She will most likely get Johnnys WEST and Nakayama Yuma too, since they’re under JE and she’s a vice president of it too iirc.

              Iijima Michi – Brought SMAP to the glory. After 20 years of having only SMAP, she also took Kisumai, A.B.C-Z, SZ, Yamapi. And Jin was hers too iirc.

              Both ladies are apparently candidates for the J&A throne.

              If you watch various Johnnys shows, you will realize that certain groups guest only on certain shows. Same goes for dramas I think. It’s the so called “faction split”.
              It was getting more and more visible in the recent years, but then at the end of 2014 there was a sudden all-J&A FNS appearance (though when they were singing with 2groups+Matchy, they were still split by factions) and some Julie groups appearing on CDTV. No idea what that means, we’ll see how it goes this year.

              • A

                Julie seems to be winning with TOKIO (they have the highest-rating Johnny’s variety show) + Arashi (most profitable/highest-selling) + V6 (Okada Junichi’s currently the most ~respected actor out of Johnny’s).

                Then again, Iijima has SMAP, which are indisputable national treasures, and Kisumai are getting bigger & bigger and are Johnny’s biggest bet for the new generation.

    • nothingsover

      I personally love Matchy and would be someone who wouldn’t mind attending his concert but I can see why fans were upset. They could have given Matchy an actual concert for his 35th anniversary, rather than hijacking the Countdown. Maybe this is Johnny’s apology to Matchy for not doing anything for Matchy’s 30th anniversary (because that year was also Arashi’s 10th anniversary). Hopefully Johnny will stay true to his word. He should have enough money to cough up.

    • Miryam

      There are way too many Johnny’s groups nowadays to keep everyone happy. In the 2011-2012 Countdown, fans were complaining there was too much J-FRIENDS and not enough of the kouhai groups. Last year, there were complaints about the lack of the senior groups.

      • チェリーでおまっ

        Isn’t Johnnys countdown started as a charity event by j-friends member V6??

        • Miryam

          You’re exactly right. It originally started from V6’s charity countdown live in 1996-1997. The following year then turned into Johnny’s Countdown which was J-FRIENDS centric, and remained that way until 2003.

      • Reileen

        no one is there at the JCD 2014-2015 so Matchy had to take over lol.
        I mean, Arashi, V6, TOKIO, Kanjani8, KAT-TUN, Kisumai are not even there.

        • vh

          There are KinKi, Tackey and Tsubasa and NEWS… The list of talents showing up was announced before and ticket registering quotas were distributed to their fan club. So every fan coming expects to watch performance of their idols who will show up (no one expect for Arashi or other groups and especially for an old man performing 1hr). For a ticket of 8500yen everybody has the right to get mad.

          • Reileen

            I did not mean there’s no one literally at JCD. I just mean the number of absent group are at its highest last year

    • But wasn’t this rumored to be happening a while ago?

    • faifantc

      Yikes. Poor Matchy-san. lol. But I get it. I would go to the countdown show to see all artists, not just one.

    • Ciel

      I read this last week and the netz were saying that most of the fans who were displeased were fans of the younger groups and Juniors so of course when the countdown turned into Matchy’s anniversary concert they got mad.
      I kind of feel bad for Matchy, but JE should have foreseen this happening. Younger fans don’t care about any of the older acts, some weren’t even born when Matchy was at his peak. They should have had him do a medley and be done with it.

    • Guest

      How could Pi name come out. No way there is any his passionate fan when everyone know he wouldnt make appearance from beginning. Let him rest, press. 2014 is enough.

    • OhSnap!

      This is way TOO funny.

    • yamakita

      One word: ouch!

    • clearlyaJohnnysfan

      I think the attendees were mad, not because of Matchy per se, but because of the differences in expectations. The fans were of course using the past Johnny’s New Year Countdown experiences as their basis of expectations, meaning: various Johnny’s debuted groups performing their own songs and maybe also performing other group songs or Johnny’s oldies songs, with their own members or in a mixed group of members. and of course since it was like this, each group and each individual only appear briefly, thus if u are a fan of a certain group or a certain member u will be disappointed, but u still have to bear with it because it’s Johnny’s festival and not any particular group festival. Of course in the past there were also special medleys for groups to celebrate their anniversary, like Kinki Kids and Arashi when they were celebrating their 10th year debut anniversary.
      I think they were just trying to do the same for Matchy. However, there are several issues to this, first because it’s his 35th year there are a lot of his songs to cover, and second (with all due respect to Matchy) Matchy’s songs are just not quite well-known enough among the current Johnny’s fans. And I also think the attendees perhaps didn’t expect that the dedication to Matchy would be so long since during FNS there were already a special segment celebrating Matchy’s 35th anniversary.
      If from the beginning they just clearly announced that the theme for the countdown would be ‘Johnny’s Countdown 2014-2015 – Matchy’s 35th anniversary festival’, I think many fans would still be excited to attend the show and be prepared for Matchy’s celebration. I am surprised that Johnny’s management let this kind of things happened, since they are usually quite good in their fans service and fans treatment. Rather than refund, maybe Johnny’s management need to hold another event with all Johnny’s talents as the performers and give free-pass to all the attendees of the Johnny’s Countdown 2014-2015.

      • vh

        If they announced this countdown is for Matchy anniversary, this will be horrible. His latest single only sold 5000 sheets. Does Match have a fanclub? I never hear about that (maybe im wrong). Johnny knows that, so instead of embarrassing this guy, they just did a crime to other fans, so now dealing with this disaster.

        • He was embarrassed anyway because his performance got a dead reception and people are even demanding refunds for having to watch it…they would have been better off holding an event in a smaller venue for his core fans.

      • Guest

        “since they are usually quite good in their fans service and fans treatment”

        Said no Sexy Zone fan ever.

        • clearlyaJohnnysfan

          I don’t know much about Sexy Zone but are u referring to the case of 3 and 5? because individually each of the members seems to be quite popular at fan service.
          or if u are talking about the Music Card strategy, u could probably put the blame on the current factions within Johnny’s in my opinion. I think bcoz Iijima faction previously only groomed SMAP, they don’t have many younger fan base or any opportunities to attract new fan base, thus they are trying hard in these past years to push for their two young apprentice groups so as not to lose out from the other faction, even if it means taking shortcuts that the old Johnny’s would never do.

          • Guest

            I’m talking about both, but that card thing was one of the slyest gimmicks I’ve seen out of Johnny’s and in no way good “fan treatment”. Whether it’s Julie or Iijima, J&A can treat fans however J&A feels like treating fans, because the only choices are buy and don’t buy.

            • clearlyaJohnnysfan

              I despise that gimmicks too, and more so because they were competing against Mr. Children that day. What’s wrong in becoming no.2 if the enemy is an excellent band that has produced plenty of good and highly regarded music?

              btw u probably should look forward to the 21st Jan then, KAT-TUN is releasing their single at the same time to JYJ and w-inds. Whilst KAT-TUN employs Johnny’s old tactics (3 versions of CD+1 special CD), JYJ employs Sexy Zone’s tactics (1 CD+10 versions of music cards), and w-inds employ hybrid strategy (3 versions of CD+4 versions of music cards).

              I really don’t get the point of this music card though – it basically sells the photo and not the song since no matter who is in the picture, the song is still that same 1 song.

              • Reileen

                last I heard JYJ opened new orders for music cards and the music card versions total to 15 now, not sure abt the details tho
                I’m gonna be surprised if they still cant take the number 1 w/ those many versions still
                J-storm is not gonna do some more stuff like Michi does so they’re probably like ‘whatever’ now

                • clearlyaJohnnysfan

                  15 versions? talking about desperate to top. I didn’t know JYJ has fallen that low… what I think is even worse is these fans or these artists being blinded completely with the record or fame, boasting confidently about them, while not realizing that the other music fans or the other artists are snickering or looking at them with pity… this is why people keep on looking down on idols.

                  • guest

                    Haha. I see on twitter;
                    Johhny Vs Kpop
                    21/1 : KATTUN vs JYJ
                    25/2: Arashi vs Tohosinki
                    Very interesting year.

                    • Reileen

                      25/2: Arashi vs Tohosinki

                      this is not really a competition tho, THSK isn’t gonna try to top Arashi by releasing 15 versions
                      THSK fans are more of disappointed with Avex bec they chose yet another date to compete w/ a big name, so they have to settle for no. 2 again

        • Gio

          LOL. This is so true. SZ is like the worst group to have ever come out of Johnny’s. The other day I watched their variety show for the first time ever and Marius and So are seriously funny and down to earth.
          I can’t for the life of me understand why Iijima thought demoting them to juniors was a brilliant idea. If anything, I can now see why she has had to start attaching mad gimmicks to their releases to make them look relevant.

          • guest

            how about you won’t spread wrong info? they’re not demoted to juniors, they’re still in SZ’s profile page on the official website, still do the show together and all 5 were in the Xmas and New Year messages at Jnet.
            the group is managed in a weird way, yes, but they’re not demoted (at least not yet).

            • guest

              I was sure they were gonna be kicked out by the next album, but apparently not.

            • notguest

              but the way the two of them were treated in Kohaku was kinda bad imo (wearing white clothes while the rest of the three wore the glittery costumes), I’ve heard some says that they were just like the backdancers, so no wonder some thought that they were demoted or something. I know differential treatments happened before to other Johnny’s groups (such as V6’s 20th century or Kisumai’s Busaiku) but these two kids are still quite young and I can’t help but feel like they were being bullied or something.

              • guest

                Marius is 14 and Sou is 17. Kento was debuted when he was 17. I don’t think age matters anymore.

            • Gio

              Woah. Calm down. I know Marius and So are still “members” of SZ but for all intents and purposes management (Julie most likely) has been treating them as juniors, thus why I wrote that.
              It’s not even just the issue of omitting them on the covers, but their performances on Shokura and the Gamushara J’s Party concerts always leave you feeling like they’re back to being juniors. Just look at the Kohaku performance and how they made sure Marius and So would blend in with the rest of the juniors.
              At this point most people think SZ is just a 3 member group and as I said I cannot understand how management thinks this is gonna help the group become the next big thing when a lot of fans have been jumping ship, boycotting the releases or plain complaining about all the bs going on.

          • Guest

            Sou is a really funny kid; he needs more credit. If only those two could get a big second chance of some sort.

            • Gio

              I think so too. So is naturally funny and the kind of idol who would become popular because of his personality. Likewise, Marius is very down to earth so you can’t help liking him.
              They definitely need more opportunities to shine.

          • Gio

            *Julie not Iijima.

            • notguest

              you are correct in your first reply, SZ is under Iijima (SMAP, Kisumai, Yamapi). as Arashi is currently the golden group under Julie faction, and they are all about how the group members are closed to each other and all, I doubt they would split up group like that.

    • Navin

      Whatever, I’m just sad that my yearly tradition of watching this on the first day of the new year was broken.

      • guest

        same here

    • チェリーでおまっ

      If they’re looking for the other Johnnys group in the countdown, they should have gone to NHK(for kouhaku) or TBS (for CDTV).

    • carorinrin

      Rather than the outrage about Matchy, I’m more interested in the fact that Fuji didn’t broadcast the concert. I was wondering why there weren’t any uploads of the show, now I know the reason I guess. Does anyone know why it wasn’t broadcasted though? It has been for so long!

      • Guest

        I heard two versions: Fuji losing rights to broadcast and the ratings dropping from year to year so Fuji decided to go with something else.

        My own speculation: J&A was to embarrassed to show this disaster on TV, which would also be the biggest ratings flop ever.

    • kaorunanda

      Yamapi’s passionate fan lol of course they complain ,I heard yamapi was not appearing and invite to the countdown lmao Isn’t johnnys still suspend him?

      • blanc49

        Lol~ shouldnt she complaint about why Yamapi was not in the countdown rather complaining about Machi hijacking the JCD. I just think, what a random choice of comment~

    • J&Aisintrouble

      This is the beginning of the end for Johnny & Associates…watch J&A implode from within and split up into pieces in the near future…

    • “To clear the house on New Year’s Eve I have to play a serious house wife habitually or I won’t be allowed to go.”

      It’s 2015, how can there be people who still live like this.

      • guest

        “Iijima gives him too much importance”

        what?

        • What what? It’s agency in general but it’s more obvious on Iijima’s side

          • guest

            he’s not in her faction though.

            • but he is, just allowed a little more freedom for the sake of money

              • guest

                where did you get that info from?

                • there’s no english info about matchy anymore, his small fandom only communicates in Japanese so to quote anything it’s impossible… you can research japanese wota sites I’m too lazy

                  • guest

                    “his small fandom only communicates in Japanese so to quote anything it’s impossible”
                    oh, it’s impossible to quote Japanese language. Ok.

                    I looked around and asked around, found nothing about him being with Michi. Everyone says he’s not in any faction.
                    Also, isn’t he a member of the board at J&A? Someone in that position wouldn’t need Michi or Julie.

    • Surreal Score

      I read that “I have to play a serious house wife habitually or I won’t be allowed to go” quote and was like “Jesus…” Then I scrolled down and saw the “Japan has the worst husbands in the world” article… FAIL JAPAN.

      • Olivia Underwood

        Yep, I’m half Japanese but honestly speaking I wouldn’t want to marry one (there’s a long list of reasons why).

    • JEfan

      I can see where the fans are coming from. Going to the countdown you’d want to see all the groups and a good mix of songs. Although if I had the opportunity, I’d be at KAT-TUN’s countdown!! XD
      I bet it was awesome!