Is LDH more strict than Johnny & Associates?

Just over a month ago Sandaime J Soul Brother member Takanori Iwata appeared on a variety show where he talked about EXILE TRIBE’s “iron rules”. EXILE, and all their brother and sister groups belong under the LDH umbrella. LDH is a talent agency founded by EXILE’s leader Hiro, the name stands for “Love, Dream, Happiness”. The agency gives off a very modern and laid-back vibe, but they still have their own set of strict rules.

As Iwata started to go through some of the rules, many viewers and entertainment officials started to automatically compare them to Johhny & Associates, who has become notorious for their countless restrictions imposed on their talent. While LDH claim their acts aren’t idols, it seems only their fans believe that statement with the comparisons coming from both Japanese and oversea observers.

The main rule that stunned viewers was that LDH talents are asked not to drive by themselves, it’s requested that they sit in the passenger seat or the back seat. The reasoning behind this is to protect the talent in the event an accident should happen. This rule might not make sense to many considering being a passenger does not guarantee you will be safe should an accident occur. All LDH acts must closely follow the mantra “your body is a temple”, and the agency wants to project their talent at all costs.


LDH acts have become renowned for their complex dance routines and high energy performances, so their bodies must always be in peak condition. Due to this cigarettes/tobacco are absolutely forbidden because of the damage that can be done to the performers voice, and breathing capability. Tobacco might be banned but the talents make up for it with alcohol. Newscaster Seiji Miyane once shared how he attended a party with EXILE TRIBE members, and is pretty sure they brought a stores entire section of sake with them. Avex group CEO Max Matsuura even shared a photo on Instagram of himself having a shot with NAOTO and Ryuuji Imaichi, safe to say we won’t see Johnny or Mary Kitagawa doing anything like that.

The notion of wanting to avoid injury and preserve their talents bodies even goes into personal hobbies. “High risk” sports activities such as sky diving, surfing, snowboarding, and skiing are prohibited. Exercise is strongly enforced and it’s been said that even their fat percentage is closely monitored.

On the flip side Johnny & Associate talents don’t need to worry about any of that. They are free to participate in whatever recreational sport they like, can drive a car, and don’t have a strict exercise regiment. Even with tobacco Johnny & Associates are lax with their talent choosing to use it or not, assuming you’re not underage of course. It’s been rumored that Arashi members Jun Matsumoto and Aiba Masaki recently quit smoking, a decision they made themselves. Some current Johnny talents who are said to be smokers are as follows:

  • Masahiro Nakai
  • Takuya Kimura
  • Tomoya Nagase (TOKIO)
  • Masayuki Sakamoto (V6)
  • Yoshihiko Inohara (V6)
  • Go Morita (V6)
  • Junichi Okada (V6)
  • Kazuya Kamenashi (KAT-TUN)
  • Tomohisa Yamashita
  • Yuta Tamamori (Kis-My-Ft2)

Probably the most famous restriction Johnny’s talents face is the ban of all SNS platforms, both public and private, and the use of their images in general. Over the years tabloids have interviewed former Johnny’s staff members who shed light on some more of these rules. In an effort to keep the talents personal life as private as possible many restrictions were originally put in place. No family members could be mentioned, talent couldn’t talk about places they liked to eat at, they could not be photographed wearing glasses (unless it was for an official photo shoot) or “plain” clothes, and if they had a pet they couldn’t even talk about that in detail.

As the years went on some of these rules began to not be so fully enforced, but there’s still no official list of all the current rules that talent have to abide by.

Both agencies have very different restrictions, it seems to boil down to personal preference on which of the two is more “strict”.  Would you rather abide by LDH rules, or Johnny’s?

(via mess-y & jnewseng)

  • Comments

    • Lany *~

      Okada Junichi recently appeared on Line Live. He even aknowledged the international fans there. It is said it was his idea. He asked JE for permission and they allowed him. I was shocked…

      • ari

        the person in charge of the project he’s assisting with is a close friend of his, so i’m sure he really pushed for it.

        and besides, johnny’s and avex let V6 do a lot because their staff seems to love them a lot. ken is allowed to upload selfies of himself, they’re the first johnny’s group to do a VR single and have their concerts broadcast on television, inocchi said v6 should have a smartphone love simulation game and then they got one within 6 months, etc.

        • Afiqah Hasbullah

          Yes. V6 is one of a kind <3 <3 <3

    • light

      Johnny should stop banning their idols pics on official promo stuff, it’s ridiculous. As for the rest it doesn’t sound that bad, the ban on family/pet stuff etc too isn’t really enforced from what i see. Some of them do have private sns too.

      • ソリヤ

        I thought the same as you before but recently, I think that the company just want to control what they write, so they won’t have problems if they write something not right. And for the pictures, when they’re in private, of course people has to respect their personal space. For the concert (fancams), so the fans enjoy the concert. When I see concerts with a lot of phones/cameras in the front all the time, I don’t understand how they can enjoy the concert. But I understand you, I believe that they also think that they loose money if we have fancams (less ticket sales). I still don’t understand why they don’t use their idols’ pictures when they promote something tho :/

        • light

          I don’t mind the ban on sns at all, less drama lol

    • Urara Kasugano

      Although, Johnny’s rules are stricter mentally, LDH is stricter physically. So i would choose…LDH..no i guess I would choose Johnny’s. I would be able to survive with romance ban

      • ProllyWild

        You should see the diet restrictions for LDH artists first…then decide =P

        • Reileen

          i’m curious..

      • Lol

        Johnny can date but privately lol

    • Aquamarine

      I’d choose Amuse, lol

      • H

        Amuse is strict with their idols too. Look at Perfume or Babymetal for example.

        • Karin~

          what kind of rules are there for perfume?

          • Fran

            I know they couldn’t cut their hair and they can’t sing like a real singer which is a waste because aachan can actually sing Hikki’s song better than Hikki herself.

            • Acchan’s got some good vocals going on, saw her singing once live without filters and I was shocked.

        • Aquamarine

          Oh trust me, I know. They’re complete dicks to Cross Gene as well. I’d just prefer them over these two.

    • 116FanxyZihoes

      LADY’S bans actually make sense while with Johnny’s…. (Idk I’ve been thinking for years that I want a short Instagram full of badly taken selfies)

    • What

      LDH just seem more.. overprotective, I would say.. While Johnny’s rules are just dumb

      • Not going to comment on the other rules since most of it are ancient and not being followed by anyone. I think the only dumb Johnny’s rule would be the ban of their idols pictures by anyone else except them.

        The SNS rule is actually more benefited in general than harm. Looking at how K-idols face consequences to their ignorant, messed up, political views or accidentally upload scandalous pictures — banning of SNS seemed like a genius idea by the company.

        • 773

          But SNS in Japan are usually run by tarento stuff

          • That one should be okay then. What I mean is the personal SNS.

            I think Johnny has been more open towards that then since Johnny WEST got their own SNS this year.

        • What

          Mmmm, I feel like if Johnny’s continue with no social media presence it could potentially hurt them in the long run. However, social media should be monitored so nothing dumb happens, like you mentioned.

        • trufax

          I couldnt disagree more. SNS can be highly benefitial if you know how to use it, just look at BTS’s example. Johnnys probably think they dont need it cause they rule mainstream media anyways, but that’ll come to bite them in the ass later

          They don’t even have official accounts or monitored personal accounts, which would easily avoid potential scandals. They’re probably just worried about maintaining an image of exclusivity

          • My comment is regarding private SNS so I agree with you regarding the official one. And like my other comment below, they already start one with Johnny West this year.

      • Yeah, exactly, the LDH rules, while they might be a bit too strict here and there, actually make sense, while the Johnny’s rules are pretty much make living a normal life impossible.

    • ProllyWild

      More than for the safety of the artist’s body, driving restrictions for most artists are out in place because in the event of an accident the celebrity driver will end up having to take full responsibility in the media. If any of them were drivers and an accident occurred, whether they were at fault or not, it would become a publicized “scandal” that could cause them to lose sponsors cms and other projects. Few management companies make it an official rule, but many quietly encourage their artists to not drive themselves.

      • Omar the star

        Exactly. This rule also exists in the West and makes perfect sense. American singer Brandy for example got in a lot of trouble when she basically killed someone on the road a while ago. Crazy broke people can also throw themselves under your wheels and let their family sue you for money afterwards. It has happened.

      • trufax

        Exactly what i was thinking. They’re probably trying to avoid any potential drama that would harm their image

    • It’s hard for the companies to keep that many boys/men under control and keep them away from troubles. They both have the typical Japanese hierarchical order in their organizations, the “Senpai-Kohai” rules. I just hate it when it affects their appearances on TV. Why are we still seeing Masahiko Kondo on FNS?

    • I would die if I were LDH because all I like to do is eat. :

    • myu

      I’ll definetely go to Johnnys. I can live without tabacco and private photo. But I can’t live without my food and extreme sports

    • eplizo

      I already abide by most of LDH’s rules, so that isn’t a problem for me lol.

      I think it’s funny that they ban them from smoking for the sake of their vocals when their vocals are absolute ass with the exception of maybe only Atsushi. :/

      • ProllyWild

        that’s probably for our protection….imagine what they’d sound like if they smoked!

        • yamakita

          Just listen to a Johnny!

          • Fns

            I’ve listened to V6’s Sakamoto & Inocchi on last FNS and they obviously sang so much better than all of LDH non-smoking vocalists. Half of NEWS, Kinki Kids and 2/5 of Arashi actually sound more decent than LDH struggle vocals.

            • mikamika

              Out of curiousity: Who – in your opinion – makes up the 2nd 1/5th of Arashi (the first being Ohno)?
              Personally I like Sho’s deep voice but I’m totally biased towards Nino’s solos so his voice sound great to me too ;)

            • Pipe’sIDIC

              3 of 5 Arashi please in FNS 2017 with their wonky mic/boom audio levels. Lol

              But then, Ftv always screw up Arashi during FNS.

              I mean, minion groping Sho, lol. I’m just laughing that Sho ‘admonished’ the minion after the song. Lol

              Oh FNS! Next time, spread the love to other acts. That groping was A+, minions being minions. Lol

    • Mayumi

      I love both LDH and Johnny and the both my favorite company in Japan, but not sure if I would join either. I am a girl so I will still wouldn’t be able to join Johnny, but I cannot lived without my SNS. I am always on my phone checking out instagram or twitter. For LDH, I am fine with everything except strict diet.

      • circe154

        A lot of the celebrities banned from social media actually do have accounts but they’re under fake names and locked. A few have been outed over the years.

    • yaccha “JoinAramaDiscord” itai

      “and don’t have a strict exercise regimen” definitely knew that by just looking at some of them

      • Elodie Genia

        Yeah but I can rely on them for save Namuro with their skii on mountain when LDH men will be busy to find out between someone life and their appearance XD

    • AoZora

      I wouldnt like to be part of either… Both are shady companies with too many restrictions…

    • mii-chan

      JE nonsense rules:
      -The ban of all SNS platforms
      -No family members could be mentioned
      -Talent couldn’t talk about places they liked to eat at
      -They could not be photographed wearing glasses (unless it was for an official photoshoot)
      -They couldn’t even talk about their pet in detail

      And their ‘wildest’ talent, Nagase Tomoya, has broken ALL these rules like a boss.

      • Charlie

        Only the SNS platform rule is enforced. Most other JE talents have broken the last four.

        • mii-chan

          Good for them. It makes me curious, why do the agency have to create all those rules if in the end the talents tend to disregard it 🤔

          • Charlie

            They’re there to protect the privacy of their talents. The rules are old and were lifted pretty early on.

            • SleepyBojio

              I will ban personal SNS and let them use a group SNS instead.

              Also, is there a Vlive equivalent for J-idols as a whole?

      • めぐみ☆

        “-They could not be photographed wearing glasses (unless it was for an official photoshoot)”

        i’ve seen lots of johnny’s with glasses in non-official photoshoots tho…

        • beefbaby

          She’s just quoting what was stated in the article. I’m wondering about that part too btw. Only heard about it here.

      • Like the others has said, no one actually follow them anymore as it is no longer rules. KinKi for an example always talk about their family and pets.

      • Karin~

        i think they’ve all done the last 4, especially the glasses because a lot of them “have” to wear glasses (you can’t always go with contact lenses), most of them have also talked about their parents, siblings and pets – i think the SNS ban is good tbh

    • angel223_

      Its hard to quit on smoking, so I guess I can go with Johnnies…

      Im just surprised that Johnny’s rules are just to protect their sale…lol but to their idols, are pretty lax.

    • King Hide

      “Due to this cigarettes/tobacco are absolutely forbidden because of the damage that can be done to the performers voice, and breathing capability.” but their vocals still suck ass lol.

      • no there vocals are actually golden.

        • King Hide

          sorry but this JSB guy mostly ruined every songs lol,

          • no…

          • BreannaBunny

            Not even! Ryuji is awesome with vocals! Just because he doesn’t sound how you want him to doesn’t mean he’s ruined the song. Both Crystal Kay and Ryuji Imaichi compliment each other so wonderfully in this song!

    • Bobson Dugnutt

      Those Johnny’s rules seem outdated since I remember seeing pictures of them in glasses and plain clothes as well as mentioning family members. Didn’t Koyama used to talk about his cat a lot too?

      • guest

        They all talk and post pics of their pets on their jwebs. They sometimes show their pics on TV shows too. Domoto Koichi brought his dog to his concert and had her on stage.
        Must be some ancient rules.

      • Karin~

        they are allowed to talk about their pets, on jweb for example – they’ve all done it, not only koyama, but also tegoshi, yamapi and (former) kat-tun members, i think jun and aiba as well

        • mikamika

          I doubt Jun has a pet – that man just has no luck with animals (except bugs ^^). But Nino talked about his pet dog Haru and I remember Aiba talking about his family’s pet monkey who has taken on biting him whenever he comes visit…

    • I guess its no longer ‘Love, Dream or Happiness’ by looking at their strict rules….

    • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

      Why isn’t Johnny’s dating ban mentioned? That is the most famous one, more so than SNS. Also LDH famously does not have a dating ban. Also, even if Johnny’s can smoke, they get in trouble if they do it in public where people could take pics. But I’ve seen Ikuta Toma smoking, so you can add him to the list. There’s also pics of Nino smoking (you can tell from his gums anyway). LDH’s rules seem more reasonable, just protecting their health and safety. On the other hand, Johnny’s rules and controlling, and meanwhile they have to do all kinds of risky stunts even just for variety shows that could get them hurt, which LDH can’t even do in their free time, lol.

      • Charlie

        Johnny’s doesn’t have a dating ban, they can date as long as they don’t get caught.

        • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

          caught by who? From what I can tell, at least the official policy is no dating before 30, period. And then after 30, depending on their status they can date openly or not.

          • Guest

            MJ dating rumors is in his 20s….
            With Nakama,, Mao, or that AV.
            Theres lot of J&A rumors in their 20s…

            • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

              yeah and in most of those cases they were forced to break up with them lmfao

              • Elodie Genia

                we “suppose” or they “said” they break up in fact, it’s different from “forced”

                • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                  uh for example when Nino starts crying on stage during his love song right after he’s forced to break up with his gf… when fans petition that he breaks up with his other gf and then he does… when yamapi seems really sad and says that it sucks that he’s not allowed to date on his tv show….. I think it’s pretty clear it’s forced.. al;sfjlkdsjfklajds

                  • light

                    He didn’t break up with Sasaki Nozomi for that petition, stans found out from her sns that they have been together for quite a while after that lol and the one time when he cried was just speculation, others said it was because his grandfather died.

                    Nobody denies Johnny is strict about dating but that doesn’t mean that every time they break up with someone is because they were forced to.

                  • Elodie Genia

                    Which girl for nino ? Girls who cheated on him or the last ?

                  • Elodie Genia

                    girl* not girls sorry

                • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                  and then on the other hand, we see LDH take a totally different approach. Even during the whole Minami incident, LDH says they don’t have rules about their talents’ personal lives, so they weren’t taking any action & it wasn’t their business. On the other hand, Johnny’s either denies it, says they’re no longer in communication, or fire the idol. The difference is pretty clear.

                  • Not Polka Dot

                    When did Johnny’s fire their idols because of dating though?

              • light

                How was Jun forced to break up with those women when we don’t even know if he was actually dating them?

          • light

            Never heard about no dating before 30, they probably just mind less once they are older if something comes out.
            It also depends on the idol, there are some that don’t really give a fuck about reactions and others who are more careful.

          • mikamika

            No, they can date as long as they keep it private (or they haven’t attracted enough nutcase fans). So far they all married when they were over 30 (expect Akanishi).

        • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

          I can steal a car as long as I don’t get caught too

      • Guest

        “If we weren’t allowed relationships we would all be fired”
        ©Kato Shigeaki

      • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

        i dunno what to say to y’all acting like johnny’s have never been forced to break up with their gfs or been fired for marrying them lmfao

      • Karin~

        sho’s known as a heavy smoker as well, johnny’s don’t have a dating ban, they have a “getting caught” ban

        • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

          ok, you can literally say that about any rule, lol. LDH members can go skydiving as long as they don’t get caught. Johnny’s members can date as long as they don’t get caught. I can shoplift as long as I don’t get caught.

          • Pipe’sIDIC

            Shoplifting is illegal in most countries unlike skydiving, skiing, dating.

            • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

              Ok, are you really that dense? You could say you can do literally ANYTHING “as long as you don’t get caught,” that doesn’t mean it’s not a rule/law, in fact, quite the opposite. Yeah, that would make someone dishonest, but any law is enforced on the basis that you’ll get in trouble… wait for it… IF YOU GET CAUGHT! Clearly there is more of a dating ban in Johnny’s than LDH based on the way the different agencies respond when their talents are “caught” dating (i.e., one makes them break up or otherwise fires them, the other does nothing because they have no rule against it, lol!). Is that really that hard to understand??

              • Pipe’sIDIC

                “Ok, are you really that dense?”

                No, just telling you, dear disqus_fnwCMQDX7u, comparing apples to oranges does not / will not / should not apply. Illegal vs legal can not / should not be compared.

                Common sense also tells us while you can do many things does not mean you should.

                But continue to be stress on the ‘getting caught’ part. I want Japan legislators to amend their anti-stalking laws.

                • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                  lmfao if that’s what you got out of that, then yeah, you are. byeee

                  • Pipe’sIDIC

                    Byeee… lol

                    Hope the stress won’t get you in trouble or be caught.

                    • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                      Hope you learn to read.

                      • Pipe’sIDIC

                        Hope the stress won’t caught up with you.

                        Be sure to understand why its not appropriate to compare illegal to legal acts. Ok?!

                      • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                        nah, hope you understand nothing I said had to do with stress and you pulled that out of your ass. And hope you understand what a simile is.

                      • Pipe’sIDIC

                        “nah, hope you understand nothing I said had to do with stress and you pulled that out of your ass. And hope you understand what a simile is.”

                        You pulling out ‘figure of speech’? Lol It’s not even about how well-verse you are in writing or using figures of speech, or grammar, etc, fact is, it is never appropriate to compare illegal with legal.

                        It will never be appropriate.

                      • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                        It’s not about a moral equivalency, and if you did understand similes (which is something most elementary schoolers understand), you wouldn’t keep embarrassing yourself and repeating that over and over again.

                      • Pipe’sIDIC

                        You’re welcome, hun.

                      • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u
                      • Pipe’sIDIC

      • bloop

        johnnys still have to get permission and be a certain age to get married though

    • Pipe’sIDIC

      Ironic that LDH have STRICT exercise regimen and diet but can’t do extreme sports. So their muscles are not tested in the real world? Just window dressing? To think, High&Low was a rough&tumble movie. Lol

      I now have a mental picture of some music festival banquet with LDH table having granola bars only & protein shakes laced with muscle vitamins while JE – Ohno/Sakurai (Arashi) led party have all kinds of gourmet dishes, seafood and desserts. LDH must be so hungry looking at their table. Lol

      But if this LDH PR of strict adherence to their ‘iron rules’ was supposed to counteract JE and other Jimusho acts or paint their rivals as worse than them, I don’t think it worked. People will like who they like, irregardless of their management company rules.

      Besides does it really break your hearts that you can’t film the acts in their private time?

      And worst, their pictures could be use by other people like using it as license ID. I cracked up at that Chinese driver using Ohno’s picture.

      • RammZen

        No they eat normally lol. Many of them eating meat, sashimi, sushi and etc. Seeing their concert menu is actually good too. With fish, miso and etc. Only Elly eating vegetarian food.

        Also the exercise if for them in performing. So they have more staminas.

        • Pipe’sIDIC

          Then, there’s no difference (nor it’s better) about their regimen and diet. Its the same as the other acts. And yeah, athletes.

          Except, LDH don’t do extreme sports.

          Blessed be, athletes, JE and other companies for letting their acts have some fun activities. What a world it would be without Japan in the Olympics, Sakurai and martial arts sensei Okada skiing in the snow covered mountain alps, Ohno flying, etc etc etc

      • mikamika

        Okay, it’d be cool for me to have a private pic/film of them but for them it’d probably be extremely annoying to always be followed by phone cameras…
        Lol, a person actually did that?

        • Pipe’sIDIC

          I think it was overzealous fan stalking.

      • Bobson Dugnutt

        A lot of granola bars are unhealthy though. Most of them are loaded with sugar.

        • Pipe’sIDIC

          Most power bars and drinks do. For energy.

    • RammZen

      LDH is much more better lol. Because LDH obviously for the artists own benefit. US president can’t even drive their own car and can’t do extreme sport. It’s good.

      Also in Friday (lol) Kenjiro was captured driving his own car with mystery woman (?) XD I think Taiki once said abt him riding Omi’s car, but I forgot.

      As for LDH I remember, about the physical training, Hiro-san said he doesn’t want to go run with those who isn’t looking good in white t-shirt :”9 Which is also why even for 15 years old in LDH / EXPG / Jr. EXILE have ripped bodies. And, it’s really good for them to be fit, if we saw their live, that like in 2014 ToW can reach 6 hours of performance.

      Once, if I am not wrong because it’s been long, someone said abt LDH artists need to realize that they are celebrities, and thus they need to watch their behavior, because they’ll be example for the fans. Which I think a good thing.

    • Since LDH relies a lot in heavy dance routines and complex performances I kind of get why thay can get so strict sometimes.
      Johnnys however are just dumb it’s laughable but at the same time sad, they stagnate themselves to death for no reason.

    • “Exercise is strongly enforced and it’s been said that even their fat percentage is closely monitored”

      Someone must have been slacking on Elly then….

    • Angel Kim

      Am I the only one who like both of LDH and Johnny artists ? xDDD LDH and Johnny’s have different style and most of the rules made to fit their style. LDH for me is more of power towards their dancing , so they took care their body and stamina much more than Johnny .. Johnny’s for me care for the image because most of their artists have clean image ( except for the few ‘legends’ xDD) so their rules more strict on social side … But really , being idol is hard work .. damnn scary

    • BreannaBunny

      I’d DEF abide by LDH’s rules. Not only because they’re my favorite company LOL but also because their rules make sense. Smoking brings serious health risks and is proven to be bad for your health. And i wouldn’t really care about the car thing. I don’t think it matters if i drive or if someone else does, as long as i get to where i want to go.

      But the working out thing may be hard for me. I’d hate to be monitored so closely like that. I’d probably feel so insecure about myself if i had someone tell me about my weight like that.