Arama! Japan recently conducted an interview with former Johnny’s Jr. member Koki Maeda! While part of Johnny’s Jr., Koki was part of the group 7 MEN Samurai.
During the interview, we discussed a variety of topics, including what his day was like as a Johnny’s Jr., what he thinks of the changes the company has made of late, why he thinks Johnny’s are leaving the company now more than ever, and what Johnny Kitagawa was like. Check it out below!
NOTE: Since its publication, this interview has been edited upon request.
When was the first time you saw a Johnny & Associates act? What did you think of them?
Though I don’t remember the first time, I used to watch their performances on music programs. But, to be honest, I didn’t know who Johnny’s were, LOL!
What made you want to audition for the company? How old were you? What was the audition process like?
When I was about 12 years old, I saw an Arashi concert on DVD, and I longed for them. At that time, Johnny’s entertainers encouraged people who were depressed by the disaster of 3/11. This made me think that I want to be a person who entertains people like Johnny’s. I decided to send my resume to Johnny & Associates.
A year later, I got a response from them and I went to the audition. There were about 200 candidates in the studio. First was the dance audition. We danced to Hey! Say! JUMP’s “OVER.” Next, we had time to show our talent like singing, acrobatics, and so on. I showed a martial art, Shorinji Kempo, which I started learning when I was six years old.
Finally, a manager called me, and he said, “A Hey! Say! JUMP concert will be held next month. Could you please check your schedule and come to the rehearsal?”
How long did you train for before debuting in 7 MEN Samurai? How were you selected to be in the group?
For six years. I’m not sure how I was selected, but maybe Johnny Kitagawa and main choreographer decided the members?
What was a typical day like as a Johnny?
Though it depends on what time rehearsal starts, the typical day was:
7:00 AM: Wake up
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM: Go to my high school by train
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM: School (sometimes I had to leave school early to go to rehearsal)
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Go to rehearsal by train
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Rehearsal (in Shibuya)
9:00 PM – 11:00 PM: Go home
12:00 AM: Go to bed
I didn’t live in Tokyo, so it was stressful for me to go to the rehearsal and go home. I spent a lot of time on the train.
Did you get to meet Johnny Kitagawa? What was he like?
I saw him at the audition for the first time. He was like an ordinary old man, LOL!
What Johnny’s made an impact on you when you were at the company? Why did they make an impact?
Takizawa Hideaki made an impact on me because he was strict with himself and us. I guess that’s why he now oversees the talent of Johnny’s Jr. instead of Johnny Kitagawa.
Who was your least favorite Johnny?
Were you allowed to date while in the company?
Yes, but we were told to watch out for fans with cameras while we were out on dates because the photos would negatively impact us.
What restrictions were you under as a Johnny?
There weren’t any special restrictions, but I wasn’t able to color my hair vivid colors. And we weren’t allowed to have social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram.
Do Johnny’s have the same personality onscreen and offscreen?
I think Johnny’s who can be active on front line have the same personality: ambitious, outgoing, and kind, both onscreen and offscreen.