Snow Man released their debut album, “Snow Mania S1”, on September 29 to great success. It debuted at #1 on Oricon with 841,088 copies sold. This is the highest first week sales of 2021. It is also the second highest opening week for a male act’s first album, second only to CHEMISTRY‘s 2001 album “The Way We Are”, which opened with 1,143,310 copies sold. Snow Man’s sales in light of changes in the way music is consumed is astounding.
Snow Man debuted on January 22, 2020 with SixTONES with the joint single “Imitation Rain / D.D.” Snow Man formed in 2012 as a Johnny’s Jr. unit consisting of Hikaru Iwamoto, Tatsuya Fukazawa, Shota Watanabe, Ryohei Abe, Ryota Miyadate, and Daisuke Sakuma. Koji Mukai, Ren Meguro, and Raul joined in January 2019, forming the current nine member group.
Groups with many members are not uncommon in the world of female idols. Starting with the 48 Group Sakamichi series, the practice of selecting members from dozens of girls and having them work on a release has taken root. This practice, which has been in action since last decade, resulted in the group gaining fans who are more focused on individual members within the larger group.
In the world of male idols, groups mainly consist of five or six fixed members. Arashi was able to rise to the level of national group, not only on their looks, but also due to the relationship between the members.
Having a large number of people in a group can be an asset, especially when it comes to dance performances. However, having a large number of people can make it difficult to discover the charms of each member. It can also make it difficult to form a group with a unique identity due to the different personalities within it.
In order for a large group to make it, it is necessary that there are ways for each member to shine and that the members are united in their intent as far as the group goes. Snow Man has gained so much popularity, so perhaps they’ve met these requirements?
How was each member of Snow Man able to shine on his own? The Johnny’s Jr. YouTube channel plays a large part. Johnny & Associates lifted its YouTube ban in 2018, with Snow Man being in charge of the Johnny’s Jr. channel every Wednesday. On Christmas Day 2019, Snow Man opened their own channel, on which they are constantly uploading videos. In these videos, the character of each member can be seen. The relationship between all nine members, as well the relationships between the members when broken into smaller groups, can also be seen. It is in these videos which feature Snow Man broken into smaller groups that the members’ personalities can really be seen.
Another feature of Snow Man is that each of the members can shine even when all nine are together. Hikaru is a reliable big brother-type, who is a leader and a choreographer. He’s the most physical member of the group and loves chocolate. Tatsuya has a profound charm and serves as one who gets things going. Shota is a lover of beauty, who is devoted to his beauty regiment, his muscle training, and his main vocals. Ryohei is a kawaii and talented weather forecaster. Ryota is dignified, has a great laugh, and a great way with words. Daisuke is a lover of anime and has a cheery voice and smile. Koji is the comedian of the group and has a great love for his fellow Snow Man members. Ren, who is also active as a model and actor, has a cool demeanor, but is passionate about his group. Raul is the youngest member at 18. He has an overwhelming youthful vitality, but is quite adaptable. His communication skills with his group members closes the gap he has with them in terms of age.
All of the members of Snow Man have a common spirit of kindness and compassion. In large groups, sometimes people can lose themselves for a moment, but this doesn’t happen in Snow Man because each member is naturally attentive to the others so that everyone can have a good time. The members talk to each other and point out areas where improvements can be made. The casual speak, the follow ups, the true tenderness and passion between the Snow Man members not only strengthens their own bond, but also attracts new fans to the group. They had this advantage even before their debut.
The appeal of Snow Man and its individual members’ easy to understand personalities opens up the group to be more active in recruiting new fans. As a group or as individuals, Snow Man is currently appearing on six variety shows, including their own TBS one, “Sore Snow Man ni Yarasete Kudasai.” This past July, Raul made his movie debut, starring in “Honey Lemon Soda.” Daisuke worked as a voice actor with Suzuko Mimori in the Japanese dubbing of the Chinese anime film “Shirohebi: Engi.” On October 9, Ren’s new TV Asahi drama, “Kieta Hatsukoi”, co-starring Naniwa Danshi’s Shunsuke Michieda, premiered. Snow Man also has their own Nippon Cultural Broadcasting radio show, “Snow Man no Motomanma.” There are also many CMs. In September, Snow Man was on the cover of over 30 magazines, many of which had to be reprinted due to selling out early. Snow Man is heavily in demand. Once people are introduced to them, they then go YouTube to find out more about the group, leading to them seeing the abundance of their video content on the site.
With the million-selling singles “D.D.”, “KISSIN’ MY LIPS”, and “Grandeur”, as well as the new song “EVOLUTION” and the popular Johnny’s Jr. era song “Party! Party! Party!”, Snow Man has an album that is packed with pop music of various tastes that is centered around catchy and sophisticated dance music.
All of this has led to the success of “Snow Mania S1” and the solid popularity of Snow Man. Hikaru has previously introduced Snow Man as the “first group.” How much further they go with this theme of being “first” is something to look out for.