DUDES! DUDES! DUDES! This is for you all, yo~!
I was digging up old files from AMNOS.net when I viewed the content of one of my old mySQL databases that I downloaded for safekeeping and backup. The data that I viewed were content from my first few visitors who visited the first version of the site and left comments in a guestbook that I designed and installed (I even forgot the guestbook script too, but I remembered that it was also a Japanese-made guestbook script). There were two or three visitors who happen to be Japanese dudes (kinda weird, one of them wrote in not-too-fluent English but understandable enough, two of them wrote in Japanese) who actually asked me if I knew the process of becoming a Johnny’s idol. I was a total noob fan of Johnny’s back then, but I did some extensive research and asked a few friends who are general Johnny’s fans if they knew the process. I was able to actually aided those guys, though I’m not quite sure how old they really were.
So for those dudes who wishes for love of the female mass, here is a comprehensive guide that I was able to dig up. I don’t know if this process is still intact today, but keep in mind that the following process was effective back in 2002.
- Potential idols start at quite a young age. I don’t know what the cutoff age for an applicant to be qualified for a scheduled audition, however back in 2002, the minimum age for an applicant to be eligible is 10-yrs-old. Nowadays from what I read, Johnny’s began to accept boys that are age 8 or 9. Johnny’s (and probably some other agencies and showbiz training institutions) do believe that it’s easier to train at a younger age than the ones that are pretty much at prime.
- If you are the type of dude who really wants to be part of Johnny’s, pick up an application and fill it out. I can’t exactly remember where you can pick up an application. Probably you can stop by the JE Headquarters in Shibuya or probably request for a blank copy via mail (or email even?). Head over to the Johnny’s website (if there’s information available?) for the updated procedures. If you do obtain one, fill out the required fields and mail it along with a profile-style picture of yourself.
- But if you are NOT the type of dude who doesn’t want anything to do with Johnny’s, guess what. There’s a possibility that you may even become one. How? You may want to just mind your own business but if your best friend or your crew of homies or even your mom, sister, aunt, or cousin think that you have to be, those people mentioned will be the ones to fill out a blank application and send it out to the headquarters along with a profile-style picture of yourself behind your back. Nominations are accepted in the process, and there is a possibility that you will receive a call from Johnny’s whether you like it or not. If you do, then you can start suspecting that someone close to you may have just signed you up for a Johnny’s audition without you knowing.
- Expect the Unexpected. In other words, just go on about with your everyday life because it takes awhile for Johnny’s to process these applications, so don’t expect to hear from them in 24 hrs or so. Somehow, someday, you will get a response, positive or negative. If you get a positive response, they will assign you a date and time for your audition and interview day. If you get a negative response, you can either be one of the three: #1 – upset, #2 – relieved or #3 – pressured. #1 would be for those who intended to become a part of the happy Johnny’s family. #2 would be for those who didn’t want anything to do with Johnny’s but you ended up stuck with the situation because your family or your homies got you in to this mess in the first place. #3 would be more like #2, except your family or your homies are the ones who will be more upset than you would and they’d go at all odds to pressure you to try again. If you are #1, you can re-apply again for another shot. Everyone else, just keep rollin’ along with your lives as always.Now that we are on the subject of expect the unexpected, it is what it is. There were circumstances where some dudes actually became a part of a debut group without going through the Juniors’ stage (a good example would be V6‘s own Junichi Okada), some dudes becoming part of a Junior shuffle group without even doing any task as part of their audition (Arashi’s own Jun Matsumoto was one of them), and some dudes whom many avid Johnny’s Jr. fan girls all around have never heard or even pay attention to even become a part of the debut group, in which this particular non-popular Junior is given a huge chance to strut his stuff and shout out to these biased fangirls: “Yo, ladies! I gots da REAL stuff your current faves don’t, so LOOK AT ME, dammit!” (Anyway, it’s exaggerated, but it can happen) Other than that, anything can happen. Expect the unexpected!
Of course, there are some super-basic requirements that should be on the duh level. First up, not all dudes are qualified to audition. For one thing, you need to be a Japanese resident for some good number of years and you need to be more or less fluent in the Japanese language overall. That’s about it. Johnny’s don’t really care about your racial origin or what country you’re from or from what financial background your family may be. If they see something special in you, they’ll ring you up.
Well, there you go. If you really want to be a star in Japan but Johnny’s just don’t cut for you, it ain’t the end of the world. There are various notable agencies such as Watanabe Entertainment, LesPros, and Amuse that are going strong with young male talent in the industry and constantly seeking for talent in all aspects of entertainment. One way or the other, I wish you all good luck. :)