Review of Yamashita Tomohisa’s solo career

24 Mar

I used to be a fan of Yamapi. Like many other NEWS fans, i was shocked by his decision(as well as Nishikido Ryo’s) to pull out of NEWS in 2011. He was doing so well juggling his acting career, solo debut, and doing concerts with NEWS. Even though that meant a delay in NEWS releasing singles, fans were willing to wait. What came after was just a sense of betrayal and disappointment. As the leading members in NEWS, they have experienced a period when NEWS was dragged through the mud because of ex-members Uchi Hiroki and Hironori Kusano’s scandals.  That is why i couldn’t accept them abandoning the group once again, whatever their reasons were.

Of course, i knew from the start that Yamapi’s heart wasn’t in NEWS. He had wanted to debut with his best friend Ikuta Toma, who was part of a Johnny’s Junior unit 4TOPs with him. However, Ikuta Toma didn’t get to debut and Yamapi was forced to form NEWS with members whom he didn’t know(except for Ryo). All these years, i’m guessing that he only remained in NEWS because of Ryo and vice versa. His other best friend Akanishi Jin’s departure from KAT-TUN probably inspired him to leave NEWS as well, despite his excuses of “not wanting to drag NEWS down due to his busy schedules”.

So what happened to his solo career so far? With NEWS, their singles are still continuing to grab 1st place in Oricon’s weekly rankings. But for Yamapi, his single/album releases in the past year have only managed 2nd place at best, with sales showing a declining trend. His latest release “Que Sera Sera”, did not even hit 100,000 in sales like all his previous singles.

Singles sales after leaving NEWS:

Figures quoted from generasia

Perhaps his dropping popularity is forcing the management and music label to drum up promotional activities to raise his media exposure. An article i read mentioned that he did as many as 17 handshake events for fans who bought at least 3 out of 5 editions of “Love Chase”, a stunt unusual for Johnny’s artistes. Johnny’s management is also shoving him into all the shows that SMAP does, be it dramas or variety programs. For example, he’s as good as a regular guest on music program “火曜曲” hosted by Nakai. He co-starred in a drama with Katori Shingo and formed a unit with him to release a song “MONSTERS”. His latest song “Que Sera Sera” is also the opening theme for Goro’s drama “Shinryochu”. Right now i’m just waiting for him to collaborate with Kimura on SOMETHING.  The weirdest thing for his fans however, is probably his new job as an MC for  Fuji TV’s new variety show “Shougeki! Sansedai Hikaku TV Generation Tengoku”. All his fans know that he’s not good at talking, let alone showing humor. To promote his variety show, he appeared BISTRO SMAP to showcase his MC skills, and all i got to say is, he’s still as stiff and awkward as ever.

Watch it for yourself below.

It is pretty clear that Yamapi is working hard to keep his popularity afloat. He’s doing more than NEWS, who rarely appear on anything else other than music programs. The question here is, has it all come to the stage where he needs to do variety as well to survive? As a former fan, it actually hurts to see him challenge a field he’s obviously not comfortable with. The world of variety requires him to shed his cool princely image to provide laughter, and honestly, i don’t want to see him make a fool of himself. If the other NEWS members were around, they’d probably take on this role for him.

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7 Responses to “Review of Yamashita Tomohisa’s solo career”

  1. Anonymous April 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    do you really think writing a negative review of yamapi’s solo career is going to make yamapi fans want to follow this site? it sure doesn’t make me want to.

    i have been a yamapi fan since before news became four members. he’s always been my favorite. i knew of him before i knew of news. if you were ever a true fan of his, you’d still be able to support him and his solo career in addition to the new news. after reading this review, i don’t get the impression that you were a true yamapi fan, especially since you took the time to write all this and even look up his sales and history. to me, that’s quite ridiculous. however, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and this is clearly yours. i wholeheartedly disagree with you. to me, it isn’t about the sales or successes. although i do believe that if his management wasn’t making probably 90% of his choices for him, he’d probably have a much more successful music career or career in general.

    even so, yamapi is challenging himself. he’s always said that he’s constantly trying new things to improve himself. if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. you won’t know till you tried, right? i’m proud of him for his decision to leave news. i can only imagine the amount of courage it took to do so and the uncertainty that he will be accepted afterwards. however, i will admit i was quite heartbroken because i absolutely adored news as six. but i know it must’ve burdened him daily before AND after making his decision; all the fans he would let down, letting down his precious members, and maybe even friends or family. i’m sure there were also many things that fans didn’t know about, things that also led him to decide on withdrawing.

    i would like to ask what you felt you would be accomplishing by writing this review? did you want others that dislike yamapi to agree with you? did you want to get a rise out of yamapi fans? whatever the case may be, it is disheartening that you couldn’t understand yamapi’s decision when even all current news members could and did. even after all this time, how could you still be bitter about this? i would appreciate a response that way maybe i’ll be able to understand at least a little bit why you and others believe the way you do. thanks.

  2. allthingsjpop April 16, 2013 at 5:46 am #

    Hello,

    AllThingsJpop is an independent site set up to share news and opinions. We are not a PR agency for the artistes mentioned here, so there is no reason to avoid posting articles like the above. Of course, i already knew fans like you will show up and bash me. If you disagree with me, you’re welcome to voice it out. If you don’t like what you see, you’re welcome to leave.

    I do not want to comment too much on your accusations of me not being a true fan, because i find it laughable/silly/childish whenever someone starts defining it. Bear in mind that you are using your own yardstick to measure other fans’ passion. You can say that you’re a true fan today because you’re still with him. I can say that you’re not, because you haven’t been to all his concerts. Frankly speaking, there is no “true” fan to speak of.

    With regards to his sales figures and history, I dug them out because they were information that my readers would want to know, information that would support my claims. If i made a sweeping statement like “his popularity is declining”, readers would go away with unanswered questions like “why?” and “how?”. You think that it’s ridiculous and i’m probably out to defame him anyway, but i hope you realized i just gave you a lecture on journalism.

    You asked what i was trying to accomplish by writing this review. Like what i said in my first paragraph – for people to share opinions. What i have written is mine, what you have said allows me and the rest of the readers to consider the issue from different angles. For example, if you didn’t mention his management’s role in bad decision making, i wouldn’t have thought of it myself.

    If you think i’m out to start a war with Yamapi fans, look at the number of comments on this article. My articles are not re-posted anywhere else so only those who stumble upon here gets to read it. If i wanted to start a war, i would have posted this article in Yamapi’s fansites.

    The last question on why i couldn’t understand Yamapi’s decision, it’s all in my review. It’s all in the past and i have no bitter feelings towards him now, more of concern from a former fan’s perspective because his activities are obviously getting weird. Hope i have clarified the situation.

    Yuna

    • Anonymous April 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      ms. yuna,

      thank you for your response. i honestly wasn’t expecting one.

      basically the underlying thing i didn’t (and still don’t) understand about your article was why, out of the blue, you decided to write this review. was it “hmm, i think i’ll write a review today on how poorly yamapi is doing with his solo career even though i’m not a fan of his anymore.”? the first sentence of your review plainly states that you aren’t a yamapi fan anymore.

      also, my aim with my previous response wasn’t to bash you. unfortunately, that was how you received it. but it is also still unclear to me why a former fan would be concerned about yamapi’s activities at all.

      if you’re giving ME a lecture on journalism, then you should be an expert at it, yes? all of your points should have been made clear from the start so i wouldn’t have had to respond to your article with all these questions in the first place. however, that’s not what occurred.

      if you have no hard feelings towards yamapi, then why go through all this trouble? it makes no sense.

      • allthingsjpop April 18, 2013 at 6:08 am #

        Hello,

        I have to reiterate that this is a news and review site. If i think the topic is newsworthy, it gets published. Yamapi’s solo career is discussed everytime news about him appear, so i’ve always wanted to give it coverage. However, it’s not fair to analyze his career early on, so i simply collected information from various media until i became overloaded with it.

        You can go ahead and think that ex-fans shouldn’t be worrying about Yamapi anymore, but i’m running a news site here so every artiste is of interest to me. Whether i know them or not, i do a thorough research on their backgrounds before i write about them.

        I said this in my first reply and i’ll repeat it again, i have no bitter feelings against Yamapi. You can disagree with my views of Yamapi, but pls stop making twisted assumptions of my intentions in writing this article.

        Yuna

  3. Aoki Yamashita May 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Desicion respect.
    ~Yamapi

  4. melissa October 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Thank you for writing this!! This came up on google search page 1 for keywords [is yamashita tomohisa popularity dropping?]

    I watched yamapi’s many many drama,, but officially I actually a fan of Ikuta Toma, and hence I know everything I need to know about their past… Probably you’ve heard about the rumour/ theory raised when he left NEWS coincidently around the same time of Ikuta Toma’s birthday? Us fans speculate is there a chance that it was a gesture of apology, in a way. Back then in 4TOPS, yamapi and toma made promise that they’ll debut together. First, Toma was asked to join Arashi, but because he honors their promise, he declined the offer. However, when Yamashita was offered NEWS, he took it. And since then Toma has been a Johnny Junior for life, abandon and neglected.

    After Yamapi left NEWS Toma NEVER mentioned him in ANY of his nikki entries, or interviews in variety shows. For example when he was asked who his bestfriend was, he always answer ‘Oguri Shun’. Now… I’m not saying it’s a lie, because Oguri Shun is indeed (one of his) best buddies, but I find it queer that it seems like there’s nothing ever mentioned about Yamashita Tomohisa like, at all. It’s like Johnny was behind this and direct what to post and what to answer about their personal life.

    So we think probably the management does not want to raise fans’ excitement of supporting the idea of those two forming a team together. Too bad indeed… Also there’s been rumour that the management don’t want to “drag Toma down” by pairing him with Yamashita because Yamapi hasn’t been doing well ever since he left news… (dakara, I googled it to check whether or not it’s true). I personally think Yamapi does not deserve it. He’s a prince and he’s a hard worker and dedicated. I don’t know what we can do as fans outside Japan to support him since as you know we get everything FREE from the internet as the fandom generously provides each other with materials. But I sincerely hope he’ll be fiiiine. I know what you’re saying about awkward though… in MONSTERS it was pitiful to see him got a supporting role that didn’t even suit him.

    Btw, how’s Yamapi doing now?? I don’t follow his music, only dramas.

    (Btw if you say “every artiste is of interest to me” I guess you need to take a look on Toma’s, since he struggle all by himself to be on the place that he is now. He’s once abandoned by his management and as a single fighter going to auditions for butai and dramas *and hit it in Hanakimi* and forged his own future.)

    • allthingsjpop October 30, 2013 at 3:26 am #

      Thank you for reading this article.
      Honestly, i was not aware of the fallout between Toma/Yamapi because of his NEWS debut. I thought they were still on good terms cos i remember vaguely Yamapi mentioning him on his nikki?

      Actually i thought the reasons for him leaving NEWS was more or less cos of Jin’s solo career. And Ryo left because Yamapi left. They are all good friends so there must have been peer influence?

      As for Yamapi’s solo career after leaving NEWS, i can’t say it is successful because his single sales have been dropping with each release. His last single “Summer Nude ’13” is the only single to have slightly increased sales compared to the previous release..and that’s probably due to the effect of his drama. If i have to explain the poor sales, it’s probably due to his music choice. He always goes for these sexy electronic dance styles…good visuals yes but the tunes are forgettable.”Summer Nude ’13” was the first time he switched style to something more jazzy. I thought it was a good pick and lets hope he continues this way.

      One major difference after going solo is his increased media appearance, mostly on SMAP’s shows. If you are not aware, he now belongs to the Iijima sector of Johnny’s family. This sector houses SMAP, Kis-my-ft2 as well so they often appear on each other’s shows. That’s why you see him acting alongside Katori Shingo in Monsters. I didn’t watch it so i don’t know how successful that drama was, but i know his latest drama wasn’t successful despite the all-star cast.The plot was so boring i almost quit watching in ep1!

      Actually, music career wise i hope he can form a unit with Kame again. By himself, he doesn’t talk much so it’s difficult to show different sides of himself and attract fangirls. At least, if he’s wif a group, his members can talk about him.

      About Toma, yes i do know about his Cinderella story. In many ways, he’s better off than the standard Johnny’s….because it is difficult to be recognised as an actor once you start off as an idol. But as an actor, it is easy to spinoff into a singer. So not getting to debut was probably a good thing for him. But my blog only focuses on music so i will probably not write about him.

      Yuna

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