――Certified as Guinness World Record holder
I think this record will be hard to break. I'll be turning 80 soon but this is a record that I've spent all those years making. Entertaining others while entertaining yourself, that is "Show business". As such, I want to continue on having fun forever.
――Inspiration to join show business was
Having grown up in Los Angeles because of my father's job, I got to see many shows and musicals from very young. In my early teens, Hattori Ryoichi and Misora Hibari came to perform (in the States) and I was tasked as interpreter. We would make bromides and sell them and they would just fly off the shelves. Still being a child but having the trust of everyone, that was the point where I decided I wanted to enter the entertainment industry.
――After that, I started an agency in Japan
After the war, Japanese products such as cameras and televisions were on the cutting edge. But for some reason, the entertainment industry remained in the stone age. It was a time when it was embarrassing for a guy to lift his legs while dancing. It was from there that I went forward. I planned to make men dancing commonplace.
――How did you raise so many idols?
You can't succeed with just singing and dancing. You must be "All Mighty" [A/N: All-Around, good at everything]. To increase the chances (of succeeding), I wanted to stock up skills. SMAP's Nakai (Masahiro) couldn't talk at all at first, but now his specialty is talking (as MC). It is amusing.
They call it the "Ikemen Boom", but there aren't any boys in Johnny's that are just there because they are good looking. Matchy (Kondo Masahiko) isn't even good looking. It's because what they're doing is cool that they're cool. More than looks, it is motivation that is important. When Hikaru Genji was formed and I told them that I wanted them to rollerskate, they replied, "We don't know how to skate. But it sounds fun, let's try it". And in one hour, they were all skating smoothly. It's because one likes something that one can become good at it.
I went forward with the feelings that I don't want to lose to Broadway. They say our shows are very broadway-like, but I want to produce a Japanese show that is recognized by the world. Little by little, we're coming to the point where it would be strange for Japan not to be on the cutting edge (in show business).
I don't know about you but I find this interview very interesting. It's revealing about how Johnny thinks.
"They call it the "Ikemen Boom", but there aren't any boys in Johnny's that are just there because they are good looking."