Mr Johnny is always thinking

Warning: this music and dancing might hurt your head! I must give full creative credit to Mr Johnnys, the creator of generations of J-pop boy bands. With EastWest Boys, he’s assembled a group of hip-gyrating, overly coiffed, and ridiculously choreographed white boys (“from Los Angeles) to appeal to Japanese teen girls. And, in a departure from decades of standard practice, he’s using the internet to get some free buzz. He’s even added a little emo to add some foreign “flavor” while sticking to the formula that has made Mr Johnny a very very rich, old man.

I found this video and story from Mutantfrog’s blog. I love how s/he captions their photo with “every girl’s fantasy English teacher.” Is it me, or does this Western version of J-pop seem even gay-er than the standard Japanese boy band? Have I gotten used to ridiculously vain Japanese pseudo-celebrities and their ability to feminize themselves in order to appeal to their fangirls? What do you think??

14 comments

  1. See initially I looked at that and was thinking definitely gayer … but I dunno. Japanese guys mess up my gaydar something extreme.

    Personally I think Johnny should spend more time marketing the talent he’s got to o/seas than bringing in o/seas talent for Japanese girls. I mean how much more money can he milk out of Japanese fan girls? Meanwhile us overseas fan girls have money to burn and can’t spend it!!!!

    1. You are *so* right, Kathryn. Why isn’t Mr Johnny providing better service to overseas fangirls? Maybe he could get some “cultural diplomacy” funds out of the government. I think this is exactly what Japan needs to project “soft power” and engage with young women around the world! I think you are on to something.

      1. Yeah I really think the profit potential of the overseas market isn’t something they consider. Maybe China/Korea but not further afield.

        I really think JE is interesting from business perspective and can’t figure out if he’s a genius or insane!

        For example, all concert tickets are allocated through a ballot system at a standard price of 7,000 yen for fan club members (if you can get them).

        If you aren’t in the fan club then your only option is buy from scalpers. When we wanted to get Arashi tickets the absolute rock bottom price for crap seats was around 70,000 yen. The best tickets were going for about 300,000!

        Obviously, they aren’t making a loss but they definitely are making a lot less profit than they could.

        It makes me wonder if that is bad business or not. They get the goodwill of selling tickets to fans at an affordable price + the hype of sold out concerts + high resell price. Does that mean a heap more money in merchandise sales and increased fan club membership -> long term loyalty!

        Ha, this comment is turning into an essay, but I’m also wondering if the little American boys will be able to deal with the insane work schedule most Johnnys have!

    1. Beth, it is shocking and somewhat disturbing for us native English speakers to see this obviously Japanese product with barely legal whities as puppets. Do you think it’ll go over with Japanese teen girls?!

      1. i showed it to my japanese roommate and she didn’t seem shocked at all. she said “oh, it’s like backstreet boys.” i couldn’t point out all the tiny things that show how jpop boy bands and american boy bands are totally different. either way she seemed to think it was just another boy band.

        this really shows me why japanese girls often (usually) have noooo gaydar in america, though. i mean zero gaydar.

  2. I could not even finish watching the video.
    Then I scrolled down and clicked on the Weinz video clip again–he’s adorable.

  3. i agree with kankuro..i just couldn’t finish watching the video..too painful.brought back memories of now defunct backstreet boys..lol. the video of wentz is cute..what exactly does he do??? from what i read online,it says he’s a singer but for some reason, i can’t seem to find any music videos of his except for one video where he’s singing live.

  4. For me who is an American, I can not stand them. I could get through the first 30 seconds of the music video. Give me a cute japanese guy who can sing (like Kimeru) , I will be happy!

  5. I was wondering when this was gonna happen… o.O Well, now that it has, I can’t help but think: this is absolutely horrible, but aren’t all jpop boybands like this? Look at the clothes, the hair, the style, the “dancing”, it’s all def Johnny’s-ish. But, the jboys do it so much better. Wonder why…

    Yeah, so this is horrible. And, what’s probably even more horrible, is that I’m sure that this is gonna be a huge hit in Asia. In Taiwan, I’m sure it will be.

  6. For some reason white guys stepping in to Jpop boyband territory doesn’t work. :S They look a bit awkward where as if Arashi or KAT-TUN did something like this it’s perfectly fine. Weird huh? Can’t really explain it :/

  7. i’m also wondering if those of us who find this freakish and gross should like, take the opportunity to dissect our latent perceptions of japanese men. i’m not at all implying the worst possibilities but it’s interesting that it’s only okay when they do it. it could very likely just be that we’re used to it now.

    i actually remember on my second day ever in japan, my 13 and 15 year old host sisters took me to their room and showed me a kat-tun concert dvd (with the guy from the razor ad). it was my first experience with jpop and i was so shocked by their mannerisms and dance moves i seriously wrote home about it. it’s still one of the most interesting things about japan for me, that their mainstream boy idols act like our mainstream girl idols, and their mainstream girl idols are almost completely de-sexualized.

    1. What’s freaky is how boy bands appeal to teen girls *and their mothers.* There’s a lot of male beauty on display and an earnestness to be adored. Girl idols may be desexualized but there’s plenty of nasty images for lady-loving men (from manga kiddie porn to some very freaky adult videos).

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