21 October 2011

A brief look at half and mixed Johnny's (Juniors)

In light of the debut of You Marius with the group Sexy Zone I think it might be good for Johnny’s fans to have at least a brief look at the half and mixed Johnny’s that were or still are with the agency. These Juniors, as they all have been Juniors until Marius debuts, are sometimes called "International Juniors", but I don’t think that’s an accurate name for them. The name came from a time when Johnny’s lumped a few of the half and mixed Juniors together and gave them that “group” name for a calendar picture and it just has persisted over the years.

The "International" Juniors
I know I’m going to miss quite a few of them but I’ve decided to stick to some of the better known Juniors that you can actually find some information on in the English fandom or this entry will probably get too long.

Jimmmy Mackey
 If you run into older Johnny’s fans or just watch the older episodes of Shounen Club back when KAT-TUN was still a Junior group then Jimmy Mackey will be the name first given as an example of a half Junior. He was from the U.S. and while he had a rather big presence on Shounen Club for an ungrouped Junior, he was one of the main hosts during his time, it was pretty clear to see that his career was going nowhere. In early 2006 he quit the agency and returned to the States.

Joey Tee
Joey Tee was a young Junior, he was 12 when he joined the agency, from the U.S. that for a time was heavily promoted, mainly for his dance skills. It as assumed he left Johnny’s at some point but there are recent reports that he’s been spotted at Akanishi Jin’s Japanese solo concerts as a back dancer, so it seems he still at least has contacts with Johnny’s at least. I’ve also found a youtube account that he has been uploading videos of him dancing in that you can check out here.

Camu Cade
Cade Camu was probably another half Junior that was relatively well known during his time in Johnny’s. He had a role in one of the seasons of 3nen 3gumi Kenpachi-sensei and was in the Junior group Hip Hop Jump. He left the agency sometime in either 2008 or early 2009. The last bit of news for him was that he was arrested for theft in December 2009, his name wasn’t released but as the two caught were said to be 17 and 18, ex-Juniors and had roles in the 3nen 3gumi Kenpachi-sensei drama only he and fellow ex-Johnny’s Junior Kamei Taku fit those descriptions.

Casey T. Anderson
Moving on to those still in the agency, Anderson Casey is typically the one that would make those English introductions at concerts, I know he did them for Hey! Say! JUMP, of group members. He was born in Japan but is half American. He isn’t in a Junior group but is usually put in the group of Juniors that perform with Kyomoto Taiga. Every once in a while a T. is placed in his name or it's actually spelled out "Takeshi" and one can assume it's his middle/Japanese name.

Jesse Lewis
Jesse Lewis (Hip Hop Jump) prior to being placed in HHJ really didn’t do anything too prominent though he’s been in the agency for a while, at least since he was 11. He's one of the few original HHJ members still in the group after it's been reshuffled a few times.

Igo Akun
Igo Akun (Question?) is probably one of the most popular half Juniors if just because he’s been around for some time and is a part of a group. His father is Turkish and his mother Japanese and he was born in Japan. He has had some acting roles in the past, though usually only minor parts, and with Question? was a part of the special CD release, Matchy + Question? in 2008. He plays the guitar in the group and tends to be one of the members of the group to be seen in the Junior corners of Shounen Club.

Nakama Junta
Nakama Junta (B.A.D.) is a quarter Taiwanese and spent about six years in Taiwan when he was younger so he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese though he was born in Japan. He is probably most known for being in the Gokusen 3 drama series with fellow B.A.D. member Kiriyama Akito and Hey! Say! JUMP’s Takaki Yuya. He has also been in other dramas, such as the Kansai Junior dramas, and in stage plays almost always paired off with Akito.

Mukai Koji

Mukai Tatsuro
Mukai Koji (Shadow WEST) & his older brother Mukai Tatsuro were originally a duo together called the Muay Thai Mukai Brothers and were often featured showing off Thai boxing moves. When Shadow WEST was formed they were broken up and Koji joined the group and is the center of it. Tatsuro is still a part of the agency and can be seen from time to time in the ungrouped Kansai Junior lot.

So while there has actually been a good number of half and mixed Juniors over the years Marius is still the only one that has gone on to actually debut in group. And honestly it gives me some hope that my favorites of the half Juniors do actually have a shot at debuting instead of constantly wondering how much longer they’ll stay before, like the others before them, they give up and quit the agency.


Chris said...

Wow great to see all those international (ex) Juniors !
I almost forgot about the older ones.

I remember seeing Mackey on SC years ago,but I didn´t know he went back to the US.

Igo Akun really looks Turkish a lot, doesn´t he? And I really like him! He´s a moodmaker and always so funny, always entertaining!

Surprise for me was that Junta is a quarter Taiwanese. I knew he can speak Chinese but I never thought he even lived there for so long.

Noticable is the amount of international Juniors who are Japanese/American, but sadly so many quit.
I hope now that Marius will debut, the Internationals will see that it´s not impossible to debut as half foreigner as well.

Ani2 said...

I haven´t seen Koji Mukai´s brother since a long time, so I thought he quit?! But seems like he is still somewhere in the background, right?

I also haven´t seen that Chinese boy of Japanese Hi in recent SC too. He was always so positive and such, I hope he´s still there.
Lewis Okubo is often seen backdancing.
And Marius, he has such a beautiful face~ I imagine he´ll become really goodlooking in the future.

Misa said...

Aww, I like Anderson a lot !!!
If only he and Taiga and the others would finally form a group with a unit name T_T
Johnny-san, pleaseee!

Natalie (DSQ) said...

Aw I was gonna do a post just like this! D: Aw well ;)

It is a shame about Camu, I still don't want to beleave he was arrested since from what I heard he is apart of some dance troup now not in prison but I highly doubt johnnys would let a tablod slander even on an ex johnny.

I think the only major guy you missed would be Dante, who was in that international jr's pic. He left the agency but he was pretty well known.

What is sad about all these jrs is how little the agency does with them and so they end up moving on. It is almost like management sees them more as a curio rather than talents to give a debut to. But I hope how they treat Marius changes that view even if he ends up being in the background in sexy zone.

Oh aparently Matsujun is part spanish on his mothers side but that isn't spoken of much.

Thennary Nak said...

@ Chris

Akun does seem to take after his father's nationality. And I really like him too and I'm glad he appears on SC quite a bit.

I learned about Junta when the Gokusen 3 trio went to Taiwan for a special event and of course he got to be the spokesperson for them as he spoke Chinese fluently.

I think if Johnny's wants to expand globally then having one of these Juniors that come knowing another language debut with newer groups would help a lot. I mean with Marius they're getting someone who can speak both German and English and can be the group's spokesperson if they ever go to any country that speaks those languages.

@ Ani2

He's still around, but in one of the back dancer groups so he's not really getting featured anymore.

With SZ's debut and Johnny's having to figure out which Juniors they should start promoting next he might make a resurgence. Lewis is hard to miss with his height and hair color.

I agree about Marius, right now I think he's just cute though.

@ Misa

I'd hope so too. Especially if that group could pull a KAT-TUN/Kisumai.

@ Natalie (DSQ)

I think you should go ahead and still do a post like this. These Juniors don't seem to get as much love as the others.

Well as he's a minor still in Japan and if the boys were able to return what they stole they could have gotten off lightly enough not to spend time in prison. It's sad but there are really no other two ex-Juniors that would fit that description.

I debated about putting Pain in or not but decided to keep this on the shorter side of things and left him out as he wasn't as well known as the others.

I also had the feeling that these Juniors were more for a curio factor than actually being treated as serious talents as well. And honestly I can't blame any of them for quitting because of that. But I also hope that with Marius' debut it means that has changed. Especially since I'm a fan of Casey and Jesse and would love to see either of them debut someday as well.

I've heard that rumor about MatsuJun but honestly I would like to see reliable proof about it as the last time I heard it mentioned it was someone claiming he was half-Spanish.

Anonymous said...

Dante Pain (along with his brother Duncan) is actually a rather famous youtuber in Japan right now. Also, it is a shame about Camu.