26 November 2011

The Inseparable Duo, Tackey & Tsubasa

Members: Takizawa Hideaki & Imai Tsubasa 

(left to right) Imai Tsubasa & Takizawa Hideaki

To understand how Tackey & Tsubasa came about it helps to understand their place in Junior history. They were a part of what is known as the Golden Age of Juniors and Takizawa Hideaki was considered the leader of the Juniors, a title that pretty ended with his debut as no other Junior had the kind of unifying presence he did. Tackey and Tsubasa as well as the members of Arashi and the older members of Kanjani8 were a part of this era. And a lot of what Junior fans take for granted, like Junior concerts, were started during this time.

Both Tackey and Imai Tsubasa joined the agency at the same audition in 1995 but while Tsubasa went off to do the usual Junior activities of the time Tackey got a drama role which helped lead to his early popularity. The two were often placed together for performances though and while they initially did not get along well eventually they became friends.

After noting their popularity, especially after it rose after Arashi debuted, Johnny Kitagawa commented that he wanted them to debut when they turned twenty, but it was not clear if he meant together as a duo or as two soloists. They were actually originally meant to debut as two solo artists but Tackey was able to get permission to ask their fans to organize a letter campaign to ask Johnny’s to let the two debut as a duo instead. This was the only time such a campaign has worked and considering how the two have such a poor sales record it will most likely be the last. But in any case it stands as testament at just how popular Tackey was as a Junior. 

Instead of debuting with a single the duo had an album debut, titled Hatachi (the Japanese word for 20 years old) in 2002. They have had a spotty record when it comes to producing hit singles and tend to be one of Johnny’s lowest selling artists but now and then produce a hit like their popular song, Venus. Around 2009 each released solo material, which lead to fans fearing they would break up, but after about a year or so of that came back to releasing music as a duo again.

Tackey & Tsubasa are one of the rare Johnny’s groups that do not have their own variety show to host as a group. But they are both very active with musicals. Tackey nowadays has two musicals that he does, usually with many of the Juniors, one for the New Year in January Takizawa Kakumei and usually  then another one he does later in the year Takizawa Kabuki. In the past couple of years Tsubasa has taken over being the lead in the annual PLAYZONE musical which runs during the summer.

Hideaki Takizawa is usually known by his nickname, Tackey. Because of his drama work when he was a Junior he quickly became popular but it was more his natural charisma that earned him his title of leader of the Juniors. Unfortunately the popularity did not seem to cross over after his debut though he still stars in dramas from time to time. He does still remain active with the Juniors, his recent project with them being TakiCHANnel, an online website that updates new videos of the Juniors weekly and sometimes also feature Tackey with them. He also dabbles in directing from time to time for mainly music videos.

Imai Tsubasa may not have the same star quality as Tackey but still manages to shine with what he loves, dancing. He is considered to be one of the Dancing Kings of Johnny’s. He also loves Spain and even hosts a program about learning Spanish and takes trips to visit the country when he has the time, saying that he goes to study dance there. He used to co-star in Domoto Koichi’s annual musical SHOCK but in recent has moved on to star in his own musicals, the most recent of course being PLAYZONE.

(from left to right) Takizawa Hideaki & Imai Tsubasa

TRIVIA: Yamashita Tomohisa used to call the two mom and dad.

During his time as a Junior he and Kanjani8’s Shibutani Subaru were considered rivals and were nicknamed Tackey of the East and Subaru of the West.

Tackey was actually very active with the Shounen Club program when it first began in 1999, and even directed an introduction clip that was aired with it for a couple of years.

Next Entry > North, East, West, South ... It's big NEWS

Directory >
Johnny’s Juniors, full of rising stars and heartbreak
The Early and Rocky Path to Fame
Kondo Masahiko: Singer, Dancer, Actor, Professional Race Car Driver
Giving a New Meaning to Playzone, Shounentai
Hikaru Genji, Shining the Brightest and Crashing the Hardest
Otokogumi, Rocking It Old School
The Living Legend of SMAP
TOKIO, From Spaceships to the Over 30s World
Victory, Volleyball, Vegetable, Vicylce? V6
KinKi Kids, It's Not What You Think
Arashi, Storming to the Top
The Inseparable Duo, Tackey & Tsubasa
North, East, West, South ... It's big NEWS
Kansai Underdogs,  Kanjani∞
Cartoon? KAT-TUN!
Jumping to Their Dreams, Hey! Say! JUMP
Johnny's Black Sheep, Akanishi Jin
How to Debut Without Even Trying, Ikuta Toma
Kis-My-Ft2, Everybody Go (Roller Skating)!
Yamashita Tomohisa, Johnny’s Golden Boy
Entering the Sexy Zone
The 5Stars A.B.C-Z
International Ventures
Johnny's and Charity 
Odds & Ends


Jackie said...

Their new single "Heartful Voice" is really nice but I was a bit shocked to see that yesterday, they were at 13th place at the daily ranking. I feel bad for Takkey&Tsubasa but on the other hand , they were never great sellers, so their low sales for Heartful Voice are probably nothing new. Still it makes me wondering why they are one of those Johnny´s groups who sell pretty low.
Well to be honest, I like Takkey and Tsubasa more in their individual solo activities, like both doing their own butais for example. I like it more than when they appear as a unit together for singles. I think when each of them star in butais, everytime I feel like both can show off their abilities and talent more.
Like watching 2010 and 2011´s Playzone DVD, I always get amazed by Tsubasa´s dancing and how great his voice sounds when he´s singing solo. Same goes for tackey.
I think I remember how Tacey said that we want to work more backstage soon, but then it will be a bit sad that we won´t be able to see him on stage in his own butais anymore.
On the other hand, maybe it´s time for some younger Johnny´s to take over the leading, whoever it may be.

Chris said...

Aw, Takki was so popular as a Junior and he acted in so many dorama.
First I find it amazing that Johnny wanted to debut each of them as solo artist but even more amazing is how Takki was able to make this campaign and that in the end he was able to convince Johnny to debut him with Tsubasa.
Well but the awaiting success didn´t come which is a bit disappointing.
Anyway, why did both want to debut together? Because they were such good friends ? Because they thought they would be more successful as duo?? Do you know anything about the reasons?

May I ask you what "Golden Era" of Juniors really means? Were the Juniors at that time more popular as now?

Anonymous said...

I first knew Tackey because he was the one who gave Jin and Kame duo the name Akakame and then fans shortened it to Akame. TxT songs are not catchy but they are the most fun to dance along (Venus, Ho!Summer, Samurai, etc.) It's a pity that you don't mention the dramas that made Takky famous as an actor (gosh, I love Majo no Jōken and Satomi Hakkenden. Kaiki Club is also a must-watch because of both chibi Takky and Tsubasa). Since the post is dedicated to TxT, I guess including individual member's works isn't necessary

Thennary Nak said...

@ Jackie

I think T&T work as a reminder that just because a Junior is popular doesn't mean they will remain popular once debuted. Or at least have the kind of popularity that sells CDs. But they do well with their concerts and butais and most developed music industries that's really where the money is, not with CD sales so it's not like they don't have some success to be proud of.

I hadn't heard that Tackey is that interested in doing backstage work. I can't say I'm surprised as he's always done that kind of thing since even his Junior days.

@ Chris

Well they had been mainly performing as a duo, especially after Arashi's debut, and by then they had gotten close and wanted to continue to perform together.

The Golden Era was the time that Juniors really rose in popularity. In fact it was during this time that they held their first concerts, something that Juniors didn't do until then. In fact they even went overseas to perform a concert, in I believe Thailand, which was completely unheard of for Juniors.

@ Anonymous

Well these entries are meant to just be an introduction to Johnny's, as there are plenty of pimp posts and the like that do much more justice to them than what I'm doing. I can only hope that if someone becomes interested in them from reading the entry they will look for more information about them, which they should be able to find.