|Front row (left to right) Akanishi Jin & Kamenashi Kazuya|
Back row (left to right) Tanaka Koki, Taguchi Junnosuke, Ueda Tatsuya & Nakamaru Yuichi
KAT-TUN started out as a six member Junior group with the current members and Akanishi Jin. They were put together as a group by Domoto Koichi of Kinki Kids in 2001 when he wanted a group of Juniors to be his back dancers for a program he was on at the time. Their group name comes from the first letter of their last names Kamenashi, Akanishi, Taguchi, Tanaka, Ueda and Nakamaru. Once the group was formed they also began to appear on the Shounen Club as regulars.
From the start the main leads of the group were Kamenashi Kazuya and Jin. As they tended to get featured a lot during their Junior days they became popular, especially once NEWS debuted and they were one of the few remaining Junior groups. They were able to hold their own solo concerts, which were even released on DVD, as a Junior group. The greatest factors in their rise though were two hit drama series, Nobuta no Produce which Kamenashi starred in and Gokusen 2 which starred both Kame and Jin. From these dramas the popularity of the Kame and Jin rose and in turn raised the popularity of the group.
Finally in March 2006 they got to debut. KAT-TUN debuted with not only a single but also an album and a DVD all released on the same day and debuting at number 1 across all three sales charts. They are the second artist able to dominate all three charts in release week. They were also given their own record label, J-One Records which is a sub-label of J-Storm, for their releases.
In October of that same year though Jin announced that he was going to go to the United States for study, marking his first departure from the group. Nothing was announced for him to leave the group which was left as uncertain at the time. The other five continued on during his absence until he came back after about six months and they decided to let him rejoin the group.
In early 2010 The group embarked on their first tour around Asia but it was announced that Jin would not be a part of them as he would be performing the U.S. during that time. After the tour and Jin’s U.S. concerts what fans had been fearing happened. Akanishi Jin announced he was officially leaving the group for good to go solo. With this the A of the group’s name was no longer to stand for Akanishi and instead the KA from then on were to stand for KAmenashi.
While the departure did hurt the group’s popularity, as Jin was one of the most popular members, they still remained one of the better selling groups for Johnny’s. And seem to be climbing back up in popularity as group members continue to get drama roles. 2011 overall has not been a good year for the group in general as while it marks their 5th anniversary since debut in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami almost all plans for the year for them to celebrate it have been put on hold or cancelled.
Kamenashi Kazuya is the youngest member of the group and is considered the leader. He is the lead vocalist of the group, which he shared with Jin when he was with the group. He is the member that is most active with dramas and tends to get the lead roles. He is one of the handful of Johnny’s that is a part of news broadcasts with him being a presenter for the sports news program, Going! Sports & News. He loves baseball and even played the sport until he had to give it up as his activities as a Junior took up too much time.
Taguchi Junnosuke is easy to spot in the group as he is easily the tallest member. He seems a rather odd fit for the group as he is naturally a goofy kind of person so he does not really have the same cool image the other member shave. He is the most acrobatic of the group though he rarely gets chances to show this off. He loves billiards and will even play in tournaments.
Tanaka Koki is the rapper of the group and like Sakurai Sho before him writes his own raps, which he does under the penname Joker. While he looks like a tough-guy he’s really a softie, enjoys to cook and knows how to sew. Or in other words completely fails to have any “cred” as a rapper in the Western sense of the word.
Looks are deceiving when it comes to Ueda Tatsuya. He may look the most effeminate but with hobby of boxing he is probably the last member you would want to mess with. He has been writing his own songs for his solo songs for years. He has had a solo concert under the name MOUSE PEACE that he still uses for his solo musical activities outside of KAT-TUN.
Nakamaru Yuichi is known for being the group’s beat boxer as well as being a big scaredy-cat. He gets teased a lot for being overlooked and of course for being scared of almost everything, the later leading him to be the one asked to do the more frightening things in the group, like bungee jumping at one of their concerts. He is also the group’s main MC from his talkative nature and is the one leading the talks at the group’s concerts.
|(from left to right) Taguchi Junnosuke, Tanaka Koki, Kamenashi Kazuya,|
Ueda Tatsuya & Nakamaru Yuichi
B’z guitarist, and Grammy Winner, Matsumoto Takahiro wrote the music for REAL FACE, the group’s debut song.
Koki’s younger brother Tanaka Juri is currently a Johnny’s Junior.
Next Entry > Jumping to Their Dreams, Hey! Say! JUMP
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
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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
Johnny's and Charity
Odds & Ends