14 January 2012

How to Debut Without Even Trying, Ikuta Toma

Ikuta Toma is a true rarity amongst J&A. He is the only debuted talent that has never had a music debut. Instead when Johnny’s updated their official websites around the time Akanishi Jin officially went solo they just gave Toma his own solo section while they were at it and have dropped labeling him as a Junior in news coverage. Thus making him the first and only Junior to debut strictly as an actor.

He joined the agency in 1996. When he was a Junior he was one of the most popular, about on par with Yamashita Tomohisa, back in what is known as the Golden Age of Juniors because of the huge amount of popularity the Juniors had at the time. He was shuffled in a couple of Junior groups before forming 4Tops with Yamapi and two other Juniors, Kazama Shunsuke and Hasegawa Jun.

Many believed that 4Tops were on their way to debut even when NEWS was first formed as not everyone believed that this would end up being a permanent group, which included some of the members of NEWS. But when NEWS announced their second single that debate was ended as well as the 4Tops group as Yamapi left the group for the debut. It came as a surprise to many fans and the boys themselves as only one of the four debuted even though they were all rather popular.

Toma with Jun and Shunsuke remained on Shounen Club for about a year and then they stopped being on the program. They all moved to do acting and musicals as they all remained with Johnny’s. It was with this shift that Toma decided to dedicate himself to acting and give up on a career based on dancing and singing.

In 2007 Toma got his big break with being cast as Nakatsu Shuichi in the drama Hanazakari no Kimitachi e. The drama was a hit and he won several Best Supporting Actor awards for it. From there he began getting more and more roles and has even made the jump to films. He has gained a great deal of acclaim from his acting skills and is now one of the more popular actors in Japan.

In 2010 he finally was promoted out of Junior status by getting his one solo page on the official Johnny’s websites and has stopped being referred to as a Junior in official media coverage about him.

TRIVIA: He stars in TOKIO’s PV for their single Na Na Na.

He is still close friends with Yamashita Tomohisa.

Next Entry > Kis-My-Ft2, Everybody Go (Roller Skating)!

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


Anonymous said...

I don't understand the title? "How to Debut Without Even Trying." Sorry for asking this because I'm not an English speaker so I think it means Toma debut without trying

Jackie said...

I wonder why Toma didn´t debut with a music single because he was so popular as a Junior with Yamapi.
I think he had a very nice voice too.
But nevertheless, it shows that Johnny´s can debut even without a singing career and getting very popular just with acting.
Toma is the best example for that!

natalie said...

I think he just fell into it and luck out that he acting was so good he got to debut anyway.

He was popular so he got alot of work, but he was never the right fit for a group. I think Hana kimi really made it clear that he was gonna stick with the agency but I'm still surprised he got to stop being a jr.

Thennary Nak said...

@ Anonymous

It's a bit of a homage to a musical titled "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying". I felt it a bit fitting as Toma gained his debut with acting in dramas/plays/musicals.

@ Jackie

Who knows why Johnny did not have the other members of 4Tops debut as well, as they were all popular and probably would have done well. I mean Toma did well even without that kind of debut.

I think it's great that Toma has set a new standard and a new path for Juniors to take if they don't get a CD debut.

@ natalie

Well I guess Johnny's figured since he had become a big name star it would no longer be fitting for him to be lumped with the others in the agency that were still considered to be "in training" or something like that. But of course the only way to get a definite answer is to be able to talk to management which unfortunately fans really can't do.