13 March 2012

Introducing... The Yamashita Brothers

And here is my long overdue introduction post to the Yamashita Brothers, which is mainly about Sean as he is one of my great biases, sorry Leon.

Yamashita Sean (left) & Leon (right)
When I discovered bout Juniors and Junior groups back when I was first becoming a Johnny’s fan through NEWS and the Junior Hey! Say! 7 I checked out the other Junior groups that were around at that time. While Kis-My-Ft2 was the only one that really stood out to me at the time, when watching a few Ya-Ya-Yah videos I could find one of the members gained my interest. He just had this aura to him that made me think he was cool. I did look to find out that his name was Yamashita Shoon and decided that I was willing to keep giving Yax3 a try for him, as the more I learned about him the more I liked him.

I really did not get that chance for Yax3 though as September came quickly and Yax3 was disbanded when members, Yabu Kota and Yaotome Hikaru were taken out of the group to debut as members of Hey! Say! JUMP.

Since I really had gotten to know about Shoon and not the other members of the group I did not have the heartbreak Yax3 fans did when this happened. Of course I did sympathize with them, especially since the other member of the quartet, Ayukawa Taiyo, quit the agency shortly after HSJ’s debut announcement. And of course as I was going to keep following Shoon and was a fan of HSJ, mainly because all the members of the Junior HS7 were a part of it, I was exposed to a lot of what Yax3 fans were feeling about it all at the time.

But overall I was happy to see that Shoon was staying. Even more so as it quickly became apparent that he was going to take every chance he was given and make the most of it and shine brightly. In fact it felt like he was finally really coming into his own now that he was not continuously being pushed behind Yabu and Hikaru as he mainly was during the later days of Yax3. I loved to see even the shortest performances that he did on Shounen Club. And watched Hyakushiki religiously when he came on as a regular cast member. On Hyakushiki he really was one of the greatest highlights and with Fujigaya Taisuke seemed to act as the role model for the rest of the younger cast on the program to learn from. And it made me so happy to hear about him getting a starring role in a play, Full House, and also getting a role in the production of Romeo & Juliet that KAT-TUN’s Ueda Tatsuya starred in.

During this time to see and learn more about his younger brother Reon, who was also a Junior but just a back dancer. But since he was Shoon’s brother he got more opportunities to be seen as the magazines liked doing photo shoots of the two brothers together. And from those it was easy to pick up how close the two were and how much Reon looked up to his older brother.

Then in late 2009 Reon left Johnny’s and a few months after so did Shoon in early 2010. It was heartbreaking, and this time it was a heartbreak I felt completely. I hoped that he would be happy doing whatever he chose to do and wished him well though there was a pain there knowing that there was a good chance I would never hear of him again.

Though in the end I did not have that much to wait before some exciting news popped up. Shoon and Reon were back with a website and blog, titled Flying Sheep Café, that was up for a short while. While it was disappointing when things were pulled down it gave new hope that the boys still wanted to give showbiz a go.

After about a year fans got that eventual return when the site and blog went up again and the boys began in earnest to start their new idol career, this time under the Sky Corporation agency. The boys have taken on the romanizations of their names, Sean for Shoon (Shoon is the Japaese phonetic pronunciation of the name Sean) and Leon for Reon. Since then they have been actively blogging, appearing on a weekly program they host, Teenage Garden, performing a few fan events and in 2012 with another talent from Sky Corporation, Shin, have created a performing trio, Cielbleu.

So while the path has been rough things are looking up for Sean fans like me. And I think it is interesting to see how a non-Johnny’s group does things, as they do not have all the support or money behind them and are more limited when it comes to certain opportunities.

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