With the flair up of the rivalry between Julie Kitagama and Iijima Michi as they battle it out to be selected as Johnny Kitagawa's successor which group falls under whom has been brought up. In this it is rumored that Johnny himself is still managing some groups, namely the younger ones like Hey! Say! JUMP, Sexy Zone and A.B.C-Z. This makes some sense as they are the three groups being mainly featured in his ambitious musical extravaganza Johnny's World.
If this is the case then I cannot help but worry about the future for HSJ. They have already been mis-managed before by not releasing a CD in over a year back around 2009 and never seem to have the promise that they have had since debut utilized well. And some of the more recent decisions by Johnny has me worried that they never will be a well utilized group.
While Johnny has gone after records before in the past year he seems to becoming more and more obsessed with them. I feel this is a part of his desire to make sure he is leaving a strong legacy behind him before he decides to retire, which he would have to be seriously considering for the current rivalry to be as heated as it has seemly gotten.
He also is eyeing international markets, which is nice for international fans in a way, but whether or not he has the savvy to get his acts to successfully enter them is another matter. Naming a group of teens and younger Sexy Zone is far from a vote of confidence in that area, as nowhere in the West would that go down well at all. But then again he did allow Akanishi Jin to start using the standard internet media outlets, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, etc fro his U.S. venture so perhaps he might be able to make the needed adjustments for that, or at least trust in people from those markets in knowing how an artist needs to be handled.
So what does this mean for HSJ? Out of the three groups that are rumored to be under his management HSJ is the only one that has a proven success sales record and is already established and stable in Japan. They are also now all out of high school and will be turning 20, the legal age of adulthood in Japan this year, 2013. This makes them the best group to use for his aims with going international and establishing whatever records he can with them. In fact I suspect part of why it was decided for Yamada Ryosuke to release a solo single was so he could get that record of highest male teen solo debut since Kondo Masahiko record.
Also there is no denying that HSJ has been hindered from doing much else than Johnny's World these past couple of months, being the main feature in it. And every time it seems to be coming to an end there is an announcement that it will be extended in some way. Hopefully it will be over after the Dome performances and HSJ can do something like finally release another single. Because if they do not continue to release new CDs they will be surpassed by SZ easily within a year or so if they keep their pace up.
Johnny keeps talking about wanting to expand internationally and wanting to do shows in the U.S. but I feel he is hindering the popularity of his groups, like in this case HSJ, in Japan to try to make this happen. I think it would fare much better if he created a new group specifically for his international ambitions, because really in the U.S. very few are going to care if they are the biggest thing in Japan or nobodies so it would be wiser to not hinder an established artist for a project like that.