17 April 2015

NEWS - NEWS Nippon (debut single)

East version
While NEWS Nippon can be considered the group's debut single the fact it was not a typical release rather puts it in a grey area. It is officially the following single that is counted for a debut date for the group, as that is when the group officially became a group and that release was their first major release.

Getting back to NEWS Nippon itself though, this single was released only through 7-11 convenience stores, hence the issue of whether or not this can be counted as the official debut single of the group. It came out November 7th, 2003. There were two versions, East and West, with each being released in different parts of Japan. (East for Eastern Japan and West for Western Japan.) Each version had a different B-side for it, Ima, Arigato (which featured Moriuchi Takahiro, Masuda Takahisa and Tegoshi Yuya) for East and Private Hearts (which featured Koyama Keiichiro, Kusano Hironori and Kato Shigeaki) for West.

Private Hearts was a song for the Junior group that Koyama, Kusano and Kato were members of, K.K.Kity. The group was one of the Junior groups that Domoto Koichi from Kinki Kids had a hand in creating and the lyrics for this song were written by him.

The title track was used as the official theme song for the FIVB tournament that NEWS was made the official supporters of in connection of it. It made them the third group, after V6 and Arashi, to have their debut in connection to the sports event.

When the group and single were announced in September 2003 it was not made known that this would be a permanent group. Even the group members were in the dark about this, especially since Nishikido Ryo and Uchi Hiroki still were active with their Kansai Junior group, Kanjani8. The others who had Junior groups (Yamashita Tomohisa with 4TOPS and Koyama, Kusano and Kato with K.K.Kity) also remained with those groups as well as performing as NEWS during this time.

Though those chosen out of their groups were some of the more popular members of them, especially Yamashita (Yamapi) who was one of the most popular Juniors of that time. Masuda had been a Junior for some time and Moriuchi had been getting pushed by the agency in the months prior. Tegoshi Yuya was relatively unknown, as he had only joined the agency about four months before this.

There is no sales record for the single because of its special release status but one can assume it must have done well enough for Johnny's to debut the group officially in the following year.

West version

Release date: 7 November, 2003

Versions: East, West

East track listing:
1. NEWS Nippon
2. Ima, Arigato
3. NEWS Nippon (original karaoke)
4. Ima, Arigato (original karaoke)

West track listing:
1. NEWS Nippon
2. Private Hearts
3. NEWS Nippon (original karaoke)
4. Private Hearts (original karaoke)

Group members: Yamashita Tomohisa, Nishikido Ryo, Uchi Hiroki, Koyama Keiichiro, Kusano Hironori, Kato Shigeaki, Masuda Takahisa, Tegoshi Yuya, Moriuchi Takahiro

Final single for Moriuchi Takahiro.

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