This is honestly the hardest post I have written for this blog. To try to make it easier I am going to try looking at everything known so far and give my thoughts subject by subject.
Taguchi Junnosuke has announced that he will be leaving not only KAT-TUN but also Johnny's & Associates. The exact date is not known but it is planned to be sometime in the Spring of next year. He mentioned something along the lines that as he was turning 30 soon he has felt that he was not satisfied with his life and wanted to change that.
It has been a well known fact with fans of the group that Junno has had a long term girlfriend so plenty are speculating that at least part of his reason for leaving is to get married and start a family. Something being an idol makes hard to do. Though I think it is more than that, though I would not be shocked to hear about getting married within the next year.
He was never one of the members of the group that got much of a push or that much solo work. So wanting to strike out on his own is understandable. I can see him doing more with being a dancer as that was always something that seemed to be his forte.
Considering how he got to announce his leaving, the fact that he will still have months with the group before he does and the messages from other members of the group have given I would saw that this is something Junno really wants. And it is nice to see someone leave the agency amicably for a change.
I did find it odd for this announcement to happen on a program like Best Artist. It was awkward and did feel like an attention grab. I cannot help but wonder if management told the Junno to do it there so they could get extra buzz from it. Of course the group looked to be well aware of things though still distraught as there was no turning back from this.
That said this was still the best leaving announcement that Johnny's has had anyone give as most of the time such things come with a scandal attached. But since there seems to be none here they look to be trying to do things properly, or maybe at least in a way to give the group a boost before losing yet another member.
Since Junno is not immediately leaving the chances of him getting an actual send off of sorts seems like a real possibility. Certainly one final concert with the group and since the members have brought up their 10th debut anniversary on March 22nd I have the feeling that is a part of the reason why he is staying until Spring of the next year.
That said with KAT-TUN down to three members it does cast doubt on the survival of the group. If it breaks up I can see Kamenashi Kazuya and Nakamaru Yuichi staying on with the agency as they have work through them. Ueda Tatsuya I would worry about staying on as he is not nearly as busy and seems like he may want to give being a musician without the idol hangups a go. But that is if they do not decide to continue as a trio. I do think as long as the members want to the agency will keep the group going.
My heart is broken. I may have never been a big KAT-TUN fan but I did enjoy the group and was an active fan for few years. The first Johnny's concert I ever went to was one of the Tokyo Dome concerts for their Break the Records shows. From the get go Junno was my favorite member and seeing him perform live and see him show that he cared about trying to interact with the fans, he was the only one I could see looking at the higher levels consistently and even tried to get a sign board up to the higher levels, only made me a bigger fan.
Even when I stopped being a KAT-TUN fan I never stopped being a Junno fan. I kept up with the group passively just in case of news about him and gladly purchased the Face to Face single to get his solo song and PV.
The selfish fan part of me does not want him to leave and just wants him to change his mind and stay, if not with KAT-TUN at least with Johnny's. I know he is not going to disappear once he leaves but I do not want this change.
But that selfishness does not rule what kind of fan I am. I will be happy for him and support him with my well wishes for whatever he decides to do with his life. He has already given about half of it so far to being in the entertainment industry and my fond memories are not going to disappear when he leaves the agency. And at least I have the time to prepare myself for his departure, something so few fans get when someone leaves Johnny's. I wish I could see him perform once more with KAT-TUN, but that would be impossible for me. Instead I am just going to hope they do a final concert and it gets a home video release I can purchase.
I have cried a little and each time I think about this I get teary eyed. Until the end I want to support Junno, so until then it is still Iriguchi, Deguchi, Taguchi.