Take a Look at KAT-TUN’s Ten Years as a Johnny’s Idol Group!

  • CELEBRITIES
  • CULTURE
  • KAT-TUN celebrated their 10th year debut anniversary last March 22, 2016. In spite of losing three members, the remaining members celebrated their anniversary by having a live concert called “KAT-TUN 10th Anniversary Live Tour ’10Ks!’” The word “10Ks” is a short term for “thanks.” KAT-TUN wanted to convey their heartfelt thanks to the “Hyphens,” their fans.

    The Beginning of KAT-TUN

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    KAT-TUN is an idol group under one of Japan’s top entertainment agencies, Johnny & Associates. The group started as a six-member band composed of Kamenashi Kazuya (亀梨和也), Akanishi Jin (赤西仁), Taguchi Junnosuke (田口淳之介), Tanaka Koki (田中聖), Ueda Tatsuya (上田竜也), and Nakamaru Yuichi (中丸雄一). Before they debuted as KAT-TUN in March 22nd, 2006, they were trained under Johnny’s Jr. in their teens.

    8 Johnny’s Jr. idols were chosen to dance as backup for KinKi Kids’ Domoto Koichi(堂本光一) at a show called “POP JAM.” The members were switched before solidifying as the six-member KAT-TUN. Although it was planned that they would just be a temporary unit, KAT-TUN gained attention thus remained as a group.

    Gaining popularity, KAT-TUN held their first-ever live concert called “Okyakusama wa Kamisama ~Concert 55man nin Ai no request ni kotaete!!~ ” at Tokyo International Forum on August 10 and 11, 2002. A whopping number of 550,000 people tried to get tickets for their very first live, however, only a handful of 20,000 people had the chance to see it with their own eyes! But then later on in early 2003, they released it as a concert DVD.

    KAT-TUN grew more famous in the years 2003 to 2004. In addition, they performed multiple times on Music Station even before debuting. In 2005, KAT-TUN again released a DVD concert called “KAT-TUN Live Kaizokuban.” The said concert was filmed on January 4, 2005 in Yokohama Arena.

    The Members

    Kamenashi Kazuya

    Kamenashi Kazuya is the “K” of KAT-TUN. Aside from being a Johnny’s idol, he is also an actor, a television personality, and an occasional model. He hails from Edogawa, Tokyo. He started being a Johnny’s idol at the tender age of 12.

    Before having KAT-TUN’s major debut in 2006, Kamenashi released a single with fellow Johnny’s idol, Yamashita Tomohisa (山下智久) or Yamapi, entitled “Seishun Amigo (青春アミーゴ).” This single was also a theme for their drama series Nobuta wo Produce (野ブタをプロデュース). Along with the aforementioned song, he also released a solo song entitled “Kizuna (絆)” for the drama series Gokusen 2 (ごくせん2).

    Moreover, Kamenashi is a huge fan of the sports, baseball. He represented his junior high school as a shortstop in the said sports. Unfortunately, he had to give up baseball due to his activities in the entertainment world.

    One notable drama series for Kamenashi is the 2010 drama The Wallflower based on the manga Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (ヤマトナデシコ七変化♥ ). He was awarded Best Actor alongside Oomasa Aya (大政絢) who was awarded Best Supporting Actress.

    Akanishi Jin

    Work work work work work work. #Music #Work #仕事

    A post shared by Jin Akanishi (@jinstagram_official) on

    Akanishi Jin, now a former member, was the “A” of KAT-TUN. He used to be one of the frontmen of KAT-TUN along with Kamenashi. He is not an idol anymore but is now a musician and singer-songwriter.

    Starting his solo career outside Johnny & Associates, Akanishi released two studio albums entitled “Japonicana” and “#JustJin,” and two mini albums called “Test Drive” and “Mi Amor.”

    Aside from being a musician and a singer-songwriter, he is also active as an actor. He starred in drama series, particularly in Gokusen 2 alongside Kamenashi Kazuya and in Yukan Club (有閑倶楽部) alongside Taguchi Junnosuke. Akanishi also made his Hollywood international debut in the film 47 Ronin alongside Keanu Reeves.

    Taguchi Junnosuke

    Taguchi Junnosuke, also now a former member, was the first “T” of KAT-TUN. Taguchi decided to leave KAT-TUN for personal reasons. Many of his fans were surprised to know that he will start his solo career as an artist outside of Johnny & Associates which was announced in September 2016 when he opened his official website. His first single entitled “Hero” was released on November 2, 2016.

    Tanaka Koki

    Tanaka Koki, who is also now a former member, was the second “T” of KAT-TUN. Sadly, he was terminated by Johnny & Associates due to a breach of contract.

    Tanaka was the rapper of the group. He himself wrote his rap parts for KAT-TUN songs under the pen name “JOKER.” Now, he is still active in the entertainment scene since he formed a rock band called INKT alongside Kei (guitarist), Mackaz (bassist), and Sassy (drummer and also was the band leader of High and Mighty Color). Tanaka also writes for INKT under the name “KOKI.”

    Ueda Tatsuya
    Ueda Tatsuya was the “U” of KAT-TUN. Aside from being a Johnny’s idol, he is also a singer-songwriter and a TV host. Ueda joined Johnny & Associates in the year 1998. After Tanaka’s departure from the group, however, Ueda took the “T” of KAT-TUN for his name “Tatsuya.”

    Ueda is a huge fan of boxing and he also has an interest in track and field. Just like Akanishi Jin, he also had a solo tour called “Mouse Peace” in Japan.

    Ueda starred in his first stage play, Romeo & Juliet. He also starred in drama series such as Konkatsu! (婚カツ!), Runaways: For Your Love (ランナウェイ〜愛する君のために) and Boys on the Run (ボーイズ・オン・ザ・ラン).

    Nakamaru Yuichi
    Nakamaru Yuichi is the “N” of KAT-TUN. Nakamaru joined Johnny & Associates in the year 1998. Aside from being an idol, he is also a known commentator and host for his segment “Sunday Countdown Show Shuuichi (SUNDAY COUNTDOWN SHOW シューイチ)” on NTV channel.

    Nakamaru is known for his beatboxing skills which he incorporates in some KAT-TUN songs. He even shows it during their live concerts! Aside from beatboxing, he also writes for KAT-TUN.

    Nakamaru also finished a degree at Waseda University (早稲田大学). He majored in Human Environmental Sciences and graduated last March 2013.

    Over the Years

    KAT-TUN’s Major Debut in March 2006

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    After being a Johnny’s Jr. group for five years, KAT-TUN had their official major debut on March 22, 2006! They consecutively released a single called “Real Face,” a best album called “Best of KAT-TUN,” and a DVD called “Real Face Film.” These were released under their own label called J-One Records. The unit also had a nationwide tour called “Live of KAT-TUN Real Face” in support of their releases.

    Within the first week of release, all three releases topped the Oricon Charts! Their single, “Real Face,” was the highest-selling single for the year 2006 since it managed to sell over a million copies in just nine weeks! After four months of being a debuted group, KAT-TUN released another brand new single called “Signal” sometime in July 2006.

    In spite of being at the peak of their career, Akanishi Jin decided to temporarily leave the group to study linguistics in the United States. The remaining five members continued their idol activities as a group and released their third single entitled “Bokura no Machi de” for Kamenashi Kazuya and Tanaka Koki’s drama called Love of my Life.

    “Cartoon KAT-TUN II You” in 2007

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    KAT-TUN was indeed on a roll since they released their second album, “Cartoon KAT-TUN II You,” in their second year of being a debuted group! In support of the album, the group again had a nationwide tour called “Tour 2007 Cartoon KAT-TUN II You.” During their tour in Sendai (仙台), Akanishi Jin officially returned to the group and resumed his activities as part of KAT-TUN.

    Not long after, KAT-TUN released their fourth single entitled “Yorokobi no Uta” which was used as a theme for Tanaka Koki’s drama, Tanaka Express 3. There was no stopping KAT-TUN as they released their fifth single, “Keep The Faith,” in the same year. The song was used as a theme for Akanishi Jin and Taguchi Junnosuke’s drama called Yukan Club.

    “Cartoon KAT-TUN” Variety Show

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    Did you know that KAT-TUN used to host their very own variety show? The show was called “Cartoon KAT-TUN.” It started airing in April 2007 and ended in March 2010. Cartoon KAT-TUN aired every Wednesday midnights on NTV Japan. The first theme song of the show was “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne. They even had her as a guest in one of the earlier episodes of the show.

    There were seven segments for the first season of Cartoon KAT-TUN. These are “100Q,” “Mini Stage,” “DAT-TUN5,” “Half and Half,” “Smile Athlete No. 1 Decision Battle,” “Dangerous Present Exchange,” and “♥disk.” The main segment of the first season was “100Q” wherein guests fill out a questionnaire with 100 questions before the show. The questions are seen in a rotating ring in the TV screen. KAT-TUN members simply hit the ring when a question intrigues them.

    “Mini Stage” is when KAT-TUN performs their latest song. “DAT-TUN5” is a bingo darts game wherein the guest should be able to complete a row of five darts. The guests receive a gold dart if they win. They will receive a punishment if not.

    “Smile Athlete No. 1 Decision Battle” is a segment wherein KAT-TUN receives their punishment if they lose the DAT-TUN5 game. The game is simple – the members should always smile. If they lose, they will be strapped to a board with multiple hands that will tickle them.

    “Dangerous Present Exchange” is a segment wherein KAT-TUN pretends to be smuggling goods with their guests. The goods are custom-made by both KAT-TUN and their guests. And finally, “♥disk” is a segment wherein KAT-TUN invites guests to talk about their favorite songs.

    The first season ended after 60 episodes and the second season was revamped. It was all about seeking what love truly means for the members of KAT-TUN. While for the third season, KAT-TUN members went to different places to learn what life truly means for them.

    “Queen of Pirates” in 2008

    On June 4, 2008, KAT-TUN released their third album called “KAT-TUN III: Queen of Pirates.” The album contains fifteen songs which KAT-TUN were not involved in writing except for Tanaka Koki’s rap verses. A bonus song entitled “Six Senses” was also included on the album. It is a song that KAT-TUN has been performing since their Johnny’s Jr. days.

    “Break the Records: By You & for You” in 2009

    As a yearly tradition, KAT-TUN released another album in early 2009. “Break the Records: By You & for You” is an album that contains fifteen songs. KAT-TUN’s singles such as “Don’t U Ever Stop,” “White X’mas,” “One Drop,” and “Rescue” are part of this fourth album.

    KAT-TUN Minus Akanishi Jin in 2010

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    KAT-TUN revealed in 2010 that they will embark on an Asian Tour. They visited countries such as South Korea and Taiwan. They were also supposed to visit Thailand but it was canceled due to the political unrest in the said country at the time. Akanishi Jin didn’t participate in the tour since he opted to have a solo tour in the United States instead.

    KAT-TUN also recorded their fifth album “No More Pain” without Akanishi in 2010. This was also the year that Johnny & Associates revealed that Akanishi will leave KAT-TUN for good and would pursue a solo career instead. KAT-TUN then continued as a five-member group.

    “Chain” in 2012

    “Chain” is KAT-TUN’s sixth album which was released in early 2012. This album contains 5 single tracks, 7 new songs, and 5 solo songs of the members.

    Around the same time, KAT-TUN also endorsed a mobile game site called “entag!” The mobile game site used KAT-TUN’s song entitled “Smile for You” as a commercial song.

    Also in the year 2012, KAT-TUN released an animation called “Ai wa KAT-TUN” which was launched on the site of “entag!” for a limited time. They voice acted for the anime characters in the said animation.

    KAT-TUN as a Four-Member Group
    Unfortunately, KAT-TUN loses another member in 2013. According to Johnny & Associates, Tanaka Koki violated his contract with the agency. Thus, he was terminated, leaving KAT-TUN as a four-piece band. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop KAT-TUN as they still continued their activities as a Johnny’s Idol group.

    “come Here” in 2014

    KAT-TUN’s come Here is their seventh full-length album. This album contains their released singles such as To the Limit, Fumetsu no Scrum, Expose, and Face to Face. It also contains four solo songs for each member and eight new songs. The album was already done even before Tanaka Koki’s departure, however, the songs were rearranged to exclude his parts.

    “come Here” is stylized as such to emphasize the letter “H” which stands for “Hyphens” and that the concerts are their “Home.”

    KAT-TUN Continuing With Three Members and Their “Re-Charging” Period

    Regrettably, KAT-TUN loses another member for the third time. It was revealed in NTV Best Artist on November 24, 2015 that Taguchi Junnosuke will leave the group and Johnny & Associates for personal reasons. Before completely leaving the group in spring 2016, Taguchi still participated in KAT-TUN singles, “Tragedy” and “Unlock.”

    Also in 2016, KAT-TUN celebrated their 10th year anniversary on March 22. They released another best album called “KAT-TUN 10TH ANNIVERSARY BEST ’10Ks!’” and also had a tour to celebrate their debut anniversary. KAT-TUN also announced that they will undergo a temporary hiatus in which they called “re-charging period.”

    KAT-TUN’s “10Ks!” Concert Viewing in Manila, Philippines

    In Manila, Philippines, the local street team for KAT-TUN, Hyphens Philippines, organized a concert DVD viewing event for the Filipino Hyphens last August 2016. About 35 Filipino Hyphens gathered together to watch KAT-TUN’s latest DVD concert called “KAT-TUN 10th Anniversary Live Tour ’10Ks!’”

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    Author’s photo

    All the Filipino Hyphens who joined the viewing were touched by the current members of KAT-TUN. The fans were screaming at the top of their lungs when KAT-TUN opened their concert with their “Best of KAT-TUN” song called “Gold.”

    Before the concert ended, Kamenashi Kazuya mentioned all the members comprising KAT-TUN including Akanishi Jin, Taguchi Junnosuke, and Tanaka Koki. All the Hyphens, including the fans in the concert itself, felt very touched hearing Kamenashi’s speech.

    What do I think of the current KAT-TUN?

    KAT-TUN really had come a long way. They may have lost members thrice but that didn’t stop them from being a brave and strong group. Although they are currently resting now, the members are still active in their Johnny’s web (an online blog run by Johnny’s idols) and solo activities outside KAT-TUN.

    Ueda Tatsuya once said in a television show that he cherishes the KAT-TUN now. He was in tears when he shared his sentiments. According to Ueda, he often fought with the members during their earlier days in KAT-TUN since he saw them as rivals. However, now, he thinks of the current members as comrades.

    KAT-TUN fans, the Hyphens, are patiently waiting for their return. The Hyphens believe that they will come back again as a group and will continue.

    KAT-TUN’s Website

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