Kosé Announces Termination of Johnny’s Advertising Contract; Receives Backlash

Following a move similar to other advertisers and against the explicit wishes of the JSAVA, cosmetics maker KOSÉ Corporation announced that due to the findings of the investigation, the cosmetics maker would not be renewing any contracts or signing on new Johnny’s talent until further improvements are made within the company, and that any existing commercials with Johnny’s talent would be pulled off the air as of the 15th of September.

In addition, KOSÉ wrote

We firmly suggest that current talents and staff consider moving to another agency, or that the agency consider incorporating a completely independent organization to govern the internal affairs of the corporation.

While in a different entertainment industry this might be a reasonable suggestion, as of this article’s publishing and the best information publicly available this is not the case. Per the best article written on the particulars of the Japanese entertainment industry, the situation on the ground in Japan is quite different.

Now many stars are able to negotiate an income increase in light of greater sales, but those who cannot unfortunately are not able to move to a different management company. While stars in the United States can change their agents and personal managers at a whim, Japanese stars cannot freely move management companies. In my own survey of 1300 popular musicians between 1985 and 2004, only around two dozen changed management companies. In other words, it is not a free market where Japanese stars can look for the best management deal. It is a “closed system.”

How do the jimusho keep stars in their stables? As a way to ensure that talent do not leave for other agencies for better deals, the jimusho have informal agreements to blacklist any talent who “defect” to other companies or go independent. With each star being an “investment” — both in terms of training but also of use of the management companies’ established media and industry connections to become famous — the jimusho have an economic incentive to curb their talent’s mobility. This secures profitability for their initial investment.

While the Japanese government has taken an effort to stop such explicit efforts by companies to blacklist their leaving talent, the inverse (other agencies shying away from talents who leave) is not against the law. Due to the impact the move of such a large number of celebrities would have on the market, it is entirely possible that other agencies would want to highly discourage such mobility.

Because Japanese consumers are just as aware of the repercussions of such an action, the backlash even from non-Johnny’s fans was swift, prompting the cosmetics maker to issue an apology on the 19th.

We sincerely apologize for our words last week. We understand that from the public’s view, the statement on suggesting that talents and staff transfer to other agencies could be seen as pressure from an advertising client, and wish to clarify that this was for the sole purpose of urging Johnny’s & Associates to more promptly prepare other potential options for their talents and staff. We have no intention of forcing staff or talents to move, nor should this be taken as an order from a client.

We strongly urge the company to establish an independent governance organization or other options so that their talents and management can quickly return to regular activities.

Source: modelpress


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