J-pop duo Tackey & Tsubasa under Johnny’s Entertainment will part ways 17 years together. The pair, comprising Hideaki Takizawa and Imai Tsubasa, debuted with album Hatachi in 2001 after being trainees in the company since a young age.

It was recently announced that Hideaki – better known as Takki to fans – would be taking over the reins at Johnny’s Entertainment following the retirement of its founder, Johnny Kitagawa.

How It Came To Be

For the past few years, words of internal conflict between two potential successors, Johnny’s niece Julie Fujishima and SMAP’s manager Michi Iijima, were rampant, and this purportedly caused a divide within the agency and eventually led to SMAP’s break-up and departure of three of their members from the agency.

But it seems like neither of the two would be taking over, as Johnny has named Takki as his successor. And his appointment is well-deserved, considering the 36-year-old is well-liked by both his seniors and juniors alike and has proven his abilities through the years.

The Beginnings

Takki has been with the company since 1995. At one point, he became the leader of the trainees under the company, known as Johnny’s Juniors. When Takki appeared on TV show Shonen Club Premium, KAT-TUN’s Yuichi Nakamaru said to him, “My impression of Takizawa is, ever since you were a junior, you contributed ideas to the adults to create for concerts and all.”

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Takki replied, “I wanted to do not what the staff decided for us, but what we decided for ourselves. I’ve always been conscious of that.”

His determination was further proven by the fact that he prepared the hand shadow puppetry segment in Takizawa Kabuki in just 30 minutes during rehearsals the day before the opening show at the request of Johnny.

He was reportedly set to debut as a solo artiste, but went up to Johnny to request to debut with Tsubasa instead. The two are known to be good friends since they were young.

Before he debuted as a part of Tackey & Tsubasa, Takki showed off his acting skills in various dramas, including the popular Forbidden Love. So it wasn’t surprising, then, that he had a solid fanbase even before making his official debut.

Apart from having singing, dancing and acting chops, Takki was also a songwriter and stage producer, a testament to his talents.

The Future

In his new role, Takki will be taking on the role of a producer, including producing stage productions, concerts and training talents – in the same way that Johnny did. He is reportedly slated to take over as the president of the company, although this has not been confirmed by the company.

He will be retiring from entertainment activities by the end of this year. Most recently, he released a song as a duo with V6’s Ken Miyake.

Tsubasa, on the other hand, will be leaving Johnny’s Entertainment, 23 years after joining the agency. The duo has been on hiatus since 2013 due to  differences in directions of activities, as well as Tsubasa’s health problems concerning his inner ear. After his departure, he’ll be focusing on recovery. But that doesn’t mean that’s the last you’ll see of him, as he didn’t rule out the possibility of returning to the entertainment scene.

Image: Saranya Mahendran / The New Paper