Who is JO1? A Guide to Knowing the Popular Japanese Boy Band [英文記事]

JO1

Produce 101 Japan season 2 is currently being televised while withstanding the Coronavirus pandemic. The 11 finalists of Produce 101 Japan season 1, broadcasted in 2019, became the boy group, JO1. They are currently under LAPONE Entertainment, which is a company created from the collaboration of CJ E&M and Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings.

After multiple missions and evaluations, the final 11 members of Produce 101 Japan season 1 were announced: Yonashiro Sho, Kawashiri Ren, Shiroiwa Ruki, Kono Junki, Sato Keigo, Kawanishi Takumi, Kimata Syoya, Ohira Shosei, Kinjo Sukai, Tsurubo Shion, and Mamehara Issei. Unlike the groups that debuted under South Korea’s Produce 101, JO1 is a permanent group. Following their debut on March 4th, 2020, with their single “Prostar,” they have released two singles, including “Challenger,” which they released recently on April 28th, 2021, and one studio album. They have quickly risen in popularity and have successfully won awards such as the Best New Asian Artist Award from the 2020 MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Awards) and the Rising Star Award from the 2020 MTV VTAJ (Video Music Awards Japan). Their fandom name is “JAM,” which stands for “JO1 and ME.

JO1

JO1

Yonashiro Sho (與那城 奨)

Yonashiro Sho

Yonashiro Sho

  • Birthday: October 25th, 1995
  • Origin: Okinawa Prefecture
  • Position: Leader, main vocalist
  • Color: Green
  • Final Ranking: 11th

Yonashiro Sho is the eldest and the leader of JO1. He is well-known for loving to exercise and having a lot of muscles, especially his toned six-pack. Although he might look the toughest, he is seen as the gentle “mother” of the group because he loves to take care of others and is very mature. The members can also easily rely on him with his calm personality and good talking skills.

Before auditioning for Produce 101 Japan, Sho moved to Tokyo from Okinawa to study at university. He was a student in management in hopes of becoming a self-producer. Aside from his studies, he was actively pursuing his dream of becoming a singer. Some of his past videos of his singing can be found on YouTube. He is said to have learned how to sing by himself without any professional help. He also did not have experience dancing before Produce 101.

On top of singing, he can play the acoustic guitar. He can also have everyday conversations in English.

Kawashiri Ren (川尻 蓮)

Kawashiri Ren

Kawashiri Ren

  • Birthday: March 2nd, 1997
  • Origin: Fukuoka Prefecture
  • Position: Main dancer, lead vocalist, rapper
  • Color: Blue
  • Final Ranking: 2nd

As an ex-professional backup dancer, Kawashiri Ren has a lot of experience dancing with Seventeen, Wanna One, SMAP, and Tomohisa Yamashita. However, he did not want to spend his life only as a backup dancer, so he joined Produce 101 Japan.

In Produce 101, he was known as “King Ren” because of his superb dancing skills and was chosen by other trainees to be the center for many performances, including the theme song “TSUKAME ~It’s Coming~.” He also was a dance instructor, so he often strictly assists JO1 during their dance lessons as a dance leader. On the other hand, he had no prior singing experience, so he seemed to have struggled with that during Produce 101.

However, his sharp image as a dancer contrasts his personality. Ren is known to have a very bright character and laughs a lot. He has also shown talent in quiz shows. He likes to play games and do magic tricks during his free time as well.

Shiroiwa Ruki (白岩 瑠姫)

Shiroiwa Ruki

Shiroiwa Ruki

  • Birthday: November 19th, 1997
  • Origin: Tokyo
  • Position: Vocalist, rapper
  • Color: White
  • Final Ranking: 6th

Shiroiwa Ruki followed his dream of becoming an idol as early as elementary school. He was a part of Johnnys’ Jr., under a famous company called Johnny’s Entertainment for young Japanese male idol trainees. He was also a member of an underground idol group. However, Produce 101 Japan was his last chance to become an idol. Since he had been training for a long time, though, he was able to steal a lot of hearts with his refined performance skills.

Ruki is called “prince” by many fans for his looks and because he is seen as the ultimate idol. He is also always very calm and composed. He gets shy when meeting new people, but other members say he is amusing and talks a lot, which may be a side that he has not shown fans yet. He is also famous for showing plenty of love towards the fandom, JAMs.

Despite his princelike features, he has a childish side like his fear of bugs and loving foods that children would like, which are also his charms.

Kono Junki (河野 純喜)

Kono Junki

Kono Junki

  • Birthday: January 20th, 1998
  • Origin: Nara Prefecture
  • Position: Main vocalist
  • Color: Light blue
  • Final Ranking: 9th

Kono Junki is well-known as being the mood-maker of JO1 from his bright and straightforward personality, as well as his loud voice. He was also chosen as being the most perfect boyfriend material by the other members. By the younger members, he is seen as a big-brotherly figure.

Recently, he has been appearing in the popular YouTube series “THE FIRST TAKE.” In these solo videos, Junki showcases his raw, powerful vocals by singing songs in one take.

Even though Junki is one of the members with the best vocals, he had no prior professional experience singing and dancing. Before joining Produce 101 Japan, he was a student from a prestigious university in the middle of job hunting. The more he practiced, though, he was able to show his speedy improvement. He also loves to work out and play soccer, so his great reflexes may have contributed to his dancing skills, which he was struggling with mainly. His other skills include speaking English and making Disney impressions.

Sato Keigo (佐藤 景瑚)

Sato Keigo

Sato Keigo

  • Birthday: July 29th, 1998
  • Origin: Aichi Prefecture
  • Position: Lead dancer, lead vocalist, rapper
  • Color: Caramel
  • Final Ranking: 7th

Sato Keigo is most commonly described as having a cool and mysterious personality. He frequently mentions his lack of variety in his vocabulary, so he may not be the most talkative, but his silly and unique character generates many laughs, making him one of the funniest members of JO1. Although he has an unexpected side, Keigo is also very kind and gentle, so he is seen as a motherly figure by others.

Keigo originally dreamed of becoming a hairdresser, but he decided to audition for Produce 101 Japan instead. He was once a trainee at EXPG (EXILE PROFESSIONAL GYM) at Nagoya. He has experience modeling and is also known for having a good sense of style because of his choice of clothing and slender figure. His refined visuals are a perfect match for idol makeup, and he is a well-rounded member in dancing, singing, and rapping.

His hobbies include playing games such as billiards and bowling, as well as drawing illustrations.

Kawanishi Takumi (川西 拓実)

Kawanishi Takumi

Kawanishi Takumi

  • Birthday: June 23rd, 1999
  • Origin: Hyōgo Prefecture
  • Position: Lead Dancer, Lead Vocalist
  • Color: Pink
  • Final Ranking: 3rd

Even though Kawanishi Takumi was already building a career by working at a company, he decided to audition for Produce 101 Japan to pursue his long-lived dream of becoming an idol. Like some of the other members, he had no experience dancing and singing professionally, but he was placed in the highest A rank in the television program with great potential. One of his biggest strengths was his expressions during performing. In Produce 101, the other trainees voted for him as the trainee with the best visuals.

Takumi is very dedicated to anything he is passionate about, which is a part of his overflowing star quality. Among the JO1 members, he can be very dependent on others and a little goofy, so his nickname is “princess.” He also loves to keep everything clean such as his room.

When he was in high school, Takumi was the head of the baseball team. He has shown his talent in numerous variety programs. He can also beatbox and do handsprings. During his free time, he likes watching movies.

Kimata Syoya (木全 翔也)

Kimata Syoya

Kimata Syoya

  • Birthday: April 5th, 2000
  • Origin: Aichi Prefecture
  • Position: Lead dancer, lead rapper, vocalist
  • Color: Light purple
  • Final Ranking: 8th

Kimata Syoya is best known for his duality on and off stage. Similar to Keigo, he is silly and has a unique, mysterious personality. He is also very fashionable and likes makeup and skincare. Before joining Produce 101 Japan, he was attending a university focused on clothing and accessories. Sometimes he does the other members’ makeup as well. Like this, he is very caring, as he tends to put others before himself. On the other hand, when he is up on stage, he is an entirely different person with a different aura.

When he was younger, Syoya attended classes at a dance school in Nagoya called Funk Kid. This school is notable for having alumni that became professional stage actors and idols. Although Syoya also wanted to become an idol, he was embarrassed to say it out loud. In JO1, he is mainly in charge of dancing and rapping, but he originally wanted to sing.

He has many hobbies, including riding the bike, drawing, watching movies, eating, swimming, and playing soccer.

Ohira Shosei (大平 祥生)

Ohira Shosei

Ohira Shosei

  • Birthday: April 13th, 2000
  • Origin: Kyoto Prefecture
  • Position: Lead dancer, vocalist, rapper
  • Color: Yellow
  • Final Ranking: 4th

Ohira Shosei’s nickname is “Angel.” By the other members, he is like a little brother and is loved by his older brothers. His innocent-looking visuals with his gentle way of talking contrasts the way he performs on stage. He can be very manly and powerful or sweet and soft according to the mood of the song.

Like Keigo, Shosei was also a trainee at EXPG, but he was based in Kyoto. At EXPG, he was in a unit called EXPG SWORD, and he did dance performances using a samurai sword. With his passion for dancing, he once studied dancing in America when he was in high school. Since he never really got a chance to debut as an idol, he saw Produce 101 Japan as his last opportunity.

Shosei loves filming and editing videos, as well as watching films. He is also interested in makeup and skincare. Even during JO1’s busy schedule, he makes sure to keep up with his skincare routine to maintain his clear skin.

Kinjo Sukai (金城 碧海)

Kinjo Sukai

Kinjo Sukai

  • Birthday: May 6th, 2000
  • Origin: Osaka Prefecture
  • Position: Lead vocalist, rapper
  • Color: Black
  • Final Ranking: 10th

Kinjo Sukai is a member who is usually very calm and maintains a poker face. However, behind his poker face, he is known to be very passionate and charming. Although he is one of the younger members in JO1, his companionship and ability to say his advice even to those older than him make him very mature. The kanji characters for Sukai means “blue sea,” and his parents apparently named him after thinking of the scenery of Okinawa where they are from.

As someone who finished his education and was already working, Sukai is another member who did not have any experience dancing or singing. He struggled in Produce 101 Japan by starting off in the F rank. In spite of this, he improved and continues to improve his dancing by having support from his karate skills and singing with his appealing low, husky tone.

Sukai’s other skills are playing ball games and walking along the beach. In his free time, he likes to watch movies and listen to music.

Tsurubo Shion (鶴房 汐恩)

Tsurubo Shion

Tsurubo Shion

  • Birthday: December 11th, 2000
  • Origin: Shiga Prefecture
  • Position: Main rapper
  • Color: Gray
  • Final Ranking: 5th

When he was a high schooler, Tsurubo Shion was scouted and became a trainee under FNC Entertainment, a Korean company that debuted groups like SF9 and AOA. Although he trained in Korea after quitting high school, he was unable to debut. By continuing to chase his dreams of debuting as an idol, he decided to audition for Produce 101 Japan.

Shion’s cool aura and low rapping voice are some of his charms. His energetic and powerful dancing is also another distinctive feature. Although he may seem to be boyish and have a serious personality, he also has a very soft side, like when he cried with trainees eliminated from Produce 101 or when he shows a lot of affection for his family.

Shion had been a swimmer for around 10 years. His other hobbies are mostly music-related, like singing, listening to music, and dancing, but he also loves to play video games. He can also speak basic Korean from training in Korea.

Mamehara Issei (豆原 一成)

Mamehara Issei

Mamehara Issei

  • Birthday: May 30th, 2002
  • Origin: Okayama Prefecture
  • Position: Center, main dancer, lead rapper, vocalist, youngest
  • Color: Red
  • Final Ranking: 1st

As the youngest in the group, Mamehara Issei is treated lovingly as the youngest brother by the other members. His nickname is “Mame,” which means “beans” in Japanese. On the other hand, he also has a great strength of character and a highly competitive spirit.

Issei always dreamt of becoming an idol, and Produce 101 Japan was his first step towards debut. However, he had been dancing ever since he was three years old and even became a dance instructor when he was only in high school. He also uploaded some dance videos on TikTok before joining Produce 101. Therefore, his dancing skills had been especially pronounced during his appearance in the television program. As the center of JO1, he is a versatile member who frequently shows his rapping and singing skills.

Issei’s specialty is 90’s hip-hop dancing, but his other hobbies are playing baseball and swimming. He has recently shown talent in acting, as he appeared in the movie “Hankei Ichi Me-toru No Kimi ~Ue Wo Muite Arukou~” in 2021.

 

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