Johnnys Jimusho Insane Compromise on Web Photo Usage

Roses to our editor Matt Treyvaud for this nugget of info, but he demanded that I type it up due to my past obsession with similar topics:

ジャニーズタレントの写真 亀梨ら「ネット解禁」の裏事情

Many people are starting to notice that Johnny’s Jimusho maintains a bewilderingly-unfriendly attitude towards media companies’ usage of its star talents’ images online. (An example here.) Basically, Johnny’s Jimusho makes a lot of money selling official pictures of its boy stars as 3″x5″ photos (“bromides”) and is super paranoid that kids may print out pics on the web for their walls and collections, thus instantly destroying the entire monopoly boy band market. So we have this bizarre situation where Johnny’s tarento are represented photographically in television shows, but cannot be represented photographically on the show’s website. As we know, the internet in Japan is dangerous and must be approached with utmost caution. (I recommend that newspapers do not start their own websites: band together with two others and give it a shot. But avoid RSS!)

Enter an unlikely compromise: Johnny’s has decided it’s okay to allow “photograph-like pictures” for website promotion. (Johnny Kitagawa is most likely a big fan of Chuck Close.) But oddly, these “photograph-like pictures” tend to look exactly like a first-grader’s experiment with Adobe Photoshop filters. Check out the guy at the bottom right in this show promo shot. Maybe the storyline concerns a fresh-face youth discriminated against after a sudden bout of Low-Rez Syndrome (aka Sudden Pixilation Affliction).

Another silly example: the TBS drama Sasaki Fusai. Koyuki is looking okay, but Inagaki Goro’s got the low-rez blues.

My advice for Johnny’s: buy a printer, try to print out any normal web-ready 72 dpi image, and then bask in the terrible quality of the printing. The entire Japanese entertainment industry thinks computers can do what they do in this scene from Pretty in Pink. Sometimes we think tactical brilliance is behind iron fist tactics, but in this case, seems like it’s just paranoia born from gross ignorance.

W. David MARX
February 4, 2008

4 Responses

  1. Joseph K Says:

    Even if I wasn’t obsessed, but merely wanted to print out my own version of either of those shots, I would just whip out my trusty standard-issue 5+ megapixel digital camera, walk into any major train station, and snap a close up shot of the poster.
    What with printers here coming standard with card readers or other print-direct-from-camera features, I’d have a nice glossy picture to put up on my wall – all proceeds to my favourite electronic goods manufacturer, of course!

    So yes, I completely agree with your last sentence.

  2. W. David MARX Says:

    I think if you really cared about bootlegging your own Johnny’s Images, you are not sitting around waiting for Johnny’s to finally crack on normal web usage. There are plenty of other ways to avoid buying bromides.

  3. nate Says:

    The mini-mosaic’d images are pretty hilarious though.
    Poor adult boy idols living semi-pixelated lives.

    I liked that the mask was applied to their whole body, not just their faces. Like a total malaise.

  4. Hidari-no Ji Says:

    On the Hachimitsu to Clover page, it seems more like an understandably bewildered graphic artist was trying to reduce the impact of an arbitrarily obscured character by similarly treating the background and the other actors’ bodies.

    Which gives me an idea… Perhaps in the future we will see more creative solutions, such as conveniently placed frosted windows, flowerpots, extended limbs, flagpoles and the like. If they’re only peering out past or through some other person or object, is that enough to allay JJ’s paranoia, I wonder?