: October 16, 2008]
You just got into NEWS or Kanjani8 and came across this huge debate over some dude who was suspended like... well, before you got into fandom anyway. Who the hell is this guy? What did he do? Why should you even care? I have your answers right here... Once upon a time...
Uchi joined Johnnys in 1999 and became one of the more popular juniors of the Kansai branch. He really fit in the same category as the popular juniors from Tokyo but did do a lot of stuff with the Kansai juniors. He was part of a unit called V.West with some of the current members of Kanjani8. Once the Kansai juniors got some of their own air time, Uchi kind of seemed out of place. As if he didn't want to be there. Things started changing for him once NEWS was debuted and later on Kanjani8. Even though Yamapi is undoubtedly the most popular in NEWS and Ryo in Kanjani8, Uchi still had a pretty good sized fanbase. He took on several drama roles and had quite a few solos. In 2005, Uchi was caught drinking in public under the legal drinking age (which is 20 in Japan.) He was put on suspension from both NEWS and Kanjani8 in the middle of filming for a drama (he was replaced by Junnosuke Taguchi from KAT-TUN.)
His suspension is probably what makes him more legendary than anything he actually did as an active member of either groups. During his suspension, he still kept in contact with Johnnys but was not allowed to be mentioned on nikkis or interviews, etc. Kanjani8 dealt with the loss of their beloved member by leaving open spaces in photo shoots or incorporating pink (Uchi's designated color) into whatever they were working on. NEWS didn't really do anything like this and you can't really blame them. Kanjani8 members had been working with each other for several years before their group debut and were much, much closer.
In 2007, shortly after the redebut of NEWS, it was announced that Uchi and fellow NEWS member Hironori Kusano would return to work as "trainees" in Shounentai's annual musical. In 2008, both were graduated from that status and allowed to pursue solo activities. Uchi has done one mini-drama and one full drama, both in starring roles, so far in 2008. There has been no mention of Uchi returning to either Kanjani8 or NEWS but both groups have stated they would wait for his return and support him in his activities. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the flailiest one of all? Drama roles
Boku no Ikiru Michi
Isshun no Kaze ni Nare
|Mori Katsumi |
*- only appeared in first two episodes due to suspension. Links out Kanjani8 entry NEWS entry