Boy Band Sells Fortnite After Disgraced Member Leaves Group

Illustration for article titled Boy Band Sells iFortnite/i After Disgraced Member Leaves Group
Screenshot: Epic Games Japan

Tokio, one of Japan’s most famous boy bands, experienced a shakeup this past spring when member Tatsuya Yamaguchi was kicked out of the group, turning the five-member group into a foursome.

A scandal broke earlier this year with Yamaguchi apologizing for forcing himself on a schoolgirl at his Tokyo residence. “She probably could not decline the invitation to come over to my place, and to a minor, a male adult was probably intimidating to deal with,” Yamaguchi was quoted as saying at the time by the BBC. “An adult should be fulfilling the responsibility of a guardian, but I invited her and caused harm.”

In early May, Tokio’s agency ended Yamaguchi’s contract, and the group became a four-piece. The first commercial Tokio has done since then is a Fornite commercial.

Tokio has a history with video games. The group did ads for the Xbox 360, when Microsoft thought there was a chance the console could find mainstream success in Japan.

On Japanese bulletin board 2ch and YouTube, commenters pointed out how Yamaguchi was missing in the new Fortnite spot. “There’s an unnatural space in the lower right corner,” wrote one commenter, while another added, “Squads are four-person, right? How convenient.”

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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Whoa, Tokio is a 4-man band now?

Between this, SMAP’s disbandment, and many other younger group members leaving to pursue their careers, I guess this agency is really on their way out.

The agency’s ancient and still operates like it’s the 1980s. I feel kind of sad for these guys who are well in their 30s/40s but still being restrained like some teenagers.