Not since Tiffany vs. Debbie Gibson has such a musical rivalry been so much fun! Since SixTONES recently released their 9th single and Snow Man has announced their 3rd studio album (they released their 8th single a few weeks ago), a little musical timeline would be a fun way to celebrate these two incredibly popular groups. 

Picture it! Tokyo, 2019 – 8 August, to be exact. The Johnny’s Jr. 8.8 Festival at the Tokyo Dome, packed with 55,000 screaming fans enjoying performances by groups like Travis Japan, Naniwa Danshi, 7 MEN 侍 (Samurai), Ae! group, and of course, Snow Man and SixTONES. It’s a performance of mixed emotions. The loss of the company’s founder, Johnny Kitagawa, who passed away a month prior, is still felt in the hearts of both the crowd and the entertainers. But in typical Johnny & Associates fashion, every single group does their best and performs with the spectacle and panache that most certainly had their leader smiling down on them. 

Then, history was made.

he fact that SixTONES would be announcing their debut at the concert was one of the best worst-kept secrets in the Japanese entertainment industry. Everyone knew it was going to happen. Since their (official) formation in 2015, the group had been marching to their own beat and were so hot fans were sopping them up with a mop (and often needed one for themselves). 

But what fans didn’t expect, and the true secret of the event, was that Snow Man would also be announcing their debut. The crowd went wild, and screams of excitement filled the dome. While Jesse and Hikaru Iwamoto, the two leaders of the group, tried to stand strong and proud in the announcement, other members of the group openly wept.

Snow Man, which up until a few months prior had been a six-member group, was still acclimating to their three newest members, Meguro Ren, Mukai Koji, and the group’s youngest member (who would become its center), Raul. Added during the rehearsals for that year’s Takizawa Kabuki ZERO stage showcase, the nine men had formed an unshakable bond.

Never in the history of Johnny & Associates had two groups shared a simultaneous debut – and this was only the beginning. SixTONES was signed to Sony Music while Snow Man would be under contract at pan-Asian music label avex entertainment. The board was set, and the pieces were ready to play.

On 22 January 2020, the groups simultaneously released their debut singles. Snow Man released D.D., which would become the best-selling debut in Asian music history.

SixTONES debuted with “Imitation Rain” selling 772,902 CD copies on the first day, while eventually crossing one million and topping the Oricon Chart.

The event SixTONES vs. Snow Man was a genius marketing scheme, because each group was a part of the other’s success as each group’s main song was included on the other’s single.

SixTONES second single “Navigator” was the opening theme to the anime The Millionaire Detective Balance: Unlimited.

Snow Man’s second single “Stories” (a double-A side with their first English language track KISSIN’ MY LIPS) was used as the 11th opening theme  for anime series Black Clover.

SixTONES’ third single, “New Era,” was featured as the opening for the anime series Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon.

Snow Man’s third single, “Grandeur,” became the thirteenth opening theme to Black Cover.

SixTONES’ fourth single, “Boku ga Boku Janai Mitai da” (eng: “It’s Like I’m Not Me”), was the theme to the film Liar x Liar – which starred group member Hokuto Matsumura. 

Snow Man’s fourth single, “HELLO HELLO” was the theme to the film Honey Lemon Soda which starred group member Raul.

“Rosey,” the lead single to SixTONES’ second album City, was used as the theme song for the Japanese dub version of Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Snow Man’s fifth single, “Secret Touch,” became the theme of the Saturday night romantic dramedy Kieta Hatsukoi (English: My Love Mix Up), which starred group member Ren Meguro

SixTONES’ sixth single, “Kyōmei” (eng: “Resonance”), became the second theme to Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon.

Snow Man’s sixth single “Brother Beat” was used as the theme to the psychedelic comedy film Mr. Osomatu. Based on the popular anime, the film starred all nine members of the group. (personal note: It’s a trip).

SixTONES seventh single, “Watashi,” (eng: “Me”) was the Insert song for the TV drama Who Needs True Love?

Snow Man’s seventh singleOrenji kiss” (eng: “Orange kiss“) was the main theme for live action movie My Boyfriend in Orange, a romantic comedy that starred group leader Hikaru Iwamoto as a hunky firefighter.

But the fun didn’t stop with music videos. The “rivalry” has played into other aspects of the groups’ careers, including endorsements. While Snow Man are ambassadors for Puma.

SixTONES are rockin’ the Reeboks.

When SixTONES are jamming out with the incredible sound quality of their Sony LinkBuds S earbuds.

Snow Man is looking dapper AF with the help of Tiffany & Co.

On 15 April SixTONES kicked off their first Dome tour* Snow Man will do the same on 26 May to celebrate the release of their third studio album i DO ME.

While group leaders Jesse and Iwamoto play off the rivalry, in reality they actually seem pretty close- as do all the members of both groups.

Leaders Jesse (SixTONES) and Hikaru (Snow Man) Best Frenemies

The electricity of the two group’s youthful energy, incredibly different musicality, and incredible talent give each one of them something unique.

So, while I will always be team Tiffany, I can’t choose between these two groups. Even though they’re both under the same agency, they are so different. So I will ways be a SixTONES Snow Man. SixMan? SnowTones?

You get what I mean… There will be more on these incredible groups soon, so…

Stay Tuned!

* A Dome is Japan’s largest concert venues – equivalent to a stadium tour in the states.