On Yamate-dori not far from Nakameguro Station stands a structure that is now building a bad reputation. Just behind the main street is a quiet, upscale residential area.
What Shukan Post’s reporter saw there was a group of young men dressed in what would be described as "typical" to that particular type of group -- with a dark tan, wearing dark glasses and wide pants. The young men in their early 20s were talking loudly, cracking jokes and seemingly just hanging out. One smoker dropped a cigarette butt to the asphalt, stepped on it and left it there.
The location happens to be the Tokyo branch of “EXPG" (EXILE Professional Gym), a dance school produced by the popular band and dance performance group EXILE. There are six schools across the country, where children and youngsters who hope to become professional dancers one day are enrolled.
The training school for future EXILE members is enjoying great success as a business but quickly becoming a headache for the residents in the area who are disgusted with the behavior of the school’s students. A woman living in the neighborhood comments, “It’s a bit intimidating when there are so many young boys gathering in a group outside my home. There are cigarette butts thrown everywhere, empty cans and bottles left behind. It really is a nuisance.”
Such behavior does not seem to be limited to the young students. According to a self-employed man running a business in the vicinity, “Cars driven by parents sending or picking up their children make a long line on the road, blocking the street-parking lots, extending to the doorway of houses and stores as well. I’m at a point where I feel like I could shout at them to move their cars elsewhere, but of course I can’t. One look at the parents and you see they’re all dressed up like EXILE members. But I heard that some of the neighbors have started to file complaints to the school.”
Last year the group even performed before Emperor Akihito to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his coronation. In recent years, the group has also been engaged in various charity activities.
But will the poor manners of the students affect the image of the pop group?
Shukan Post reported various complaints heard in the area to the staff at EXILE’s agency involved in the management of the school. Said one representative, “We deeply regret the inconvenience caused and offer our apologies to the residents in this neighborhood. The school aims to be a place of training in character building, including common courtesy. We accept with sincerity the complaints that have been made, and promise to address the matter appropriately.”© Japan Today