YouTube Group Com. Making Splash with About 4 Million Subscribers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Front row from left: Amugiri, Yuta; back row from left: Hyuga, Yamato, Yuma

“We’re Com.!!”

Com. (pronounced “com dot”) is a team of five video creators who are enjoying enormous popularity, with about 4 million people subscribing to their YouTube channel. Later this month, they will appear alongside many mega popular YouTubers in an event at Tokyo Dome, for which they are the general producers.

Now let’s look back at their road to success and see what their goals are.

In December 2020, the number of Com. subscribers hit the 500,000 mark. The following day, Yamato, the group’s leader, tweeted:

“Battle declaration / To all YouTubers / Com. is coming so get out of the way / We will conquer Japan.”

His aggressive words came under fire as they invited resentment from established YouTubers. However, it led to even more people subscribing to Com.

The group started posting videos on YouTube in October 2018, with the slogans, “Make local vibes nationwide vibes” and “Extend afterschool hours.” Yamato can be the funny man as well as the straight man. The other members are Yuta the cool guy, Yuma the laid-back guy, Hyuga the scary but manly bloke and Amugiri, with his unique, airy-fairy demeanor. Their videos are mainly chats between the five childhood friends, who were born in 1998 or 1999 and went to the same elementary and junior high schools in Nishi-Tokyo in Tokyo. In junior high, they all belonged to the school’s basketball team.

They have posted about 1,800 videos so far, including ones about each member’s hobby and collaborations with other video creators. They take on just about any idea that occurs to them, and skillfully edit to create a fast-paced work. Nevertheless, it is not that their videos are only about longtime friends hanging out with each other. They have built a sturdy enough relationship in which they can frankly say to each other whatever they need to. That supports their YouTube activities as well.

©AbemaTV, Inc.
A promotional image for Creator Dream Fes — produced by Com.

The members all have distinctive personalities, which has helped the group ascend to the upper echelons of domestic YouTuber rankings in terms of number of subscribers. Yet rising to this level was not always smooth sailing.

When the Com. members started out, their local friends and acquaintances subscribed to the channel, but they only added up to several hundred. The members were convinced that they were entertaining and bound to succeed, yet they wondered how to increase the numbers of subscribers and views. Then they came up with these strategies: declare their numerical goals and persistently ask people to subscribe.

At that time, the most common way for YouTubers to increase subscribers to their channel was to send videos to influencers with many followers via Twitter and other social media platforms, and ask them to subscribe and publicly say nice things about the videos. Instead, Com. members went to Tokyo’s Harajuku, which is popular with young people, and canvassed people near the entrance of the fashionable Takeshita-dori street. Sometimes they did this for 10 hours straight. There were times when they were mistakenly thought to be trying to pick up women, or they were on the receiving end of verbal abuse such as, “You’re weird.” Still, their hard work paid off, and their subscribers surpassed the 10,000 mark less than six months after they started this daily routine.

They went on to further raise their profile by posting a daring video that stirred up resentment against them, then followed it up with a video in collaboration with some famous video creators to turn the tables on their image. They have also aggressively used social media, such as Twitter, TikTok and Instagram.

Fashion, TV and more

Gone are the days when video streaming was Com.’s only activity. They have established a company with Yamato as the president and expanded their activities by launching an apparel brand, publishing a photo book and appearing in fashion shows and TV programs.

They have rushed through the past 4½ years by concentrating on video shooting and editing, even missing out on sleep.

Here are what the five have to say:

“It’s been so condensed it feels like 20 years,” Hyuga said.

“There were hard times I think, but looking back, it’s just like one moment,” Yuta said.

“There hasn’t been a single day without meaning,” Yuma said.

“Before turning 18, I used to wonder who I am. Now I’ve got things I wanted to have back then,” Amugiri said.

“Now Com. is an object of admiration for people,” Yamato said with a laugh.

The group is the general producer of “Creator Dream Fes — produced by Com.” It starts at 5 p.m. on July 27 at Tokyo Dome, and they invited many other YouTube stars to participate. “Dream” is the theme for the event, which features various performances in addition to a dream-come-true project by video creators. It will be aired on Abema TV, an internet TV service.

“By showing how our own dreams came true, I hope we can give viewers courage and aspiration to start something,” Yamato said. “I hope this event will become a good opportunity for people to learn about and understand video creators, who are still not accepted as having a proper occupation or misunderstood by some people.”

A recent tweet by Yamato goes: “Act on one’s words / an unswerving will shall open the way / Com. is the time.”

Here are some of Com.’s popular videos:

1. A 2½-hour video to celebrate Com. subscribers reaching 2 million, in which the members answer various questions from viewers.

2. A video to surprise insect-lover Hyuga. Other members take Hyuga to insect hunting and delights him by expensive insects, such as beetles and stag beetles, which they secretly placed in advance.

3. A claw machine competition video in which the members are split into two groups, each paying ¥10,000 to compete at a video game arcade.