entertainment

Idol group SMAP rumored to be splitting after 28 years

52 Comments

Japanese tabloid media have been speculating this week that ultra popular idol group SMAP may split up.

Four of the five members –– Masahiro Nakai, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Goro Inagaki and Shingo Katori –– are expected to leave the Johnny & Associates talent agency, while Takuya Kimura is presumed to have decided to remain, Sports Nippon reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

Johnny & Associates released an official statement Wednesday afternoon, admitting that the news reports of the group's potential split and their manager's resignation are accurate, but refused to provide any details stating that the situation is "still in the phase of negotiations."

The rumor of a split surfaced simultaneously with the sudden resignation of the group’s manager, a 58-year-old woman who has been in charge of the group almost since its formation in 1988. The manager has submitted her resignation as a president of J Dream, a Johnny & Associates affiliate company specialising in SMAP production and management, on Jan 12, which is expected to be effective from February.

According to news reports, the manager’s resignation was supported by Nakai, Kusanagi, Inagaki and Katori, who have simultaneously announced their willingness to part from the agency as well, tabloids reported. Kimura, on the contrary, has decided to remain with Johnny’s, apparently citing a feeling of indebtedness with the agency that is behind the group’s success.

The exact reason for the manager’s resignation remains secret, though speculation of continuous opposition between the manager and Julie Keiko Fujishima, the daughter of Johnny & Associates’ vice president Mary Kitagawa, over succession and operation management had been reported in the media since last year. The manager is thought to be Michi Iijima, though her name and presence have been shrouded in mystery for decades, appearing in news simply as “SMAP’s manager.”

SMAP is a name brand that had been created by Johnny Kitagawa, the owner of Johny & Associates, at the time of the group’s formation, which means that none of the guys can use the same name if they leave the agency and form a new group. In other words, leaving the agency would mean an end for SMAP in their current state.

SMAP, an acronym for Sports Music Assemble People, formed in 1988, and released their first single in 1991. The idol group is one of the most popular in Japan and Asia, entertaining fans through dancing, singing, acting, cooking and appearing regularly on TV.

© Japan Today

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52 Comments
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SMAP, an acronym for Sports Music Assemble People

A pity they didn't go for Culture Rays Assemble People instead. Also how does one member remain in a group? An interesting philosophical conundrum.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

Hallelujah!

18 ( +19 / -1 )

There is a god!

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Now just need Arashi to follow this lead.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The death of David Bowie obviously pales into insignificance compared to this announcement (not).....

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Like it matters.

Sure, split up, reunite next year or 5 years later and everyone gets paid well and sell some reunion CDs and get paid even more. They all appear individually on TV dramas or variety shows everyday anyway. Break up or stay together, what's the difference.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Members of SMAP leaving Johnny and Associates strikes me as the Japanese news equivalent of Tom Cruise or John Travolta leaving the Church of Scientology.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Indeed good news haha, indeed maybe god does exist!!!

JT come up & dig up the real dirt for us, must be earth shattering LOL!!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I say shutdown johnnys it's awful how much their garbage is being spoon fed 24/7 to the public. I turn the tv off every time when they are on a music program here just embarrassing

11 ( +11 / -0 )

dancing, singing, acting, cooking and appearing regularly on TV.

Please cross off singing. The tone deaf singing used to make me sick to my stomach.

I liked bistro smap though. Food programs rock as long as they do not scream oishi for everything, or make faces of disgust.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It's amazing that Johnny's Entertainment still thrives despite rumors of sexual harassment of young boys, while Becky's career is in danger because of rumors of an alleged affair. Just shows how powerful they really are in Japan's media industry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sudden resignation of the group’s manager, a 58-year-old woman who has been in charge of the group almost since its formation in 1988.

Wow, that's almost 3 decades managing them since her late 20s

The manager is thought to be Michi Iijima, though her name and presence have been shrouded in mystery for decades, appearing in news simply as “SMAP’s manager.”

And yet got no recognition for it most her adult life

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Quick, install more platform barriers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

look the members of this band actually have talent as comedians, hosting , some can act. but as a group of singers let face it they suck.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

After 28 years, they probably hate each other's guts and just want to get away from each other. But at the same time, I was about 5 when they formed, and I don't really know a world without SMAP. I actually liked a couple of their songs (when I was younger).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Hope more of Johnny's "talent" will follow suit. The sooner Johnny's is gone the better. And yeah let kimutaku stay, he totally fits there.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Gokai,

At least you grew OUT of it, many don't.......sends chills down my spine LOL!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Is this the longest running boy band in the world? Seriously, does anybody know?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@nostromo

The death of David Bowie obviously pales into insignificance compared to this announcement (not).....

The lack of coverage here is not only criminal, but speaks volumes about the music industry in Japan.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Please note that David Bowie's death was covered extensively by all Japanese media on Monday.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The day the music died? It should have been euthanized decades ago in this case.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Is this the longest running boy band in the world?

That'll be the Strolling Bones.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

thank god

3 ( +3 / -0 )

ok SMAP is breaking up, well guess I better take my car to work, how many will commit suicide because of this. only days will tell.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Don't worry, folks. We'll see them on tv variety shows, dramas and special programs. You haven't seen the last of the goofballs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's only only word that describes this story.

Meh.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Food programs rock as long as they do not scream oishi for everything, or make faces of disgust.

.... That's just about every cookery show then.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

"..while Takuya Kimura is presumed to have decided to remain,"

Translation: Kimutaku was taking the lion's share of the profits and so finally the others got fed up.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I think Arashi have long since replaced SMAP as the flag bearers as Japan's utterly talentless walking haircuts in the arts. Fitting that the death of SMAP comes on the heels of Bowie's death. It just highlights the fact that Japan's potential version of Bowie will never be supported by the Management mafia here

1 ( +4 / -3 )

SMAP, besides Kimura, is probably sick and tired of getting drilled in the butt, literally and figuratively, if rumors are true.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hi Tessa, yes it appears that SMAP have succeeded where all before have failed, the question remains have 4 member grown a pair to finally sever their umbilical cord Kitagawa, However the fact remains Johnny hustled 90% of there overall revenue.

Japanese boy band SMAP's 20 years at the top......2012...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-19279741

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I remember when this group was formed and then took off like a bat out of h***. I made it my mission to read up on these guys so I would be able to "relate" to my junior and senior high students. I also remember the looks on the faces of the clerks when I bought those fan books ! Classic !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

28 years too late

2 ( +4 / -2 )

And yet got no recognition for it most her adult life

Can you imagine her loss of privacy if her name were known? She probably elected not to put her name out there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Her name is perfectly known...

http://yanie02.livejournal.com/277311.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe the 'Jimusho' closed shop, will follow the national dock labour scheme and end not before time....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@theeastisred

you made it into the Guardian !

"...The band’s detractors expressed relief. “There is a god!” said a commenter on the Japan Today website..."

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/13/breakup-beloved-boyband-smap-shocks-japanese-pop-fans

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow, a lot of dinners are not going to be made this week!! Explosion in the sale of box-cutters (http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/man-distraught-over-bowies-death-threatens-to-commit-suicide)? These guys must be getting tired of Nakai's voice by now...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This kind of spam was really the instigator of this type of entertainment industry in Japan and while it is great that we will no longer have to watch their bowel-movement performances the die is cast and the industry has a stranglehold over almost all aspects of media here now (there is a member of arashi reading the nightly news once a week!) Jonny's spam industry will cut them off and move on to the next bankable talents which means decades more of arashi and countless other talentless tarentos whenever you turn on the television, even to watch the news.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think if I were younger when I first heard some of SMAP's songs that I might have like them more. They're like the next generation to the group Southern All Stars, which I did like very much, and was younger when I first heard them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Also how does one member remain in a group? An interesting philosophical conundrum.

read the article again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@dana - Kuwata Keisuke and the SAS were (are) great ! Great "senpai" of SMAP.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And so Spam is born ;)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tom Cruise or John Travolta leaving the Church of Scientology.

Now that would be news.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Food programs rock as long as they do not scream oishi for everything, or make faces of disgust.

I have rarely seen a face of disgust actually, it is necessary to say "oishii" to anything...since pretty much paid advertising alike program.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Argus Tuft:

Thanks for the tip. Fame at last!

Therougou:

If there is only one member, it is hardly a 'group' any more, is it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Dennis Bauer

And so Spam is born ;)

AHHHH!!!! OISHIIIII!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Translation: Kimutaku was taking the lion's share of the profits and so finally the others got fed up.

No. They're agent company was taking the lion's share of profits. The others realized they could make better money on their own. Kimutaku realized he can't do anything on his own, so he has no choice but to stick around and take every drama role offered to him. He's becoming the Nic Cage of Japan - except some people actually like Nic Cage.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If there is only one member, it is hardly a 'group' any more, is it.

Again, read the article. It doesn't say once that he will remain with SMAP. It very clearly says he will stay with Johnny & Associates talent agency.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"...entertaining fans through dancing, singing, acting, cooking and appearing regularly on TV."

Ummm... they can't sing or dance to save their lives, sorry. They have HORRIBLE voices, especially when soloing. Have to respect their staying power, though.

But the media coverage is NOT deserved. This is getting HUGE air time as opposed to the bus disaster or things that actually matter, and it's not worth it. I'm curious to know what the real reasons are, but only slightly. I agree with other posters that Kimtaku is only staying with the group because he is desperate, needs money, and can't really do anything otherwise. I'm glad the others -- Nakai and Kattori, anyway -- can do things on their own.

A welcome goodbye, but again, got to give them credit for having entertained so many for so long, talentless or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm hearing a lot of "I didn't listen to SMAP, didn't like em." A lot of jokes being made about them on these reviews.

BUT...somebody was listening, somebody was paying for the music and concerts. Someone was watching their drama's and movies. And they only got paid from J&A for concerts. Anything else, TV Shows, Specials, Drama's Movies, Commercial was money in their pockets, not Johnny's they also had to find those jobs on their own. It's one of the reasons Johnny took away the ban on photo's on the drama CD boxes. If they worked to get their own drama's they wanted their faces on them.

I'm not a fan of Johnny Kitagawa's, nor was I a fan of SMAP, I'm an Arashi fan, and I love Arashi, they simply make me feel good to watch them. That's all, it doesn't matter to me how the rest of the posters here feel, it only matters how I feel. And I can image there are a lot of SMAP fans out that that are upset about this, I feel bad for them.

Plus Julie is blood related to Johnny, if Michi Iijima actually thought she was going to "inherit" the company over a family member she wasn't thnking clearly.

And basically I think most of the posters on here are just posting this crap so that they can sound cool. Pathetic. I hope that no one craps all over the entertainers you like, I would hope most people would be respectful enough to go, "not a fan and move on" without feeling the need to be mean...but this is the way of the world now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hear rumors that they will NOT break up after all. Something about wanting to stick together and that it was their manager that got sacked. Who knows!?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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