Making headlines in all the major media outlets in Japan, SMAP‘s break up is big news. Although the band hinted at breaking up earlier this year, they decided to stay together until the end of this year. For those of you who are unaware SMAP is probably one of the most popular Japanese boy bands.
SMAP along with other popular bands including Arashi and TOKIO all belong to the Jonny and Associates company. The news of there break was unofficially announced at the start of the year, but now they have decided to officially break up on December 31st of this year. SMAP debuted in 1988 and quickly rose to fame following a number of top singles. There fan base grew steadily over the years and the group has become almost ambassadors of Japan. They have thousands, if not millions of fans in Japan and around the world. In fact their popularity in Asia alone allowed for the group to play concerts in China even during the height of political tension over territory disputes.
So who are the members of SMAP? Well SMAP is made up of five members, Goro Inagaki, Takuya Kimura, Shingo Katori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, and Masahiro Nakai. You may recognize some of their names from famous dramas, movies or Japanese variety shows. These members are all multi talented having successful careers outside of SMAP. I guess it was natural that the members wanted to move in different directions. Although all will remain under the Johnny’s label, they will no longer be known as SMAP but rather individual talents.
So why is one of the biggest Japanese boy bands breaking up now? Well there are a lot of rumored reasons, but according to Johnny & Associates’ official statement, the band is separating because of personal differences that have grown over the years. Each member has found a different goal in life and there is no longer a unified vision for the Japanese boy band. Although speculation has it that internal struggles with managers and differing opinions may have driving the mad to an earlier split.
The members will most likely still be around for decades to come whether as emcees, tv personalities, or actors. In fact the leader of the group, Masahiro Nakai hosts a few regular TV programs and is often acting in different tv shows. Of course the other members are regularly seen on different programs as well. This end of SMAP is almost like the end of a generation. Their popularity around the world and their songs will be missed.