Unless you’re living under a rock or if you’re like me who managed to read her twitter feed past noon, most of you are aware of the news that SMAP is going to disband. Why a hugely successful group like SMAP disband? Well, according to what I’ve read so far, here’s a summary:
- Iijima, aka SMAP’s manager and so-called foster mother of the group, resigned from Johnny’s & Associates because of a long-running internal conflict. That source of internal conflict involves Mary Kitagawa, sister of Johnny Kitagawa, as well as Mary’s daughter, Julie Fujishima.
- Following Iijima’s resignation, SMAP members from Nakai Masahiro, Inagaki Goro, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, and Katori Shingo reportedly follow suit. However, Kimura Takuya chose to stay with Johnny’s.
- Johnny’s & Associates released a formal statement where they acknowledge the news of Iijima’s resignation and disbandment of SMAP. However, they didn’t exactly say which one is true and said that they are still in discussion –with whom, it was not mentioned.
The last bullet gives me hope that the agency is doing something to make them stay. SMAP is undeniably one of Johnny’s best produce, letting them go would be a huge lost to the agency as well to fans. As BBC reported, SMAP is like Take That and New Kids on the Block of Japan but way bigger. Even though SMAP has lost one member, you can’t really divide the group after all these years because not only they have their own variety show, SMAP also has CM deals- as a group- that a breach of contract is likely if SMAP disbanded.
While I’m sure that unlike younger Johnny’s who left the agency and have gone to hibernation, you can’t erase SMAP from Japanese entertainment. If it’s true that Nakai, Goro, Shingo, Tsuyoshi left, then I’m pretty sure that these guys can still be successful without a huge agency backing them up. Still, Johnny’s won’t be complete without these guys, they contributed so much for the agency that I hope Johnny’s will work on making them stay.