SMAP's 2003 Single Tops Oricon's Daily Singles Chart on Friday

posted on 2016-01-24 02:30 EST
SMAP x SMAP program drew 31.2% rating average on Monday

Male idol group SMAP's March 2003 single "Sekai ni Hitosu Dake no Hana" ranked at #1 on Oricon's daily singles chart on Friday. The single had been steadily climbing up the chart since newspapers reported on a possible breakup of the band on January 13. On January 14, the single jumped from outside the rankings to #9. On Tuesday the single ranked at #19, on Wednesday it ranked at #3, and on Thursday it ranked at #2 before topping the list on Friday.

The last time the single ranked on Oricon's daily singles chart was on January 30, 2006 when it ranked at #86. The single is SMAP's highest-selling single, selling around 2.57 million copies.

Additionally, the group's live television appearance on their weekly SMAP x SMAP program on Monday drew an average television rating of 31.2% in the Kanto region, according to television ratings group Video Research. The show reached a peak of 37.2% at 10:22 p.m.

The highest ratings the program had earned in its history was in January 14, 2002's "SMAP x SMAP '02 Kinkyū Nama Hōsō! Konya 5-nin Sorotte SMAP ga Shutsuen Shimasu!" (SMAP x SMAP '02 Emergency Live Broadcast! Tonight, All 5 Members of SMAP Gather and Take the Stage!) episode, which drew a ratings average of 34.2%.

In their live appearance on Monday, SMAP acknowledged the news reports that have concerned fans about their possible breakup, and apologized for the unease they caused. However, they did not directly address whether the group will break up. The program added a special live segment for the five members' messages, and the program prefaced the live segment with messages by fans from Japan, Taiwan, and elsewhere.

SMAP (Sports Music Assemble People) formed in 1988 with six members, although Katsuyuki Mori left the group in 1996. The band debuted with their first single in September 1991, and went on to put out a number of hit songs, such as "Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana," "Yozora no Mukō," and "Lion Heart."

Newspapers reported earlier this month that Masahiro Nakai (43), Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (41), Goro Inagaki (42), and Shingo Katori (38) were in talks to leave the Johnny & Associates talent agency, with only Takuya Kimura (43) staying with the agency.

The reports added that the four would leave following the imminent resignation of SMAP's long-time manager Michi Ijima. Reports indicated that the four members had been considering leaving the agency since last September, and Sankei Sports reported that they made the decision at the end of November to leave the agency. According to Sankei Sports, Johnny & Associates cancelled a proposed five-city dome arena tour after Kimura decided in December that he would stay at the agency. Sankei Sports also reported that SMAP's manager will resign from Johnny & Associates at the end of February.

Johnny & Associates Inc. released a statement earlier this month that confirmed that it was in talks with some members of SMAP regarding a possible departure from the agency, but the agency has not officially confirmed any of the other reports from various newspapers and news outlets.

Together the group performed theme songs for Hime-chan's Ribbon and Lil' Red Riding Hood Cha-Cha. They have also had separate acting careers. Kimura has voiced Howl in Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle film and JP in Takeshi Koike and Madhouse's Redline film, and starred in the live-action film of the space opera anime classic Space Battleship Yamato (adapted as Star Blazers in English). Kusanagi played Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank anime movie and Kouichi in Hime-chan's Ribbon. Inagaki played the Kamen Rider G lead in the live-action special of the same name and Dr. Ratchet in the One Piece: Karakuri Shiro no Mecha Kyohei film. Katori has played Riiya the kid werewolf in Lil' Red Riding Hood Cha-Cha, Hattori-kun in the live-action Ninja Hattori Kun The Movie, and Kankichi in the 2009 live-action drama adaptation of Osamu Akimoto's Kochira Katsushika-ku Kamearikouen-mae Hashutsujo ("Kochikame") police comedy manga.

Sources: Oricon, The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web

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