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Newspaper: SMAP Idol Group to Break Up After More Than 25 Years

posted on by Karen Ressler
4 of 5 members to leave Johnny & Associates talent agency

The Nikkan Sports newspaper reported on Tuesday that the male idol group SMAP will break up. Four of the five members — Masahiro Nakai (43), Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (41), Gorō Inagaki (42), and Shingo Katori (38) — will leave Johnny & Associates talent agency. Only Takuya Kimura (43) will remain.

The timing of the break-up has not yet been confirmed, as the group is still under contract for commercials. The group's variety show SMAP×SMAP is also ongoing.

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." "Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana" sold 2.5 million single CDs.

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.

[Via Hachima Kikō]

Update: The group sold 2.5 million single CDs for "Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana," not their first single. Thanks, ruze and lys.

This article has a follow-up: NHK Confirms Ongoing Talks on SMAP Idol Group's Possible Breakup (2016-01-12 23:55)
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