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NHK Confirms Ongoing Talks on SMAP Idol Group's Possible Breakup

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Johnny & Associates attorney: "Discussions & negotiations ... still ongoing" without final decision

An attorney representing the Johnny & Associates talent agency confirmed with NHK News Web on Wednesday that some members of the male idol group SMAP are considering leaving the talent agency. According to the attorney, "It is true that discussions and negotiations regarding some members leaving are still ongoing. Due to the ongoing negotiations, we will refrain from further comment." According to NHK, no final decision has been made.

The Nikkan Sports newspaper reported earlier on Wednesday that SMAP would break up. According to the newspaper, four of the five members — Masahiro Nakai (43), Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (41), Gorō Inagaki (42), and Shingo Katori (38) — will leave Johnny & Associates talent agency, and that only Takuya Kimura (43) will remain.

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 Mad House'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]

follow-up of Newspaper: SMAP Idol Group to Break Up After More Than 25 Years
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