Newspaper: SMAP Dome Tour Cancelled

posted on 2016-01-17 00:00 EST
5-dome tour in August-November would have celebrated band's 25th anniversary

The website for the Sankei Sports newspaper reported on Sunday that a proposed Dome Tour for the male idol group SMAP has been cancelled. According to Sankei Sports' sources, the proposed tour would have celebrated the band's 25th anniversary and would have toured five large "dome" arenas between August and November.

SMAP held their first five-dome tour in 2001 for their 10th anniversary. More recently, they held five-dome tours in 2012 and 2014. According to Sankei Sports, the 2012 tour had 21 performances and 955,000 attendees, and the 2014 tour had 22 performances and 1 million attendees.

News outlets confirmed on Thursday earlier reports that Masahiro Nakai (43), Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (41), Goro Inagaki (42), and Shingo Katori (38) are in talks to leave the Johnny & Associates talent agency, with only Takuya Kimura (43) staying with the agency. The reports added that the four will 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 September last year, and Sankei Sports is reporting that they made the decision at the end of November to leave the agency. After Kimura decided in December that he would stay at the agency, Johnny & Associates cancelled the tour. According to Sankei Sports, SMAP's manager will resign from Johnny & Associates at the end of February.

Sports Hochi cited an interview with Mary Kitagawa in the Shūkan Bunshun magazine published in January last year as the impetus for Nakai's inclination to quit the agency. In the interview, when asked why SMAP and fellow Johnny & Associates male idol group Arashi don't appear together, Mary responded, "Because SMAP can't dance. The ones who can dance can see that [SMAP] can't dance." Ijima herself was present during the interview.

Johnny & Associates Inc. has released a statement that confirms that it is 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 that have come out in the last week.

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]

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