November 25, 2017

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Smap Apologies Live on TV

On the January 18th episode of their TV show SMAP SMAP, the five members of the group SMAP discussed the recent scandal arising from their potential break up. The apology was broadcasted live on air, however the rest of the show was prerecorded as usual.

According to Japanese media outlets, one member of SMAP, Takuya Kimura, persuaded the other four members (Masahiro Nakai, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Shingo Katori and Goro Inagaki) who intended to leave the group, to remain in SMAP. Takuya Kimura is the only member who is married with a family to support. Sankei Sports reported that his wife, singer Shizuka Kudo persuaded Kimura to remain in the group. Kimura feels gratitude to his agency, Johnny and Associates, which enabled him to join what would become one of the most popular groups in Japanese music.

There has been a massive protest by Smap fans against the break up, which could be another reason that led them rethink ending SMAP. The protest was carried out by purchasing CDs of a Smap single released in 2003 called Sekaini Hitotsu Dake No Hana (世界一つだけの花) and also by spreading the hastag “#SekainiHitotsudakeNoHana” on social networks. Sekai Ni Hitotsu Dake No Hana means “only one flower in the world”, which seems to represent the fans plea for unity in the group. Takuya Kimura stated that this is his favourite song that they’ve ever done.

Before the apology began, a female announcer stated that approximately 8000 messages were sent to the show in only one week, and  introduced messages from the public that were sent to the show, set to the song of Sekai Ni Hitotsudake No Hana. Most of the messages were from Japanese fans, however there was a message from Taiwanese fan saying, “I will love Smap no matter what.”

Below is the transcript of the apology:

Takuya Kimura: Today is January 18th, 2016. Over the past week, SMAP has caused a lot of grief for the public. We made a lot of people worry. Since I thought that if the things stay the way they are, Smap could end up disintegrating into thin air, I thought it was more important than anything for the five of us to explain the situation together. We are grateful to be given an opportunity like this upon our request.

Goro Inagaki: We feel very sorry that we caused so many people distress and anxiety about the future of SMAP. I would like you to see our performances from now on, and we will strive with all of our might so that we can garner your support. We appreciate your support.

Shingo Katori :I am really sorry that we made so many people worry. I would like to make our fans smile from now on. We appreciate your support.

Masahiro Nakai :By working through this, we were strongly reminded just how much SMAP is supported by everyone. I apologize profusely. We appreciate your support.  

Tsuyoshi Kusanagi: There were so many things that I realized through the messages from everyone. I am truly grateful. I am grateful that Kimura allowed us an opportunity to apologize. Mr. Johnny (CEO of Johnny and Associates) Thanks to him, we are able to stand here today. I feel at ease that the five of us can be here.

Kimura: In the end, we will look to the future, whatever the future may be, and continue to move forward looking only ahead of us. We appreciate your support.

An American’s opinion on the apology

“While it’s a nice for a band to do, to apologize for upsetting their fans, I find it very strange that they feel that they need to apologize simple for considering moving on in their professional lives. They have been recording and performing music for over 25 years, that’s a very long time to do anything, and it seems reasonable that they might be ready to try something else. In the United States no boyband would ever last anywhere near as long as they have. ”

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