November 26, 2017
Three Former Members of SMAP Unfold Their New Map
Three of the former members of SMAP, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, and Shingo Katori launched their website called 新しい地図 Atarashii Chizu which translates to “a new map” on September 22nd, 2017. (https://atarashiichizu.com). The news was first reported by Asahi Digital, which is a digital version of the major newspaper, Asahi Shimbun. The notice of opening website was posted on the morning edition of Asahi Shimbun, so that may have been the reason why Asahi Digital was able to break the news so early. The three individuals officially broke away from their former agency, Johnny and Associates on September 8th, 2017 and according to their new website, a new agency, Cul En Inc. (Culture and Entertainment Inc.) took over management of the three. The CEO of CuLen is the former manager of SMAP, Michi Iijima, who withdrew from Johnny & Associates due to an internal conflict last year, and is said to be one of the major reasons why SMAP dissolved. On the website of Atarashii Chizu, you can see the 50 second Youtube Video that shows foreigners walking in numerous foreign countries. The three do not appear in this video, the video shows the messages such as “let’s run away from those that tie you down. Let’s transcend borders. Repaint. Love freedom and peace. The weapons are ideas and charms.
Featured on their website are links to direct viewers to the group’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LINE, and Welbo accounts, as well as their Youtube Channel. The twitter followers of @atarashiichizu has reached 302,190 members and their facebook followers have now reached 94,524 as of September 27, 2017. These numbers imply that they are quite popular even after they broke away from their former agency.
The website explains the enrollment process to their fan club. The fan club members are called Atarashii Chizu NAKAMA. Nakama is Japanese that means a friend. In addition to domestic fans, the fan club is now open to accepting overseas fans, and the website explains the two ways of enrollment process, for domestic fans and fans living abroad.
Among fans, there are many who assume that the handwritten reversed compass is a code and they are trying to decipher the message hidden in the compass. The dominant opinion is to read it as “NEWS” and interpret it as the new SMAP.
The new content is expected to be uploaded on Atarashii Chizu on October 16th, 2017.