In the January 21 issue of the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho (週刊新潮), it reported that the popular boy band, SMAP, is facing crisis, with rumors of a possible break up swirling around.
According to Shukan Shincho, the chief manager of SMAP, Michi Iijima expressed her intention to resign from Johnny’s Entertainment, the agency that SMAP belongs to due to a conflict with the vice president of the agency.
SMAP stands for Sports Music Assemble People and debuted in 1988. Originally SMAP consisted of six members, Takuya Kimura, Masahiro Nakai, Shigo Katori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Goro Inagaki and Katsuyuki Mori. In 1996, Mori left from the group to pursue a career as motorcycle racer. After this, SMAP continued to record and perform with five members. Takuya Kimura expressed a desire to continue to stay with Johnny’s entertainment, but the rest of the group, Masahiro Nakai, Shingo Katori, Tusyoshi Kusanagi and Goro Inagaki stated that they wish to leave the agency with Iijima. SMAP has been one of the most popular boy bands in Japan over their 25 year career, and, they continue to be relevant in the Japanese entertainment industry. Many Japanese media outlets report that this crisis virtually guarantees the breakup of SMAP.