SMAP is disbanding this year after all. The popular Japanese boy band’s management sent out a fax to Japanese media late on Saturday evening (August 13) to confirm that the group will officially disband by December 31, 2016.
The news comes seven full months after the first rumours of SMAP disbanding surfaced back in January. According to those rumours, four of SMAP’s five members — Masahiro Nakai, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Shingo Katori and Goro Inagaki (that is, everyone except Takuya Kimura) — were going to leave SMAP’s current talent agency, Johnny & Associates, so that they could join SMAP manager Michi Ijima at her new agency.
But the group ultimately did not disband. In January, SMAP held a press conference where they confirmed that the group would not be breaking up, and to apologise for any concerns and unsettlement the rumours may have caused.
The rumours of SMAP breaking up had been such a big deal in Japan that even Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his relief upon hearing that the group will indeed not be disbanding.
“The group will remain intact in response to many fans’ wishes, which is good. As is the case in the world of politics, I presume there are many issues for a group to coninue for many years,” Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
Instead of disbanding, the members of SMAP took a break from their group activities for a while to go on hiatus or focus on their individual careers instead. This also served to give the management time to come up with a positive arrangement for all parties involved.
Unfortunately, it looks like such an arrangement could not be reached.
According to news of SMAP’s disbandment today, even after coming back from the break, the same four members of SMAP would still like to leave. As the management could not find a way to move forward, they’ve decided to let the members of SMAP go their separate ways, 25 years after their debut.
With regards to today’s announcement of SMAP disbanding, the members had the following to say:
“To all of our fans, and our friends in the industry, we’d like to inform everyone that SMAP will be disbanding. We’ve caused a lot of inconvenience. We’ve caused a lot of concern. And we’ve also received a lot of support from all of you. I seek your forgiveness now that things have come to this. There is no excuse… I am sorry.”
“With regards to the group’s disbandment, to be honest it is truly thoughtless and inconsiderate. With that said however, as it’s simply unthinkable for us to do a 25th anniversary concert or to even perform as a group, if any one of us is missing, this is the outcome we have to go with. It is truly a deplorable decision we’ve made, neglecting the feelings of our fans who’ve given us so much of their support, and our staff. At the moment I can’t find the right words to express my regret.”
“To all of our fans, the staff, and our friends in the industry, I am truly sorry for all of the inconvenice our announcement this time has caused. As at the moment we think it’d be really difficult for all five of us to continue our activities together as a group, we’ve had to make the hard decision of disbanding. We seek your understanding for our decision, and thank you for everything in the 28 years leading up to this point.”
“This time around we’ve decided to take the path towards SMAP disbanding. To our fans who’ve always been supporting us, as well as to all our friends in the industry, thank you for everything in the 28 years starting from the group’s initial formation. In spite of the members going their separate ways, we’ll still be moving forward and developing ourselves in our own individual ways. So it would make me happy if everyone could please continue to watch over us as you did before.”
“To all our fans, staff, and friends in the industry. I’d like to inform you that SMAP is disbanding. To everyone who’ve supported us, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. And simultaneously, I’d like to apologise deeply and profusely for this sudden announcement.”