End of the line for SMAP

Good morning everyone,

Temperatures are going to remain seasonal till Monday-highs for the next 5 days will hover between 8C and 10C and lows will be around 1C or 2C-pretty much normal for this time of year. However, they're calling for temperatures to plummet from Tuesday, with both Tuesday and Wednesday expected to get up to only 5C! Now, that's cold. But it seems that whenever there's a forecast of huge dips or spikes in the temperature in Hiroshima, they always tend to weaken by the time the day actually rolls around...so, I'll believe it when I see it.

Mind you, I would have said the same thing if you had told me that SMAP were going to break up...but it seems like it's happening.  Japanese pop group SMAP is on the verge of breaking up after more than 20 years, sources at the band's agency said Wednesday, in a move that would send shockwaves through the Japanese entertainment industry given the band's popularity at home and elsewhere in Asia.
SMAP in 1988-yes, there used to be 6 members

The sources at Johnny & Associates Inc., the country's top male talent agency, said four of the band's five members -- Masahiro Nakai, 43, Goro Inagaki, 42, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, 41, and Shingo Katori, 38, -- are in talks to leave the agency, which would effectively spell the end of SMAP as a group. Only Takuya Kimura, 43, plans to stay.

After a falling out with production company J Dream, the group’s long-time manager, Michi Ijima, has announced that she will be resigning from her post as a director with the organization in mid-February. In a seeming show of solidarity, all of them-except Takuya Kimura-have announced that they too will be leaving Johnny & Associates, J Dream’s parent company.

The potential disbandment of SMAP, formed in 1988, is expected to have major repercussions in the industry, especially for TV stations and commercial sponsors. SMAP has produced many hit songs, and their members remain active in television variety shows, commercials, dramas, movies and on stage.

To say that I wasn't a big fan of SMAP would be a serious understatement, but I have to admit that this is huge news. They are one of the few bands that has survived for more than a few years in the Japanese music industry and it'll be interesting to see how their break-up will affect the industry-especially the biggest player in Japan-Johnny & Associates. If other music companies can break their stranglehold on the industry, it'll be good for everyone.

But on a lighter note, I guess I'll have to go to karaoke at some point this year to sing 'Sekai Hitotsu Dake no Hana' one more time. It was the first ever Japanese song I sang at karaoke-not because I loved the song, but because it was easy to sing...ha ha! Let's face it, none of them are particularly good singers, but they are great entertainers.

Anyway, it's not like the guys are disappearing-just the name 'SMAP'. It'll be weird, don't you think? They've been around since forever...

Have a great day!

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