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:
Breaking story, please come back to this story at a later time to see what the members have said.
SMAP is disbanding in 2016 after all; 4 of 5 members still wanted out after returning from hiatus