Last year, long-running J-pop group SMAP announced plans to break up at the end of 2016. Many retrospectives were put together, a special clip-show edition of their popular TV show SMAP X SMAP aired and many tears were shed. Yet through all of this, many in Japan still hoped the group would somehow come back together.
Johnny & Associates, the talent agency that managed SMAP and the five member’s solo careers, announced Sunday that former SMAP members Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori would leave the company after their current contracts expire on September 8. Each of the three will announce their own plans post-Johnny’s in the near future.
The other two members of SMAP, Takuya Kimura and Masahiro Nakai, will stay with the agency, according to the statement put out Sunday.
Maybe down the line you’ll see some sort of SMAP reunion, but for now, it looks like September will officially mark the end of an era for Japanese pop music.
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