I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Well, NHK (and most likely all of the commercial TV networks) has been reporting that three of the five SMAP members will be leaving their Johnny's home for perhaps hookups with other talent agencies later this year. The trio consists of Goro Inagaki(稲垣吾郎), Shingo Katori(香取慎吾)and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi(草彅剛). Although SMAP officially disbanded at the end of 2016, the fandom has apparently been in quite the lather since the news broke.

Producers for the SMAP piece on "News Watch 9" decided to be a tad clever and used one of their songs to perhaps reflect the fans' feelings on the announcement. "STAY" first appeared as a track on the group's 17th original album "Pop Up! SMAP" from July 2006. The ballad by lyricist Keiko Sahara(佐原けいこ)and composer Genki Hibino(日比野元気)was a musical affirmation of love from one partner to another, and hearing it for the first time, I thought it was quite romantic and inspirational; a break in the clouds after some stormy times.

And maybe it could be used to pray for the guys at SMAP to not totally break apart. Since the official disbandment, the only member that I've heard from via TV Japan has been Kusanagi, and that has only been his voice for an NHK information variety program. It seems like his mellow vocals for speaking have also been in good demand. I've been aware that Takuya Kimura(木村拓哉)was in a recent drama but I haven't cottoned onto any J-Dramas in many years. And the other fellows have been missing from the screen for me.

Still, I can't really imagine SMAP staying scattered into the four (or should I say five?) winds for long. Not that I believe they will re-form on a permanent basis but I think the desire for the guys to get back together for some sort of special concert for charity or otherwise is just too strong. Even with Inagaki, Kusanagi and Katori signing up at other agencies, I'm pretty confident that an arrangement can be made for a future get-together.

As for "Pop Up! SMAP", naturally, it hit No. 1 on the Oricon weeklies and became the 30th-ranked album of the year.

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