I can’t keep up with these twists and turns!
SMAP manager Iijima’s attempt to turn independent has failed. She has expressed intentions to retire from showbiz, so all eyes are now on whether the 4 SMAP members will return to Johnny’s.
Iijima’s coup d’etat started in summer last year. However, bringing the agency’s talent to set up shop elsewhere is considered breaking the rules.
“This is not something that can be forgiven,” says a showbiz related personnel. Her coup d’etat did not garner support from the entertainment circle and ended in failure.
The first sign of her failure came from the 12 Jan shareholders meeting of “J dream inc.”, a subsidiary of Johnny’s & Associates which SMAP members are also shareholders of. On this day, Iijima is supposed to be relieved of her duties as director. However, due to the failure of her coup d’etat, she announced resignation. “There was no need to hold the meeting anymore so it was cancelled.” – related personnel.
Now, the 4 members have lost their new “destination” and it will not be easy for Johnny’s to accept them back, as management needs to caution existing talents about “switching sides”.
15 Jan: Nakai is pretty much decided on leaving . He is seeking advice from close colleagues Tamori San and Downtown’s Matsumoto about surviving in the industry from hereon. He will focus on being a talent/hosting like he is known for. Kimura will focus on dramas/movies.
15 Jan: Nakai sent mail to seniors/juniors in Johnny’s, as well as close friends in the industry expressing regret over his actions. In his message, he said he does not want to quit SMAP, and would do anything to protect SMAP and return to the way things were.
15 Jan: In radio show today, Kimura asks listeners to believe in him. He will talk about it when the time comes. Other members did not talk about it despite appearing in media today.
16 Jan: Kimura met up with the 4 and Iijima on 13 Jan and they talked through the night. They decided to continue as SMAP until September when their contracts expire. The 4, while willing to return to Johnny’s, are unable to gain forgiveness from Mary. Kimura is having a hard time being their bridge.
16 Jan: 15 Jan-while on set for movie filming, Kimura called up Johnny and Mary Kitagawa, pleading with them to let SMAP do something for 25th anniversary, says he wants to do it together with them.
18 Jan: Mary Kitagawa seems to have softened up and acknowledged that the 4 wants to continue SMAP activities. Outlook is turning positive. Kimura will have a meeting today with management, seems like final decision will be made.
19 Jan: SMAP appears on their variety show and apologized to fans, promising to work hard from now on. No specific talk about not disbanding but reports/fans are taking it that way. It seems like the 4 have finally apologized to Johnny/Mary Kitagawa on the night of 17th Jan with Kimura’s help.
Trivia: Fans express their disapproval of the breakup by buying up copies of “Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana” single- SMAP hit song. Aim to hit 3million in total sales. The single is ranked No.9 on Oricon Daily Chart as of 15th Jan. The song has hit No.1 on Amazon and Recochoku on 16th and 17th Jan.