Whilst the rest of SMAP are leaving because of gratitude towards longtime manager Iijima, who resigned from Johnny’s and is leaving next month,reports say Kimura Takuya is staying as he is indebted to Johnny’s too.
Reports of Kimura Takuya planning to go solo in 1997 because of his low salary became a hot topic then. Therefore, everyone would think that he’d be the first to quit.
On 30th December 2015, while interviewed 0ff-stage for NHK’s Kouhaku Utagassen, Kimura was asked about SMAP’s activities abroad and he replied “We don’t know what will happen next year and what can be done.”
Netizens are abuzz with talk of why KimuTaku is staying. Most are guessing that he is sticking to Johnny’s because of his family. With a wife and kids, he cannot afford to take a risk like the other SMAP members who are still single.
Another ex-music producer from a major record label was also interviewed. In line with news reports, he says SMAP members are not standing against Johnny’s agency. KimuTaku probably made this decision as he had a wide network of friends whom he seeked advice from, so he understood how people would look at him if he left Johnny’s. On the other hand, Nakai had publicly confessed that he didn’t have friends, the same can be said of the rest.
“The ones who are most anxious now are the TV stations. The key member to look towards is Nakai from now, rather than KimuTaku.” – Ex-music producer
He explains that Nakai has 5 variety shows to his name and 3 advertisements. He is favored not only because he’s an idol, but also a MC. If it becomes hard to appoint him given his independence, the TV stations will be troubled.
“For now his contract with Johnny’s hasn’t ended, so TV stations should have already activated the major figures in showbiz to persuade him. If he can be persuaded, the rest of SMAP should also respond in similar fashion. This is a possibility.”
Another article with more details…
Last year, Bunshun had an interview with Kitagawa Mary(vice president in Johnny’s) in January. When asked about the factional dispute in Johnny’s between her daughter Fujishima Julie and SMAP manager Iijima, she said angrily “There is no factions whatsoever! The next President is Julie! I’ll have her(referring to Iijima) out of the company!”
According to various insiders, this triggered Iijima to start looking for a backer in another agency, starting summer. After discussions with the SMAP members, the 4 decided to stick with Iijima since they’d gone through tough times together since debut. Till the end, Takuya Kimura was troubled as he was unable to do the same.
His reason for staying was because of wife, singer Kudo Shizuka, whom he married in 2000. Their marriage would have been sensationally reported if not for the intervention of Kitagawa Mary. Therefore she cannot betray Mary. She also wants Kimura to think of their daughters, aged 14 and 12. Mid December – Kimura decided to stay.
Now, Kimura is trying to “repair” the relationship between Johnny’s agency and other 4.
According to a related personnel, the 4 had intentions to stay early this year, with encouragement from Iijima. Through the attorney, Kitagawa Mary had also appealed for them to stay, but they did not listen. Kimura is mediating between the 4 and Mary so they can return.
“If Iijima retires, SMAP may remain in the agency,”says a related personnel.
Moving forward, if SMAP disbands, it’ll be difficult to use their name on TV shows, so starting April, SMAP may disappear from TV. However, since their contract runs until September, it’ll only be October before they can officially leave.
Update: Iijima’s plans to go independent fails.