SMAP, said to stand for Sports Music Assemble People, are the most successful of the idol groups created by the iconic idol factory Johnny's Jimusho (literally Johnny's Office, usually seen in English as Johnny's Entertainment). While Johnny's have been creating boy idol groups for over 40 years, none has reached the incredible popularity of SMAP. As is tradition at Johnny's, the members of the group were chosen for their looks and personalities, and then given rigorous training to develop their...read more
SMAP, said to stand for Sports Music Assemble People, are the most successful of the idol groups created by the iconic idol factory Johnny's Jimusho (literally Johnny's Office, usually seen in English as Johnny's Entertainment). While Johnny's have been creating boy idol groups for over 40 years, none has reached the incredible popularity of SMAP. As is tradition at Johnny's, the members of the group were chosen for their looks and personalities, and then given rigorous training to develop their entertaining skills. While SMAP are today superstars, they began their professional lives in 1988 as a Johnny's groomed skateboard team backing the then popular idol group Hikaru Genji. The original group consisted of Takuya Kimura, Masahiro Nakai, Shingo Katori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Goro Inagaki, and Katsuyuki Mori (who left in 1996 to pursue motorcycle racing). To further the name and cash in on the skateboarding boom, it was arranged that the Seibu group would build a skateboard park in Saitama and call it "SMAP Land". The group made their debut single "Can't Stop!! Loving" on September 1, 1991. As with other Johnny's idols, the group were slotted on TV, and after they were established, featured in concerts, musicals, magazines, and flogging (for very substantial fees) all sorts of items via commercial tie-ups. They scored their first #1 hit in Oricon in 1994 with "Hey, Hey Ookini Maidoari", and have remained very popular ever since. Key to their longevity has been their long running hit TV show SMAP x SMAP. The members have also established their own public personalities, and appear separately in various shows (comedies, dramas, talk shows, game shows), and of course frequently in the tabloids. Unquestionably the most popular member of the group is Takuya Kimura (commonly known as "Kimutaku"), who is much loved by females of all ages, and has frequently been deemed the handsomest and sexiest man in Japan. He broke millions of hearts in 2000 when he married former idol singer Shizuka Kudo. Their marriage is discussed endlessly, frequent rants centered on her being pregnant before their marriage, that she is a "yankee girl" and not "right" for him, what it means for the future of SMAP, and the up-bringing and education of their children. 2004 was a particularly good year for Kimura - amongst his many successful projects, he provided the voice of Howl in the smash anime Howl's Moving Castle. Shingo Katori also has a distinct image. Seen always as the baby of the group, he has taken a number of roles as a woman, most famously Shingo Mama, to the point that people are starting to wonder about his sexual orientation. Tsuyoshi Kusanagi has developed the character "Chonan Kan", which is the Korean reading of his name. He has become a fluent speaker of Korean, and is said to be self-taught. He also sings in Korean, and made a Korean language version of the SMAP hit "Asahi o Mini Iko Yo". This not surprisingly has helped their popularity in Korea. Kusanagi is said to be the "plain-looking one". He has nonetheless been five times voted best "jeanist" (an award given by jeans' makers to the famous person considered to look best in jeans). Also he appears slightly more than the others on TV programs, dramas and in movies, which resulted in him being the highest paid, and taxed, of the Johnny's crew in 2003. Goro Inagaki has the distinction of being qualified as a wine sommelier. He sang the theme song to the drama Boku to Kanojo to Kanajo no Ikiru Michi, which starred Kusanagi, under the assumed name &G (pronounced "and gee"). He earned a blemish on his image when he was arrested in 2001 over a parking violation that turned into a hit and run, when he bumped into a policewoman while trying to avoid a ticket. The band's leader is considered to be Masahiro Nakai, although he is also regarded the weakest singer of the bunch. He has however demonstrated a talent for MCing events, and has twice been the host of the prestigious Kohaku Uta Gassen. He also wrote the song "Five Respect" under the name N. Mappy. Most of SMAP's songs however are written by outside writers, many of them quite well known, amongst them Noriyuki Makitara ("Sekai de Hitotsu dake no Hana" 2003), Shikao Suga ("Yozora no Muko" 1998) Masayoshi Yamazaki ("Celery" 1997), and most recently Eric Clapton, who gave them "Say What You Will". Given their roles as TV personalities and pitchmen, one sometimes forgets that they also make hit records. Their music tends to be upbeat and well-crafted, if sometimes clichÃ© filled, ultra-pop, which is cleverly and innovatively marketed. If you are not a fan of idol J-pop music, you might even find their marketing of more interest than their music.collapse
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pinkjrock added self as a fan of SMAP in October, 2009.
czar indicated that no Kanji is used in name in February, 2009.
czar updated the profile for SMAP in February, 2009.
Keith Cahoon created artist page in February, 2005.
Artist page created by: Keith Cahoon
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