The recent break-up controversy surrounding SMAP (Sports Music Assemble People) has captured the attention of the Japanese media. Interestingly, it has also catapulted their single, Sekai ni Hitosu Dake no Hana, into the top spot of Oricon’s daily rankings from out of nowhere. This would be the first time the single is seen in the Oricon Top 100 rankings since being ranked #86 in the daily charts last 30 January 2006, which was almost 10 years ago.
When several newspapers started reporting on the legendary all-male idol group’s possible break-up back in 13 January, the single rose to #9 in the charts from out of nowhere the next day, 14 January. Sekai ni Hitosu Dake no Hana then started climbing up the rankings in the next few days, until taking the #1 spot last Friday, 22 January.
Many have attributed the song’s rise in the charts to the break-up rumors, with fans showing their support for the group through this tough time. To this day, Sekai ni Hitosu Dake no Hana remains SMAP’s highest selling single, selling approximately 2.6 million copies since it was released back in March 2003.
During a televised broadcast, the five members all apologized to the fans and everyone else for all the trouble and worries they have caused, yet they did not directly answer the question on everybody’s minds – will they really disband or not?
According to the newspaper reports, four of the idol group’s five members will be leaving their talent agency, Johnny & Associates. Masahiro Nakai (43), Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (41), Goro Inagaki (42), and Shingo Katori (38) will be leaving the talent agency, while only 43-year old Takuya Kimura will be remaining with them. However, the report did not state when exactly they will eventually break up, as the group still has various commitments together, including their own TV show, SMAP x SMAP. These newspaper reports have yet to be confirmed officially.
SMAP was formed in 1988, and made their debut single in 1991. The group originally had six members, with Katsuyuki Mori leaving the group back in 1996. They have performed AniSongs as well, performing theme songs for classic anime, such as Hime-chan’s Ribbon and Akazukin Cha Cha.