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SMAP
Origin Japan Japan
Genres Japanese pop, pop, bubblegum music
Years active 1988–present
Labels Victor Entertainment
Website SMAP's profile at johnnys net
Members
Masahiro Nakai
Takuya Kimura
Tsuyoshi Kusanagi
Goro Inagaki
Shingo Katori
Former members
Katsuyuki Mori

SMAP is a Japanese "idol" group, formed by Johnny & Associates. While originally consisting of six members, the current group members are: Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Goro Inagaki and Shingo Katori.

SMAP debuted their first CD in 1991 and has since released over thirty singles and twenty albums. With the exception of a few, all of the singles and albums reached #1 in the Japanese music charts. In recent times the interval between the band's single CD releases has become longer, and are now released approximately once a year.

The members of SMAP have also pursued careers outside of music, including involvement in television variety shows, dramas, commercials, and movies. Their fanbase consists primarily of Japanese women. SMAP is often considered to have gone past the so called "Idol Group" status, and have become the "Top Group" in Japan. SMAP is also well known in many other Asian countries.

Contents

History

1988–2002

The SMAP members were formed into a group in 1988 when chosen by talent agency Johnny & Associates to be part of a group of twelve backup dancers for Hikaru Genji, a popular idol group at the time. Six of these dancers were then chosen to form a group of their own, SMAP, an acronym for "Sports Music Assemble People".[1] Their debut in 1991 was not immediately successful in a time when there were not many music programs. SMAP was less popular than former Johnny's groups.

In August 1991 a Saint Seiya musical sponsored by Bandai, was shown in the Aoyama theater in Tokyo, Japan. The story recalls the Sanctuary and Poseidon chapter, starring the members of SMAP as the five bronze saints and Poseidon.

Since SMAP was so unsuccessful, Nakai asked Johnny's office to let SMAP have a variety program to make people laugh with their unique personalities. The program was called "I Love SMAP" (愛ラブSMAP ai rabu SMAP ?, a pun as the first character also means "love"). Through this program, SMAP slowly gained popularity. 1993 was a year of opportunities for SMAP. They had a hit single, and SMAP member Takuya Kimura was in a TV drama called "Asunaro Hakusho", in which he played Osamu Toride, a shy boy. Asunaro was a big hit and Kimura's popularity soared. At the same time, SMAP also provided the opening and ending themes for the anime Hime-chan's Ribbon, and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi appeared in multiple episodes as himself doing the voice of a regular character. SMAP also recorded the opening song, "Kimi Iro Omoi", for the anime Akazukin Chacha, and this time the youngest member, Shingo Katori, lent his voice for the whole show as the young strong werewolf, Riiya.

After that, SMAP members starred in movies both individually and as a group. In 1996, SMAP started their own variety program called SMAP×SMAP (also called SmaSma). On SMAP×SMAP, they cook (on a regular section of the show called Bistro Smap), perform in comedy sketches (often parodies of other shows), play games, sing and dance with other musical groups. As "an idol group that does anything", they began starring in a wide variety of programs ranging from live stage to music, dancing, hosting other programs, acting in movies, commercials, etc.

SMAP continued to release new hit singles composed by professionals. Their 1998 single "Yozora no mukou" (夜空ノムコウ "Beyond the Night Sky" ?) and their 2000 single "Lion Heart" sold more than one million copies each. Their song "Yozora no Mukou" was mentioned in some Japanese textbooks. Their 2001 greatest-hits album Smap Vest sold more than one million copies in only one week.[2]

In 2000, NTT East produced two animated and two live-action television commercials for their ISDN service featuring a more updated version of the anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. The live action commercials featured some of the members of SMAP in Gatchaman costumes.

In 2001, Inagaki was involved in a traffic altercation. There were allegations of wrongdoing on his part, and he briefly retreated from the public spotlight. However, the ultimate result of the incident was to put SMAP in the public eye once more. Inagaki has since made a comeback, and starred in a 2004 drama about a fictional Japanese investment banker killed in the events of 11 September 2001. There were speculations that SMAP would disband following Takuya Kimura's announcement of his marriage and Goro Inagaki's traffic altercation in 2001.

2003: Sekai ni Hitotsu dake no Hana

Sekai ni hitotsu dake no hana became SMAP's best selling single and also for the year of 2003

Their best known 2003 single "Sekai ni hitotsu dake no hana" (世界に一つだけの花 "A Flower Unlike Any Other in the World" ?)" sold more than 2.57 million copies and became the ninth best-selling single in Oricon history.[3] It was the only single selling over a million copies that year, a year that saw CD sales declining due to the Japanese economic slump.

The song is about individuality, and since it became a hit fame during the lead up to and aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war, some seemed to perceive it as a plea for peace. The song made it to No. 1 on the Oricon 2003 Yearly Singles Top 100. The music and lyrics of the song were created by Noriyuki Makihara, a popular Japanese singer and songwriter. A line from the end and beginning of the song, "NO.1 にならなくてもいい もともと特別な Only one", roughly translated, "You don't have to become the best. You're special to begin with, the one and only (you)", was made reference to on some occasions. This song was selected as the Space Shuttle Discovery crew wake-up call in August 2005, on STS-114 Flight Day 13. The song was covered and re-arranged by heavy metal guitarist Marty Friedman on his 2006 album Loudspeaker.

In 2003, their leader Masahiro Nakai was identified as the highest tax payer of any entertainer in Japan by the Japanese National Tax Bureau.[4] That same year, he was involved in at least four television shows simultaneously, in addition to commercials.

2004–present

"Sekai ni Hitotsu dake no Hana" held the #1 spot for the first few weeks into the year and finished the year on the #11 spot. They were invited to perform in Kōhaku Uta Gassen that year, but refused for the second time since 2001. They did not release any new single or album that year. All the individual members had so many commitments that year, such as movies and dramas, that they wanted to rest.

2004 was a year that did not have a single million-selling CD in Japan. Although they did not release even a single in 2004, the popularity of SMAP was still strong in 2005. This was reflected in the charts, where both their album and single (017 SAMPLE BANG! and BANG BANG! バカンス!) topped the respective daily charts just moments after their release, although it did not become the annual top.

SMAP's 40th single "Arigatō" (ありがとう "Thank You" ?) was released on October 11, 2006. It is an expression of thanks in honor of the 15th anniversary of their debut.

In 2008, they had a six-day tour at the Tokyo Dome, becoming the Japanese artist(s) to have the most amount of tour at the Dome. They also released a new album super.modern.artistic.performance (SMAP) on the first day of the tour, September 24, 2008.[5]

Members

Each of the members of SMAP have acted in numerous television dramas, variety programs commercials, and movies, but each also cultivates a distinctive image and personality.

SMAP member, Takuya Kimura singing "$10" with Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki on SMAP×SMAP.
  • Masahiro Nakai is the eldest and "leader" of the group and has hosted numerous television programs with other experienced hosts except one current program, the most famous of which, being Utaban, which he has co-hosted with comedian Takaaki Ishibashi since the show's beginning in 1996 to this day. He is a notorious bachelor, trickster and poor singer, none of which have prevented him from being one of the currently highest paid celebrity in the Japanese entertainment industry. He frequently wears a hat and has long hair, although his look changes frequently. He starred as Eiryo Waga in 2004's "Suna no Utsuwa" alongside Watanabe Ken.
  • Takuya Kimura has appeared in many high-rating television dramas. After his breakout role in Long Vacation, Kimura became the cover boy for many magazines. In 1994, the so-called Kimutaku (a contraction of Kimura Takuya) phenomenon started to be observed in some media. Kimura was voted Best Jeanist from 1994 to 1999, after which he received his own special category as the magazine's "forever Jeanist". He was voted AnAn's favorite guy, whose survey method practically allows multiple votes. He is still AnAn's favorite guy, having won the vote 15 times consecutively (as of 2008). In 1995, Kimura acted in a movie called, Kimi wo wasurenai. More recent movie credits include Wong Kar Wai's 2046 and Howl's Moving Castle. Many of the dramas he has acted in, such as "HERO" and "Beautiful Life", have received high ratings.
  • Goro Inagaki is one of the main vocalists of the group and has the most gentle personality. His appreciation for wine is also well-known. He has his own late-night variety program called "Goro's Bar Presents My Fair Lady" (a continuation of the popular "Goro's Bar") together with female comedians. He also acts in television dramas such as "M No Higeki" and "Busu No Hitomi Ni Koishiteru" as well as occasional stage plays and movies, like University of Laughs. Regularly, he plays the famous fictional detective Kosuke Kindaichi in special television dramas.
  • Tsuyoshi Kusanagi is also known as an actor, appearing in "Hotel Venus". His speaks Korean fluently. In 2005, he went to Thailand to learn more about the lives of orphans there and documented the trip for a television special of SMAP's weekly variety program SMAP×SMAP. In the wee hours of 23 April 2009 he was arrested for public indecency after being found drunk and naked in a Tokyo park. One month later, he returned to his activities.
  • Shingo Katori He is the youngest member of SMAP, and also the tallest. For a while he dyed his hair white, making him stand out in the group. At one point he also had dreadlocks. He has also done anime voice-over work, most notably the role of Riiya in Akazukin ChaCha. He also received critical acclaim for playing Kondo Isami in NHK's all-star cast Taiga Drama, "Shinsengumi" in 2005, and as Son Goku on the hit television series "Saiyuuki" and its accompanying feature film in 2006 and 2007, respectively. In 2009, he made his stage debut in the musical "Talk Like Singing,"[6] which premiered in New York City.

Discography

Singles

Original Japanese Title Title in Romaji Translation of title Release Date
Can't Stop!!-LOVING- 9 September 1991
正義の味方はあてにならない Seigi no Mikata wa Ateninaranai I Can't Rely On A Friend of Justice 6 December 1991
心の鏡 Kokoro no kagami The Mirror of a Heart 18 March 1992
負けるなBaby!~Never give up Makeru na Baby! ~Never give up Don't Lose, Baby! ~Never Give Up 8 July 1992
笑顔のゲンキ Egao no Genki The Energy of Your Smiling Face 11 November 1992
雪が降ってきた Yuki ga Futtekita The Snow Is Falling 12 December 1992
ずっと忘れない Zutto Wasurenai I'll Never Forget 3 March 1993
はじめての夏 Hajimete no Natsu First Summer 6 June 1993
君は君だよ Kimi wa Kimi Dayo You Are Who You Are 9 September 1993
$10 11 November 1993
君色思い Kimi Iro Omoi Wild Thoughts About You 1 January 1994
Hey Hey おおきに毎度あり Hey Hey Ōki ni Maido Ari Hey Hey Thanks 12 March 1994
オリジナル スマイル Orijinaru Sumairu Original Smile 6 June 1994
がんばりましょう Ganbarimashou Let's Work Hard! 9 September 1994
たぶんオーライ Tabun Ōrai It's Probably O.K. 21 December 1994
KANSHA して KANSHA Shite Gratitudes 3 March 1995
しようよ Shiyou yo Let's Do It 6 June 1995
どんないいこと Don'na Ii Koto Whatever Nice Things 9 September 1995
俺たちに明日はある Oretachi ni Asu wa Aru There's A Tomorrow For Us 11 November 1995
胸さわぎを頼むよ Munasawagi o Tanomu yo Please Move My Heart 2 February 1996
はだかの王様~シブトク つよく~ Hadaka no Ōsama ~Shibutoku Tsuyoku~ The Naked King ~Stubborn and Strong~ 5 May 1996
青いイナズマ Aoi Inazuma Blue Thunder 15 July 1996
SHAKE 18 November 1996
ダイナマイト Dainamaito Dynamite 26 February 1997
セロリ Serori Celery 14 May 1997
Peace! 26 September 1997
夜空ノムコウ Yozora no Mukō Beyond the Night Sky 14 January 1998
たいせつ Taisetsu Important 8 May 1998
朝日を見に行こうよ Asahi o Mi ni Ikō yo Let's Go See The Sunrise 27 January 1999
Fly 23 June 1999
Let It Be 9 February 2000
らいおんハート Raion Hāto Lion Heart 30 August 2000
Smac 28 July 2001
freebird 15 May 2002
世界に一つだけの花 Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana A Flower Unlike Any Other in the World 5 March 2003
友だちへ~Say What You Will~ Tomodachi e ~Say What You Will~ To my friends ~Say What You Will~ 19 January 2005
BANG! BANG! バカンス! BANG! BANG! BAKANSU! BANG! BANG! VACANCE! 27 July 2005
Triangle 23 November 2005
Dear WOMAN 19 April 2006
ありがとう Arigatō Thank You 11 October 2006
弾丸ファイター Dangan Faitā Bullet Fighter 19 December 2007
そのまま/White Message Sonomama/White Message Just that way / White Message 5 March 2008
この瞬間(とき)、きっと夢じゃない Kono toki, kitto yume ja nai This moment, I know it's not a dream 13 August 2008
そっと きゅっと/スーパースター★ Sotto Kyutto / SUPERSTAR★ Softly and Hold / SUPERSTAR★ 26 August 2009

Albums

Title Release Date Remarks
SMAP 001 1 January 1992
SMAP 002 26 August 1992
SMAP 003 1 January 1993
SMAP 004 7 July 1993
SMAP 005 2 February 1994
SMAP 006 ~SEXY SIX~ 7 July 1994
Cool 1 January 1995 Best Album
SMAP 007 ~Gold Singer~ 7 July 1995
BOO 22 November 1995 Remix Album
SMAP 008 ~TACOMAX~ 3 March 1996
SMAP 009 12 August 1996
Wool 26 March 1997 2CDs Best Album
SMAP 011 ~SU~ 6 August 1997
SMAP 012 ~VIVA AMIGOS!~ 18 June 1998
La festa 26 August 1998 Members' Solo Album
SMAP 013 ~BIRDMAN~ 14 July 1999
SMAP 014 ~S map~ 14 October 2000
SMAP Vest 23 March 2001 2CDs Best Album
qamS (Ura-Smap) 8 August 2001 Best Album
SMAP 015 ~Drink! Smap!~ 24 July 2002
SMAP 016 ~MIJ~ 25 June 2003 2CDs Album
SAMPLE BANG! 27 July 2005 3CDs Album
Pop Up! SMAP 26 July 2006 2CDs Album
super.mdern.artistic.performance 24 September 2008 2CDs Album

Acting

Japan's Ayumi Hamasaki dubbed “The Empress of J-pop" as a special guest at SMAP×SMAP, February 2007.

Their variety program SMAP×SMAP shows several types of entertainments ranging from cooking, comedy, and games to singing and dancing, often with celebrity guests, including celebrities like Mariah Carey, Ayumi Hamasaki, Michael Jackson, Will Smith, Hikaru Utada, David Beckham, Tom Cruise, The Backstreet Boys, Paris Hilton, Matt Damon, Madonna, Coldplay, Kylie Minogue, Justin Timberlake, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sheryl Crow, Richard Gere, Avril Lavigne,Kwon Sang Woo, TVXQ or Tohoshinki, and recently Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino though most guests are Japanese tarento ("talents").

At the beginning of 2004, Kimura and Kusanagi each starred in a drama show ("PRIDE" and "Boku to Kanojo to Kanojo no Ikiru Michi" or "The Way We Live", respectively) both the high-rating dramas of the season. Inagaki sang the song for "Boku to Kanojo to Kanojo no Ikiru Michi". (Initially, the fact that Inagaki was singing the song was kept a secret, but after numerous fans called Fuji TV, it was revealed to the public.)

Film "Yomigaeri" starring Kusanagi was considered to be a hit in 2003.

Other projects

Besides singing and acting, the group also manages to be active in numerous other forms of media fields as well.

Besides their weekly variety show SMAP×SMAP, the individual members are also currently regulars/hosts on the following shows:

Masahiro Nakai
  • Waratte Iitomo! Zoukangou (Sunday, 10:00~11:45)
  • Black Variety (Sunday, 22:30~22:56)
  • Waratte Iitomo! (Tuesday, 12:00~13:00)
  • The! Sekai Gyouten News (Wednesday, 21:00~21:54)
  • Utaban (Sunday, 19:54~20:54)
  • Nakai Masahiro no Kinyoubi no Sma-tachi e (Friday, 21:00~21:54)
Goro Inagaki
  • Goro's Bar Presents My Fair Lady (Thursday, 24:25~24:55)
  • SmaSTATION, Tsuki Ichi Goro (Saturday, 23:00~23:54)
  • Wasurebumi (Sunday, 5:45~6:00)
Tsuyoshi Kusanagi
  • Waratte Iitomo! Zoukangou (Sunday, 10:00~11:45)
  • Pussuma (Tuesday, 23:15~24:10)
  • Waratte Iitomo! (Thursday, 12:00~13:00)
  • Bokura no Ongaku 3 (Narrator; Thursday, 23:30~23:58)
  • Chonan Kan 2 (Thursday, 25:25~25:40)
Shingo Katori
  • Waratte Iitomo! (Monday, 12:00~13:00)
  • Waratte Iitomo! Zoukangou (Sunday, 10:00~11:45)
  • UraSma6 (Saturday, 22:57~23:00)
  • SmaSTATION (Saturday, 23:00~23:54)
Takuya Kimura
  • Takuya Kimura is not currently a regular on any show besides SMAP×SMAP. However, he regularly hosts What's Up Smap (WuS), a weekly radio programme for a local radio station in Tokyo (Friday nights) and guests from time to time in his co-members shows, such as Pussuma, UraSma and SmaSTATION. Even though all other members of SMAP appear regularly on Waratte Iitomo!, Kimura never appears on the show unless there is a drama or film that he is starring in, and he is promoting it on the show as a guest.

In 2003, three of the books ranked in the year's best selling 10 books were released by SMAP: Kimura's "First Essay(Kaihou-ku "open area")", Katori's "English Berabera", and also Katori's "Diet Shingo".

In 2002, the group released a soft drink called "Drink! SMAP" in order to promote a CD of the same name.

SMAP was also chosen to be official spokespersons for Square-Enix's popular Dragon Quest series of role-playing video games.

Awards

Japan Gold Disc Awards

SMAP won fourteen awards from Recording Industry Association of Japan's annual music awards ceremony, the Japan Gold Disc Awards.[7][8][9]

Year Nominated work Award Result
1992 SMAP Best 5 New Artist Award Won
1995 Cool Album Award Won
Sexy Six Show Music Video Award Won
1996 SMAP 007: Gold Singer Album Award Won
1997 SMAP 008: Taxomax Album Award Won
1999 "Yozora no Mukō" Song of the Year (Special Award) Won
2001 "Lion Heart" Song of the Year Won
2002 SMAP Vest Pop Album of the Year Won
2004 "Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana" Song of the Year Won
Smap! Tour! 2002! Music Video of the Year Won
Live MIJ Won
2006 SMAP to Icchatta! SMAP Sample Tour2005 Won
2007 Pop Up! SMAP Live Best Music Videos Won
2009 SMAP 2008 super.modern.artistic.performance Tour Won

References

External links


Simple English

SMAP
Origin Japan
Genres J-Pop, pop, bubblegum music
Years active 1991–present
Labels Victor Entertainment
Website SMAP's profile at johnnys net
Members
Masahiro Nakai
Takuya Kimura
Tsuyoshi Kusanagi
Goro Inagaki
Shingo Katori
Former members
Katsuyaki Mori

SMAP is a Japanese boy band. This group is made up of 5 male members. This group is very popular in Japan and among the Japanese people. This group was formed in April 1988. They held the 1st concert at Nihonbudokan in January and sold the debut CD “Can’t stop!!-LOVING” in September 9th 1991. Members are Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori. Now, the group has five members but at the beginning it had six members. His name is Katsuyuki Mori. He withdrew from the group to be an auto racer in 1996.

SMAP is an acronym. Sports Music Assemble People

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