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Japan's biggest all-boy band tipped to go it alone

Japan's biggest all-boy band tipped to go it alone
Michaichi Daily - September 5, 2005




Horror of horrors! Japan's biggest all-boy band -- its members remain boys even as they edge toward middle-age and barrel toward baldness -- is about to do the unthinkable and strike out on its own, according to Shukan Gendai (9/11).

Ever since it emerged in the early '90s with its team of then six teens SMAP has been under the control of Johnny & Associates Inc., one of Japan's most powerful celebrity handlers headed by the redoubtable Johnny Kitagawa and an agency known for an uncanny ability to produce almost endless supplies of gifted pretty boys.


Johnny's has remained in strict control over SMAP and its individual members, of whom there are now five 30-somethings, watching them grow to icon status, reaping the benefits of their unheard-of rule of the Japanese pop world and now, so rumor has it, faced with the threat of losing it all as the group is poised to create its own management company.

"Stars like Hiromi Go and Toshihiko Tahara had gigantic battles with the agency when they struck it out alone," a veteran entertainment reporter tells Shukan Gendai."Apparently, there were quite a few who've left the agency after fights about money."


SMAP, a huge revenue generator with its members dominating small and large screens as well as music charts across Japan, would pose a major problem for Johnny's if it decided to go it alone.

"Normally, turnover among male performers is incredibly rapid, but SMAP's survival at the top of the heap for so long is simply unprecedented," an editor from a sports newspaper says. "Michi Iijima, SMAP's manager since the band's debut, is growing increasingly powerful within the agency. There have been rumors for a few years now about Iijima leaving Johnny's and taking SMAP with her."


Seen as proof of the likelihood of Iijima's independence has been the recent formation of J-Dream, a wholly owned subsidy of Johnny & Associates headed by none other than Michi Iijima.

"Johnny has probably come to the conclusion that it'd be better off to set Iijima up with SMAP in a related company than have her go out and start up something herself," the sports paper reporter says. "Nonetheless, there are still plenty of rumors that this company will eventually break off from the parent."


J-Dream occupies an entire floor in a building located directly across from the Johnny's headquarters in Tokyo's Minato-ku. It's from there that Iijima speaks to the men's weekly, acting as a representative of both the newly formed company and its parent.


"J-Dream is a company that will look after the revenue and production costs from any SMAP footage. I am an employee of Johnny & Associates, so there's absolutely no way I will be forming my own company," Iijima tells Shukan Gendai. "SMAP's payment will continue to be made by Johnny & Associates and Johnny & Associates will still be the point of contact for the management of the band."

It seems, then, that whispers of the demise of one of the most successful partnerships in Japanese showbiz history have been grossly exaggerated.

"Iijima will remain in control of SMAP for as long as the band exists," the sports rag reporter tells Shukan Gendai. "But we may not see any major movement until Johnny (Kitagawa) decides to resign."

(By Ryann Connell)



from f-chan //smapfreebird.aimoo.com




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Create Date : 07 ตุลาคม 2548
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โดย: Fruit_tea วันที่: 7 ตุลาคม 2548 เวลา:14:48:25 น.  

 
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โดย: burin piggypink วันที่: 9 ตุลาคม 2548 เวลา:13:27:50 น.  

 
ถ้าคิมูระ มาเดี่ยว แล้ว SMAP จะทำยังไงอ่ะค่ะ


โดย: smap_takuya IP: 124.121.32.209 วันที่: 4 เมษายน 2549 เวลา:12:14:05 น.  

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