Much as how reluctant you are, you have to say sayonara to SMAP at the end of tonight. Nonetheless, it really isn't a complete goodbye since the five members will still be around working on their solo careers. In that sense, nothing much has changed, only that they no longer function as a group and the name SMAP goes into history. Perhaps for fervent fans, it might hurt a lot more.
As you can probably tell, I am not a die-hard fan of SMAP. However, they've been a part of my life too, in one way or another. The very first Kouhaku Utagassen (delayed broadcast though) I watched featured them singing "Dynamite" and that should be back in 1997. Can't believe it's been 19 years since that "fateful" encounter. I found the song very catchy so that got me interested in knowing more about SMAP. Since then, I've watched many of their dramas, movies and variety shows. As for the music side of things, I don't really keep a close tab on their releases after 2003.
I must admit that I don't actually like SMAP as a group.
It's kinda different from what Arashi and TOKIO mean to me because I like them as a whole and all the members within the groups, albeit in differing degrees. With SMAP, it had always been more about Nakai and Kusanagi. For Kimura and Inagaki, the feeling has actually swung from being indifferent to neutral by now. As for Katori, hmm...let's just say that he's never been my cup of tea.
All along, everyone probably knows that SMAP members aren't chummy with one another. To me, that's fine as long as you work together well professionally. And when groups form, there is a day when they might split. To be honest, I have always wondered when they might split up, not if they will do so.
Nonetheless, when it really happened, I think it was the process which made everyone upset. The members didn't say what happened between. All the media reports are skewed, be it blaming the "traitor" or "defectors". As such, it gets really sickening to hear all the noise in this blame game while the truth remains hidden from sight. Maybe the members will be able to talk and laugh about it in years to come. Or maybe this will remain a mystery for as long as they stay in the same agency.
Considering how the group didn't break up due to external pressure such as when Mori left the group or when Inagaki and Kusanagi got into trouble with the law, the fact that they are breaking up due to internal issues makes it very sad. This seems to be the perfect textbook example of "united we stand, divided we fall". On the other hand, rather than being forced to stay together and put on a grumpy face on screen, they should just break up and make sure they will be happier after that.
Sayonara SMAP. Thank you for the past 25 years of hard work!