So after all that mess, SMAP will be officially disbanding after all, according to Johnny’s Entertainment.
“Thank you for always supporting SMAP. We have put everyone into worry regarding the deliberation among the members about their future. With this decision made by the members, and on behalf of everyone who has been involved, we would like to apologize that we have made this announcement through a faxed letter.
SMAP, which has been in the industry for 25 years, will be disbanding on December 31, 2016. In January of this year, there were deliberations regarding SMAP’s future. Over a period of 6 months from February to August 10, we have still continued their activities by appearing on music shows and other various activities as usual. We have also planned to commemorate their 25th anniversary of their debut as well as the 20th anniversary of their show by doing promotional events and even concerts. In spite of these efforts, there were still several people who have doubted saying that continuing their activities is very difficult to do with the current situation of the five members. The debate continued among the officials. In July, we have declined a music program guesting. The month after that, for the sake of the people who cannot wait, we had to take our time to think calmly. There were suggestions that the group should take a short break until these circumstances have been resolved. From the members themselves, however, they said that “We’ll rather disband than take a break”. It’s very difficult for the members to come to this resolve after all the achievements they have had for the past few years. Although it is very difficult, we are now reporting it officially.
It wasn’t possible to meet the expectations of the company stakeholders without the fans’ support which were shown in this year’s commemorative events. We would like to thank you and at the same time, apologize. We are sorry.
With that being said, SMAP will disband, but the affiliation of the members remain in the company. We will focus on their individual activities. We are hoping for you to support them as warmly as before and we are looking forward to your encouragement in the future. We humbly express our gratitude to everyone.
Johnny’s & Associates Inc.”
I’m not sure how much actually changes with this, as it thankfully sounds like they’ll all continue doing their own thing, but it’s certainly the end of an era for a group that started in 1988.
For K-pop fans, it would be like if Shinhwa suddenly disbanded in 2026 despite still being active and popular celebrities.