Japanese Pop Group SMAP Breaks Up

March 1, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. admired / ædˈmaɪərd / (adj.) – describes someone who is respected or looked up to by others
Example: One of the band’s most admired members celebrated his 10th anniversary last week.

2. disband / dɪsˈbænd / (v.) – to separate or end a group
Example: The famous jazz band disbanded after five years of being together.

3. unanimous / yuˈnæn ə məs / (adj.) – sharing the same decisions or opinions
Example: During the meeting, the managers reached a unanimous decision about who to promote.

4. dismayed / dɪsˈmeɪd / (adj.) – disappointed
Example: The player was dismayed to learn that he lost the game.

5. rise to fame / raɪz tu feɪm / (idiom) – to become popular
Example: The Beatles rose to fame in the 1960s.


Read the text below.
SMAP, one of the most admired boy bands in Japan, has disbanded.

After being together for almost 30 years, the members of the group decided to break up in December of last year. Some experts speculate that the age of the members, ranging from 39 to 43, was a huge factor in their split. Johnny & Associates, the group’s talent agency, said that the decision was not unanimous, as one member wanted the group to stay together.

Rumors about SMAP’s breakup first circulated in January 2016, causing millions of fans to be dismayed. In an attempt to keep them together, the fans issued a petition which garnered over 370,000 signatures and crowdfunded an advertisement that collected almost $342,000 in just a week.

In 1988, Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, and Shingo Katori formed SMAP when they were between the ages of 11 and 15. The group rose to fame after releasing their song “The Only Flower in the World.” Since then, SMAP, an acronym for Sports Music Assemble People, has sold more than 35 million copies of their albums and drawn fans from China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Because of SMAP’s popularity in Asia, Japan’s Minister of Economy, is worried that the breakup might affect his campaign to promote Japanese culture overseas. However, based on merchandise sales in stores catering to music fans, it seems that new Japanese boy bands may soon gain popularity and possibly replace SMAP. In the meantime, the former members of SMAP said that they will continue working with Johnny & Associates to pursue separate acting and singing careers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with what the fans of SMAP did to keep the band together? Why or why not?
·         What do you think will happen to the members of the band now?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, what makes a good musician?
·         How can musicians maintain good relationships with their fans?

March 1, 2017