It’s no joke this time. Johnny’s Network sent a note to major broadcasters that SMAP will officially disband at the end of this year.
All five members will, however, remain at Johnny’s and move on with their solo careers starting 2017.
Update: Since the commotion over SMAP’s imminent disband in January this year, the company has been in talks with SMAP members. However, the group has not appeared in any music shows together since March as “several members” felt that it was difficult for the group to continue under such circumstances. Johnny himself advised the group to take a break instead, but the “several members” said they would rather disband than “take a break” which is a half-assed decision. Johnny felt that with members in the group wanting to leave, it is difficult for them to continue and decided to inform major news outlets of the decision. Reports have also indicated that apart from Kimura Takuya, the Johnny’s network couldn’t care less if the other four members remain with the company. In this light, it still seems uncertain if all members will remain with Johnny’s but I suppose all will come to light soon enough.