Three former SMAP singers to leave talent agency in September
Japan Times -- Jun 19
Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori, three former members of the ultrapopular boy band SMAP, will leave their management company, Johnny & Associates, in September, the agency said.

Contracts with Inagaki, 43, Kusanagi, 42, and Katori, 40, will expire Sept. 8, Johnny & Associates said. It will be the day before the 26th anniversary of the debut of their first song on a CD, "Can't Stop!! --- Loving ---" which was released on Sept. 9, 1991.

The trio told the agency's management that they did not want to renew their contracts. No information about SMAP's former leader, Masahiro Nakai, and the fifth member, Takuya Kimura, was given, but media reports said they will remain with the agency.

"The three will embark on their own paths that they themselves decided on, but anywhere they go, and under all circumstances, I'll wish them the best of luck," Johnny Kitagawa, founder and president of the management agency, said in a statement Sunday.

Originally formed in 1988 with six members, Katsuyuki Mori left the band in 1996 to become a motorcycle racer.

SMAP is considered one of the most influential groups in Japanese pop music. It's members gained popularity not only through singing and dancing but also as actors, comedians and even chefs, as they appeared in various films and TV programs such as their own "SMAPxSMAP," which ran from 1996 to 2016.

News source: Japan Times
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