TOKYO (TR) – Shock waves reverberated across Asia when Japan’s venerated boy band SMAP announced plans this year to split up on the last day of 2016 –– and the lasting impact can still be felt today after Japan’s top government spokesman lamented the end of an era as a “tremendous shame.”
“As a national idol group, they have long carried on until today, and was a tremendous presence in TV as well as producing many hit songs, so it’s a tremendous shame,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshida Suga said at a press conference on Tuesday, NHK reports (Dec. 27).
Credited with revolutionizing idol groups in Japan as 25-year veterans of show business, rumors of rifts between the SMAP boys were abound well before the group announced plans in August to break up on December 31.
“Each and every one of the members have demonstrated their unique talents across various fields, whether that be as singers or hosts, and not just as a group,” Suga said. “I hope they will each draw on such experiences as unique [individuals] and give fans hopes and dreams.”
“There might be fans who are looking forward to the members gathering together and being active on TV again someday,” Suga said.