As a SMAP fan, it was a miserable couple months. Who am I kidding? It’s been nearly two years of misery. There were some ups, some moments of hope, but there was mostly downs and putting up with the horrible treatment of Johnny’s to both SMAP fans and SMAP themselves. And in the end? We lost SMAP.

When it was announced that Goro, Tsuyoshi and Shingo would be leaving Johnny’s? I was excited but afraid. Afraid that they’d be completely erased from the Japanese entertainment world without the star power of Nakai and Kimura. Not that the younger three aren’t super stars on their own, but I don’t think it’d surprise anyone to say that Nakai and Kimura just shine brighter and draw a lot more attention. Fear outweighed all other feelings and I was ready to admit defeat, that Johnny’s had won and SMAP would be no more. But then everything changed for the better as soon as 3 members were free from Johnny’s Entertainment.

September 9th

SMAP’s 26th debut anniversary. The last day for Goro, Tsuyoshi and Shingo at Johnny’s. No surprise announcements that both Nakai and Kimura would be joining them. No SMAP. I was almost ready to give up on them, but I couldn’t…

Shingo greets fans outside the TV Asahi studio before his live filming of SmaStation. I was so happy to read that he did that, to see photos of him outside of the studio smiling at fans. His first day of freedom, and he knows what fans have been needing forever and does it.

September 10th

First broadcast of ShinTsuyo POWER SPLASH where Tsuyoshi and Shingo are free and they speak freely. They openly addressed leaving their agency, with Tsuyoshi finally giving me words that I took to heart (loosely paraphrased): “Don’t think negatively. In life, when you jump into something new, there will be good and bad. Change worry into excitement. Let’s enjoy it and have fun.”

They acknowledged this was the start of something new. They acknowledged the worries of the public and fans had reached them. They didn’t ignore it. They didn’t tell us those feelings were invalid. Yet they also let us know they hadn’t given up. I personally needed that so much.

September 22nd

There’s too much to go paragraph style, so here’s a bullet list:

  •  The soft launch of ATARASHII CHIZU, the official fan club for Goro, Tsuyoshi and Shingo.
  • The fan club is open to International fans!!
  • Official social media accounts for the fan club are launched (Twitter, Weibo, Facebook, Instagram, LINE, YouTube)
  • A promotional video is released on YouTube.
  • The launch is announced in Asahi Shinbun and Tokyo Shinbun, the two newspapers that fans used over the last ~2 years to convey messages of thanks and support. Their lawyer faxed this to news outlets: It is impossible to measure how much the warm words of support from fans helped [Goro, Tsuyoshi and Shingo]. Their highest priority was to convey their feelings of gratitude to fans.
  • Photos are uploaded to OjaMAP’s official Twitter account of Shingo and Tsuyoshi’s filming.
  • Goro, Tsuyoshi and Shingo are reunited with their former SMAP manager who is a super star in her own right!

September 24th

And after that point, things kind of slowed down for a little bit.

Honestly, after the 22nd so much happened I don’t remember a lot of it because I didn’t get much sleep due to all the excitement. There’s actually so much more like the amazing responses from the guys’ lawyer and dissecting the entire Atarashii Chizu site and logo.

But really? The biggest thing for me was that deep down inside, I feared that all SMAP members would all go their separate ways. I fell in love with SMAP as a group. I enjoy each of them more when they are together. I have no problem admitting that even my favorite member is more entertaining when partnered with any of the others.

So Atarashii Chizu? A fan club for the three of them? It told me that they aren’t going separate ways and that they will be together for the long run. The way it was set up, the way it was launched, it feels like it was meant for all of SMAP. It didn’t only give hope to fans once more, it’s giving a new home for SMAP to come together again.

Thank you guys for doing that. It really helped change my worry into excitement.

This post was updated to reflect the correct dates.

Published by msjumpingjax

Not-so-seriously studying Japanese. Not-so-slightly obsessed with SMAP. This blog is an outlet for my SMAP love and a way to practice my Japanese. I'm not fluent but hopefully I am successful with at least getting the gist of what goes on.

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