Well. I thought I'd gradually draw you all in, so as not to frighten you off.
So, today. Installment one of "getting to know SMAP."
... but, uh. I mean this totally... flippantly, shall we say. I do not have the patience to actually sit down and write you a history or anything.
No, this is mostly going to be me showing you videos, and you going "ooo, aah" appreciatively at appropriate moments. This is a blog, not a public service announcement. You've got to learn to do things on your own, you know!
Well, according to good ol' Wikipedia:
SMAP is a Japanese idol group formed by Johnny & Associates. While originally consisting of six members, the current group members are Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Goro Inagaki and Shingo Katori. The group's name is an acronym standing for Sports Music Assemble People.
SMAP debuted their first CD in 1991 and has since released over forty singles and twenty albums. Approximately half the singles and a third of the albums reached the top of the Japanese Oricon music charts. In recent times, the interval between the band's single CD releases has become longer, and are now released approximately once a year.
The members of SMAP have also pursued careers outside of music, including involvement in television variety shows, dramas, commercials, and movies, making them one of the most popular Johnny's groups. Largely due to their popularity, Johnny & Associates became the most successful agency in Japan, with earnings of almost three billion Japanese yen in 1995. Their fanbase consists primarily of Japanese women. SMAP is often considered to have gone past the so called "Idol Group" status, and have become the "Top Group" in Japan. SMAP is also well known in many other Asian countries.
Can you tell I'm an academic?
Yea, they're pretty big. Also, Kimutaku (the nickname given to Kimura Takuya that everyone, even people who don't lust after him, uses) is credited as being the catalyst that launched the modern wave of Japanese males who go to salons, style their hair, and generally take care of their appearances. This especially stands out in comparison to, say, American males, who tend to find such activities as indicators of homosexuality. Because, yea, that follows.
But I won't get into gender and sexuality today, kids.
Instead, I'm sure I speak for many when I say, "thank you, Kimutaku." Also, "homina homina." Or whatever it is you kids say nowadays.
Anyway, the important thing is that SMAP does a variety show every Monday night (late, which is an indicator of its potential for raunchiness) called SMAPxSMAP, which always involves a bit where they cook for guests, sing with other guests, and a number of sketches or games in between (which may or may not involve cross-dressing.) A very satisfying show, I must say... although the cooking bits always get me salivating. I assume they weren't so skilled ten years ago, but now, they produce five-star restaurant quality meals. It's mind-blowing.
The singing, which always takes place at the end, can be good or bad, depending on their chemistry with whoever the singing guest is.
With Superfly, for instance. I love them both, but SMAP doesn't really get into it until about half-way through. I'm thinking it may have been a bad day, because the interview afterward seemed amiable enough.
(Side note, but I love how Japanese music shows always have the lyrics on the bottom of the screen. Very helpful. It also puts me in a translating kind of mood... Not that you're interested, I'm sure.)
(Another side note is that Nakai, the one typically wearing a hat, cannot sing. This is not debatable. He simply can't. He may have been able to before his voice became that hoarse smoker's rasp that he's got now, but, as it is... just no. Don't question it, just let it go.)
And yet, for some reason, they seem to get along very well with the Black Eyed Peas. Who knew. (Although Kimutaku does complain that Fergie abuses him; notice her enthusiastic moshing at the end. DO NOT LIKE.)
And then sometimes, they just go at it alone, which has its benefits. After all, they are a boy band. If they're not using their own songs, their choreography gets all mucked up.
(I'm a little biased, I admit. I think Kimutaku looks particularly nice in this video. I love the half pony-tail look. Also, I, uh... kind of love this song. DON'T JUDGE ME.)
I hope you enjoyed today's installment of "Getting to know SMAP," and be sure to tune in again next time, when we will discuss how exactly men in their mid to late 30's can get away with this kind of malarkey.
This is Edo, signing off completely unashamed of her passion for Kimutaku.