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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: News and Current Events in Japan, Season 1 - Lesson 2, SMAP Splitting Up.
The pop idol group SMAP, composed of five artists (Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, and Shingo Katori) have decided to split up at the end of 2016. In this lesson, we'll learn about this news story.

Lesson focus

SMAP has been popular across generations since the late 1990s and has enjoyed remarkable success in various fields.
Its popularity is not limited to Japan; SMAP has accumulated a great number of fans across East Asia, especially in China, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Its effect on diplomacy and economics in the region has been significant.
Therefore, the effect of SMAP splitting up has not been limited to the entertainment industry, but has also had an impact on politics and business.
The turmoil arising from a difference of opinion with their agents had at one point shown signs of resolving and preventing the group from splitting up.
However, the split was announced suddenly late at night on August 14, 2016.
All TV stations quickly announced the news, and NHK even interrupted its broadcast of the Olympics in Rio to relay this breaking news.
Media across the world picked up on the story, and the New York Times reported that for the Japanese, this was an even bigger shock than when the Beatles split up.
Many fans, who thought they could somehow dissuade SMAP from splitting up and bring the five members back together, took action by purchasing CDs and signing petitions. However, the decision was not overturned.
Although the announcement suggested this was a temporary break, the fact that the members wish to split up has left their fans beside themselves.
There has been a huge amount of speculation about the split and the state of the relationships between the five members. However, only the persons concerned know what the real story is.
Although it will be a shame to no longer see SMAP together on stage, this does not mean that its members are quitting the entertainment industry.
Many people are hoping that these five talented artists will remain active in the future.


Those are the key facts about SMAP splitting up.
If you want to find the related Japanese keywords, make sure to check out the lesson notes.
Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening everyone, and keep listening for more of the most talked about news stories in Japan!