Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective


SMAP (Sports Music Assemble People) are not so much a pop group as a multimedia marketing wet dream.

Starting in 1988, SMAP (Takuya Kimura, Shingo Katori, Masahiro Nakai, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, and Goro Inagaki) were lucky enough to be based in a market which never gets tired of bland pop acts, and they’re still going strong.

Their clean-cut image has survived suspicions of sexual abuse by their creator, Johnny Kitagawa, who is rumoured to have raped and exploited young stars.

As well as selling records, they dominate variety shows and dramas to the extent that at least one member seems to be on TV at all times.

The most popular Smapper, Kimura, has forged a successful acting career and frequently tops Asia’s sexiest men lists.

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  1. Fred PICKTON


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