Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, & Shingo Katori to leave Johnny’s in September

They’re free! After months and months of speculation via the tabloids, it has been confirmed that former SMAP members Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, & Shingo Katori will be leaving Johnny & Associates once their contract expires on September 8th, 2017.

A letter penned by Johnny Kitagawa himself was faxed to the media confirming that the three of them had received offers from other agencies. In the letter Johnny talked about SMAP’s disbandment, again going over and how they came to the decision leading up to the official announcement. In August the groups disbandment was announced, and the group disbanded on December 31st, 2016.

There’s absolutely no hard feelings. Johnny wished Goro, Tsuyoshi, and Shingo the best of luck on their new paths in life and thanked them for the tireless effort they put in during their time in Johnny’s. He praised SMAP as a wonderful group of five men who not only left a strong impression with fans, but with his own heart as well. He’s confident that Goro, Tsuyoshi, and Shingo will continue to bring joy and happiness to people with whatever route they choose.

Johnny finished the letter by providing a new meaning for the name SMAP.  Originally formed in 1988 as a six-person group, SMAP got their start as many other members of Johnny’s do, serving as backup dancers for their senpai’s. After dancing for Hikaru Genji and appearing in a bunch of variety shows eventually in 1991 they made their CD debut with the single “Can’t Stop!! Loving”.  It was decided that SMAP stood for “SPORTS MUSIC ASSEMBLE PEOPLE”. However, now SMAP stands for (S) Subarashii (Great) (M) MEMORIES (A) Arigato (Thank You) (P) POWER

It hasn’t been revealed yet which activities Goro, Tsuyoshi, and Shingo will pursue individually. Masahiro Nakai and Takuya Kimura will continue to be members of Johnny & Assocites.


  • Comments

    • Soyeon

      did the 6th member leave on bad terms why do they pretend he doesn’t exist??

      not expecting a mention in the statement, but even in like music station recaps they cut away from his face trying their best not to show it

      • ichirainbowlove

        The thing with that is complicated, from what I’ve seen SMAP are still on good terms with there former member. Because he left SMAP and je there not allowed to show anything of him without his permission becauses he’s considered a “normal” person. It’s the same with every group that has had members leave. There’s not a lot of point showing there faces on VTRs anyway as they are former members not current.

        • gerorin

          SMAP don’t cut out Mori’s parts in old performance clips. Just look at SmaSma when they show performance or old bistro eps when they just started. Mori’s face, speaking parts etc didn’t get cut off. Other groups cut ex members from clips, but they let SMAP do what they want.


        Nope. Mori left because he had to prioritize his racing career. And no, they don’t pretend he doesn’t exist. Mori always watches SMAP concerts, and they mention whenever he’s around even though it’s not allowed.

        Shows tend to cut Mori’s face basically because he’s not there anymore. But SMAP freely talks about Mori. THEY LOVE MORI.

        • 🆗🆒

          Yup they dont care even they are not allowed they mention Mori anyway whenever they like..

        • Soyeon

          that’s good to hear, thanks!

        • Guest

          I mean, that’s true for the last few years but they did spend years not mentioning him at all.

      • gerorin

        They never pretended he never existed, what are you on about.

        SMAP is still the only group that freely talks about ex members, and Nakai always mentions how close and how fond he was of Mori.

        Other groups won’t even mention ex members names. Not even the supposedly daring Tegoshi could talk about ex members like that. But they’re SMAP so they’re, as always, the exception.

        • hum

          Tegoshi has mentioned Taka before but always got scolded by the rest of the members. The only ex-members NEWS are allowed to talk about freely, which they do a lot, are Yamapi and Ryo.

          • gerorin

            Huh. When they’re in general talk shows like Nittere’s tokuban, etc, he never mentioned names. I’m interested to watch him mention Taka or Ryo or Pi, dyou remember when/what show he mentioned them?

            Usually for the younger groups they’re more prone to name names at live MCs, or radio shows, but refrain to do so on TV. Nakai does it in tokubans, in prime time talk shows never seemed to get reprimanded.

            • kamben is here

              Johnny’s talents are basically free to mention members who left the groups in a ‘non-scandalous’ way. I mean, Ryo and Pi did not/were not forced to leave NEWS thanks to underage smoking/drinking/drugs (remember what happened to Uchi and Kusano?). Taka was in NEWS for only a short while, he left and later joined a different agency and formed a rock band. While he did not leave the group because of ‘scandals’, you must consider the fact that J&A no longer ‘owns’ Taka thus they can’t mention him as they please, especially on TV (being mainstream and all).

              “Usually for the younger groups they’re more prone to name names at live MCs, or radio shows, but refrain to do so on TV. ”

              Yes, because lives and radio shows are mostly being watched by fans, while TV is mostly being watched by the general public. This doesn’t only apply to younger johnny’s, but japanese artists in general.

              About SMAP. Mori left SMAP for his racing career, and this is not taboo or anything, and I agree with you on this “But they’re SMAP so they’re, as always, the exception.”.

              • gerorin

                Yeah Pi and Ryo didn’t leave due to scandals, but neither of them ever mentioned NewS and vice versa on TV, because Johnny’s rarely ever do and it creates headlines. And yeah, that’s my point exactly about only being more outspoken in radio shows and live MCs which is why what SMAP did is still rare.

                Actually it really is more of a Johnny’s thing to not mention ex members on TV, it’s not like ex-Checkers would refuse to mention Fujii Fumiya just because they’ve disbanded or anything. Same with, for instance, MAX members that don’t refuse to mention Namie Amuro and how they all used to be in the same group together. Or that ex-Exile vocalist before Takahiro got into the group, he still got mentioned too. It’s a testament to how Johnny’s Jimusho still holds a lot of power in the media that their talents are under the unwritten rule in regards to ex-members that the TV people also adhere to, which doesn’t apply to most other talents.

                • Dee

                  Hmmm. if you following Yamapi often talking about NEWS members, even tegoshi, on tv shows and radio.
                  and some salty NEWS fans hate him for that.
                  My guess talents under iijima were less strict than in julie/mary and J&A can’t fully control them.
                  but now everyone is same boss. who’s know?

            • Reileen

              KAT-TUN and NEWS often talk abt members leaving that it’s become a running joke in variety shows.
              KAT-TUN was on Yakai and Shiyagare when they mentioned ex members. Kame mentioned abt meeting Akanishi for the first time in years during a presscon. They talk abt ex members in concerts. Even the last 10ks concerts got covered in morning shows. In Music Station VTR, they don’t cut old clips so you see current KAT-TUN looking into old 6nin clips w/c was awkward but they said they decided it should be like that bec they are part of KT history.

              • gerorin

                They made a running self depreciating joke about it, yes, but mostly they don’t name names. They didn’t name names in shabekuri too, just a ‘yeah we lost another one’. And at Nittere’s ninki bangumi tokuban thing Twgoshi also only mentioned losing half their members, but avoided saying Pi or Ryo’s names.

                And yeah, I already acknowledged that most groups are more freer with what they say in concerts, especially if it’s the ones aren’t recorded for DVD, but much more careful on TV.

                • Reileen

                  If we’re talking about TV, I already mentioned several of the times KAT-TUN mentioned ex members names. The 10ks concert where Kame gave a speech on ex members and such were covered on TV. In the Yakai, they also had to mention ex members. Also the moment Kame mentioned meeting Akanishi which made news and also covered on TV. If they are gonna be strict about it, they can cut it out for broadcast but they did not. Also, 10ks best album CMs were flowing on TV and Shibuya and it had all members shown as well.

                  Ryo had to meet NEWS on Shounen Club and they had to mention his departure infront of Ryo himself. He even said Tegoshi changed from before.

                  Aside from TV, both KT and NEWS has plenty of essays and interviews of members leaving so it’s not like it’s such a taboo thing already. NEWS basically used their history as a marketing tool. Like what happened in MUSIC SAY 2016 where they were upfront with how they couldnt even use NEWS name during hiatus. Yamapi talks abt NEWS a lot too. IDK why we are looking for moments they specifically say ex members names. For the most part, they probably don’t bec they don’t have anything to do with each other/ does not contact them anymore.

                  • gerorin

                    I mentioned specifically mentioning names because talking on TV and alluding to things/people while talking about a specific thing has been Johnny’s M.O.

                    And yes, I’ve mentioned that concert and live MCs are where they tend to be more outspoken, they’re basically on home turf surrounded by fans, which is why talking on a (especially golden time) TV show is riskier and prone to generate more headlines/endless talks on daytime news/waido shows.

                    Quotes on TV is how you’ll get Terry Ito and Sakagami Shinobu talking about your shit for days and making more of a mark on the public’s conscious whether positive or negative. It’s very understandable why Johnny’s Jimusho does that, but it’s also obvious that other Jimushos don’t get the luxury to stay mum like that, that they’ll get barraged of questions by the Inoue Kouzous of the world, but Johnny’s do. And so when one of their talents went “off script” on TV it’s surprising enough to be noteworthy.

                    • Rising Sun

                      They did mentioned the ex members’ names on TV:

                      “If we’re talking about TV, I already mentioned several of the times KAT-TUN mentioned ex members names. The 10ks concert where Kame gave a speech on ex members and such were covered on TV. In the Yakai, they also had to mention ex members. Also the moment Kame mentioned meeting Akanishi which made news and also covered on TV. If they are gonna be strict about it, they can cut it out for broadcast but they did not. Also, 10ks best album CMs were flowing on TV and Shibuya and it had all members shown as well. You said they cut them on VTRs but they actually don’t.”

                      So its not only apply to SMAP only. They just didnt appear on golden time TV and happen to talk about the ex-members like Nakai.

    • G

      I’m glad Nakai is staying too.

    • omg

      In other words, Johnny doesn’t want to renew their contracts therefore they’re fired! Old man and the witch lady only want to keep Nakai and Kimutaku. The two most popular cash cows for him.

      • gerorin

        Katori does more CMs than Kimura in recent years and for jimushos that’s where the money is. If it’s about cash cows only they wouldn’t have let any of them go, as their fee is significantly higher than everybody else in the jimusho thus their projects generate more income percentage for jyanis.

    • merkypie

      be free, my children. be free.

    • Taima-kun

      more surprised that Nakai didn’t join them when we’ve all been bombarded by rumors of the 4 of them quitting

      • na

        nah nakai will be taking over this company in a few years. no reason for him to leave.

        • gerorin

          Nah, if any of the talents would officially take over it’ll go to the likes of Higashiyama and Tackey. Nakai doesn’t know nor care about the inner workings of the jimusho. He used to only work through Iijima, he never goes to the office, etc.

          • asd123

            Really? Nakai was the only hope for me to change this disgusting agency. Did u know what happened in FNS 2015? Every other Johnny’s group left when SMAP is on stage, shows how fucking dark the agency is. On the other hand, Nakai and other members chose to make fun of it so it will become a joke in SxS (tho it got cut) and how did the agency treat them?
            Never did once did I believe they disbanded because “they have some sort of disagreement”. Anyway, I am glad the three left and two top stayed. The media can’t fake more 4vs1 with this situation.

            • Himi Tsu

              What is dark about that? o.O To be honest, I don’t remember them quitting the stage, but wouldn’t that be a prepared part of the choreography?

              • asd123

                There is one year of an FANS festival of Johnny’s group (except SMAP cos Nakai had appeared on a TV show in the same slot so they can’t appear yet) that all stood up and clapped during the performance of a Johnny’s senpai (can’t spell his name, basically is one of the oldest Johnny’s and Mary’s favourite). Now people had took a screenshot of that and it went viral on SNS/2ch related places, only Johnny’s fan have praised that but to be honest most other people find that scene quite disturbing because people find their facial expressions as not being happy and rather forced on the screenshot.

                Now, I will not assume how they felt at that time but it was the EXACT same FNS event as the time SMAP was left out. So all that clapping and standing was to show how is the fucking boss, in a fucking disgusting way.

                The reason why you can’t remember is because it wasn’t exposed to the public, if it was exposed a lot more people will have believes in SMAP rather than the newspaper. I only found it out in 2016 because Japanese SMAP fans were talking about it. If it’s only one or two people then there might be a possibility that it is false but I have saw a LOT of people talking about it. People who went as the audience for FNS and SxS proved that it’s true (even tho it was cut).

                If you don’t believe you can go back and watch FNS 2015 cos I can pretty sure you can see a glimpse of it and feel the difference in heat.

      • I think Nakai enjoyed freedom more than any other idols in the company so there should be no reason for him to leave. Plus, he still rack in most money among celebrities so a change will probably unlikely on his side.

        I remember that he once said that he feels afraid if SMAP members suddenly want to disband (like they all he has) but seeing how he also wanted out of the group, I guess the feeling has changed over the years.

    • james

      good luck for 3 of them.

    • CC

      There are no official statement out that Kimura and Nakai are staying etiher. The media is just assuming that both will be continuing their activities as J&A.

      • iora89

        i’m pretty sure kimutaku is staying. when the disbandment was announced, he was the only one who was sure to stay. nakai is a surprise for me.

        • CC

          But still no official statement. Those are all reports from the media. Kimura never once said in any interview or confirmed the 4:1 split.
          I don’t know I guess I’m still trying to be hopeful that they’ll all leave this horrible place and be free.

          • Himi Tsu

            Isn’t it up to them to judge if this place is “horrible” and whether they’re feeling “free” or not.. ? Maybe they’re enjoying it pretty much ? As you said, the media are assuming things, but you are too. And if we imagine they have something like a 3-months warning (like in standard company – which fit with them informing they’re leaving in June when the contract should be signed in September) before “resigning/not signing the contract anymore”, then it would be safe to think that only these 3 are leaving. Then again, as you said : It’s assuming things.

            • CC

              I think it’s pretty obvious how horrible the agency is with the way they treated SMAP since the disbandment uproar. I’ve been a SMAP fan for 16 years, so you can imagine how heartbroken I was that they had to publicly embrassed themselves with the so called apology on live tv last year. None of this makes any sense. It might be just me being a hopeful.
              The media has fabricated many stories which cannot be true. Like with Shingo, he’s been the “punching bag” throughout the whole uproar. Kimura too his image has been tainted bc he is labeled as being the traitor. I don’t know what to say anymore. I’m just glad the younger 3 are out. And praying 2 tops will follow.

              • Sorry I’m not very familiar with SMAP but why the apology in the tv last year was embarrassing?

                Isnt it 4 of them wanted out that indefinite hiatus is also out of question for them?

                • CC

                  Basically media leaked that smap was disbanding in Jan 2016. Apparently behind the scenes Smap has already decided they will not disband and each memeber has come into agreement with each other. Many people speculated that JE was the one who leaked the disbandment to the media to cause an uproar. They want Smap out because Mary hates Smap and their ex manger Ijima who left the company a few months ago.
                  So with that happening there was a live broadcast during SmapxSmap where all memebers each apologizing for all the frenzy they caused, and they will continue on as a group. If you watch the video it’s obvious they didn’t want to be there and it was difficult for each of them to even utter their words. It really felt like someone was pointing a gun in their heads to be out there.
                  What puzzles me is Why have 5 successful top idols in their 40s apologize to fans/public for something that wasn’t even their fault? Also why was Kimura the one speaking when Nakai (leader) casted on the side? As a fan I did not want to see them like this.
                  Something definitely happened between the members between mid jan and august.

                  • Sorry for the late reply but for me, it seemed like the members themselves wanted out.

                    GratefulToSMAP said in this post (http://disq.us/p/1b1491v) and I agree with her:

                    “I get your point of view mostly but SMAP members has sent out their personal statements right? From the words itself, it is clear that Kimura wants to stay and his statement was emotional. His words clearly shows his exasperation about splitting. But the other 4 members’ statements are so impersonal like “We’re out. Sayonara everyone!” I really feel that the 4 of them want out so badly. Moreover, if you watch the past year’s SMAP videos, they are clearly listless with each other and interactions are kept at a bare minimum. 2016 SMAP is so different from past 24 years of SMAP. Are their statements and actions not enough to understand their intentions?

                    I feel like SMAP fans are not gonna believe anything until we see an actual VIDEO of words coming out of the 5 members’ mouths. No one is going to believe anything until we see a live broadcast but come on, how much proof do we need before it’s enough to convince fans that it’s SMAP who wants to leave and not JE forcing them? Even in the January apology live broadcast, the 5 members were already apologising LIVE and fans still went “That’s unlike them. They look unnatural. They are being forced to say all this. JE has a gun to their head to say this etc etc.” There is NOTHING they can do that can convince fans because fans will always spin the story to their own liking.

                    As I said in a comment in a previous post, all 5 members have a strong personality and are not afraid to speak their mind. I’m sure they have exchanged endless harsh words with each other debating over their existence as a band and these are words they cannot take back and the damage is done. It has furthered soured their relationship to a point where they’re like let’s just end this shit. They have enough wealth, enough fame and enough talent to live without SMAP anymore, there’s no reason for them to continue to go about their daily lives bickering with each other and the agency. I’m sure they just want peace now after months of this turmoil and peace can only be attained if they split. And they have dedicated so many years of their lives to SMAP, I think they also finally want to take some time to enjoy their personal lives.”

                    Am I missing something? Why some fans insist they were forced to disband when their words and behaviors shows otherwise?

          • iora89

            idk, the fact that kimutaku is the only one who did not attend the year end party says something. tbh, the only one people who knows what’s the real deal is smap themselves. we can only assume things until they clarify it. i understand that they want different things now but what makes me sad is that it ended this way, members having issues. they may not be the best of friends but they are with each other for more than 20 years! they practically grew up with each other :(

            • Thats the most shocking to me too the fact that the members having issues with each other. What really happened to make them this way I wonder..

          • Guest

            Well, obviously there’ll be no official statement regarding this ever but it’s pretty clear it is true.

            • CC

              You are right, companies do not issue a statement if their employee is staying in the company. But I will keep my faith until September. There were reports saying that Nakai asked JE to give him an extension to declare his intentions for Sept because of all his shows etc. If 2 Tops don’t leave within this year, then I will give up my hopes

        • Kisahkata

          Johnny’s watcher said that Shizuka Kudo is planning on debuting Kokomi under JA. Thats why Kimutaku stays. So, if Kimutaku family trust JA enough to grooms their precious daughter, it means JA isn’t that black.

          • CC

            Judging from how kimura raised both of their daughters all these years I cannot imagine that to be true. They’ve always been extremely private and low profile with them. But this could be due to JE not wanting him to show off his married life with children.

            • iora89

              but JE never handled women talents (well they did before but it was only for a short period of time). idt that rumor is true but who knows.

    • 🆗🆒

      Yes! They are free…

    • IDK, I think their activities will be limited if they leave J&A. As much as everyone hates the company, the name attached to it can secure you spot in dramas or tv appearances no matter how limited is your talent (lol).

      I wish them the best. I really hope they will release a ‘tell all’ book once they are free. Because I’m dying to know the real reason why they suddenly just want to disband after so long with the company (even indefinite hiatus is out of the question). What changed? The members? The company? The relationship?

    • 1996liner

      Are they gonna get black listed though?

      • guest

        Not forever, at least. I read an article somewhere that said there would be a blanket ban (for them) on TV for 2 years. I can’t remember which article screenshot I read that from though, it was in Japanese.

      • gerorin


      • iora89

        nah. they are still kusanagi, katori and goro. they’re too famous that JE cant do anything about it.

    • neko

      I wanted tsuyoshi to stay :(

    • ProllyWild

      I wouldn’t read too much into Nakai staying. His contractual obligations may be reason for it. That or he just doesn’t care and wants to just keep making his money in silence without the burden of SMAP related activities.

    • Mayura

      Can’t say we didn’t see that coming.

    • Urara Kasugano

      Everyone is talking about dark side of johnnys and stuff by I don’t understand a thing. Can someone educate me too?

      • circe154

        Johnny is a pedophile and if the agency is pushing someone, he’s molested them. A couple of former members have come forward over the years, but the media either didn’t cover them (because Johnny’s threatened to pull their talents) or they were sued.

        • Nika Jer

          I can’t say about 80s, but I’m sure this is not happening now. Nakamaru and Morimoto wouldn’t bring their brothers. And most important Okamoto Kenichi wouldn’t bring his son to such agency. And don’t tell me he has prirvileges))

          • Nika Jer

            I mean Tanaka. Sorry lol

          • circe154

            Considering Johnny’s age, it probably isn’t.

          • Himi Tsu

            I agree :)

            Didn’t the Morimoto brothers join around the same time ?

            • Nika Jer

              No. Ryutaro joined in 2004 together with Yamada. And Shintaro joined in 2006.

      • Guest

        Johnny is a rapist/pedophile.

    • monica_monami

      I’m just glad that Nakai stayed.

    • Khamaruddin Agam

      i watching minameya (news program), they said that shingo will retire from entertaining business, and will start on art, and they said it will be 3 vs 1 vs 1 (goro, kusanagi, shingo vs kimutaku vs nakai) i dont know that news true or not,

      • CC

        This is purely just a speculation. No confirmation has been made about their future plans post JE. At least for Tsuyoshi & Shingo they have spoken out during their TV shows that they love what they do and will love to continue working forever.

    • faifantc

      I’m glad that they were allowed to leave on good terms…

      It makes me think though… No wonder Johnny’s doesn’t take in older boys as an agency… they have to be young enough not to understand that by joining, they’re signing up for life.