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每日跟讀#543: An Aging Boy Band Calls It Quits, but Japan Can’t Let Go

男孩樂團變老喊解散 日人不放手

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English
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每日跟讀#543: An Aging Boy Band Calls It Quits, but Japan Can’t Let Go

For nearly three decades, millions of Japanese have clamored for their every album, lined up with breathless anticipation for their concerts and gathered on Monday nights for their hit television show.

Now, the nation is awash with anguish over word that SMAP — Japan’s longest-running boy band, if it can still be called that with its youngest member pushing 40 — is splitting up.

將近30年來,無數日本人每逢他們發專輯就叫好搶購,排隊屏息期待他們的演唱會,並在周一夜聚在一起觀賞他們火紅的電視節目。

現在,SMAP即將解散這消息讓這個國家陷入了愁雲慘霧。SMAP是日本歷史最悠久的男孩樂團,如果它還能稱作男孩樂團的話,最年輕的成員都已年近40。

The news has dominated newspaper headlines and television talk shows since the band’s announcement this month. Even the mayor of Tokyo and two members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet have weighed in. One said he was worried about the effect on the Japanese economy, the world’s third-largest.

“We will not let them stop!” a grieving fan wrote in one of more than a dozen petitions on change.org pleading with the aging heartthrobs to remain together. “If we let them go and disband, it means Japan is finished.”

樂團決定解散的消息本月宣布後,隨即攻占報紙的頭條和電視談話節目。甚至東京都知事和首相安倍晉三內閣的兩位成員也發表看法。其中一人表示擔心日本經濟會受影響,日本是世界第三大經濟體。

change.org網站上懇求這個已有歲數的偶像天團不要解散的請願文一打不止,一名傷心粉絲寫道:「我們不准他們喊停!如果我們讓他們走和解散,日本也就完了。」

To understand the bedlam unfolding here, think of the Beatles’ breaking up, the airing of the final episode of “Seinfeld” and the “conscious uncoupling” of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin all rolled into one — the end of an era on the Japanese cultural landscape.

SMAP’s most famous saccharine single, “The Only Flower in the World,” is regularly taught in Japan’s schools. But SMAP is not just a wildly popular band whose albums have sold more than 35 million copies, making it one of the most successful musical acts in Japanese history.

想了解此間的抓狂狀態,不妨想像「披頭四」分手、「歡樂單身派對」播出最後一集,以及好萊塢女星葛妮絲派楚和丈夫克里斯馬丁「清醒分手」的三合一效果──它代表日本文化景觀一個時代的謝幕。

SMAP最知名的甜蜜單曲「世界上唯一的花」,是日本學校的必教歌曲。SMAP唱片總銷量超過3500萬張,是日本史上最成功的樂團,然而它卻不只是個紅到不行的樂團。

For two decades, its five members — Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori — have also hosted one of Japan’s top-rated television programs, “SMAP X SMAP,” a family-friendly variety show in which they cook for celebrity guests, compete in games, perform comedic skits and, of course, sing. Each has starred on his own in numerous television series, movies and commercials. The frontman, Nakai, has been a newscaster for several Olympic Games.

20年來,SMAP的5位成員,中居正廣、木村拓哉、稻垣吾郎、草彅剛和香取慎吾,同時是日本收視率極高電視節目「SMAP X SMAP」的主持人。他們在這個適合闔家觀賞的綜藝節目中為名人嘉賓做菜、玩競賽遊戲、表演喜劇橋段,當然,還有唱歌。每一團員都獨自在許多電視連續劇、電影和廣告中擔綱。主唱中居正廣還是數屆奧運的新聞主播。

The group, whose members started out as teenagers performing on skateboards and now range in age from 39 to 44, managed to both broaden its audience beyond adolescent girls and hold on to them over the years. Many of their most ardent fans are women who grew up with them.

SMAP, an acronym for Sports Music Assemble People, also has legions of fans in China, South Korea, Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia.

這個天團的成員出道時是青少年,在滑板上表演,現今年齡在39到44歲間。多年來他們既成功擴大觀眾群,不讓它只限於青少女,又牢牢抓住這些青少女。許多最死忠的粉絲是和他們一起長大的女性。

SMAP是「運動音樂結合人類」的縮寫,在大陸、南韓、台灣和亞洲其他地區都有粉絲軍團。

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/302673/web/

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