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End of an era: Japanese pop group SMAP breaks up


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For nearly three decades, millions of Japanese have clamored for their every album, lined up in anticipation for their concerts, and gathered together on Monday nights to see their hit TV show. Now, Japan’s longest-running boy band SMAP is breaking up. It is the end of an era on the Japanese cultural landscape.

SMAP is a wildly popular band. Clocking up over 35 million album sales, it is one of the most successful music acts in Japanese history. Its most famous single, “The Only Flower in the World,” is regularly taught in Japan’s schools.

SMAP, an acronym for “Sports Music Assemble People,” has legions of fans in Taiwan, China, South Korea and throughout Asia. The five members — Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori — have also hosted one of Japan’s top-rated variety shows, “SMAP×SMAP.” The last episode of the show is scheduled for Monday. 

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