Sony Music Entertainment Japan
Sony Music Entertainment Inc. abbreviated as SMEJ or SME, known as Sony Music Japan for short, is Sony's music arm in Japan. SMEJ is directly owned by Sony Corporation and independent from the United States-based Sony Music Entertainment due to its strength in the Japanese music industry, its subsidiaries including the Japanese animation production enterprise, established in September 1995 as a joint-venture between Sony Music Entertainment Japan and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, but which in 2001 became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan. It was prominent in the early to mid'90s producing and licensing music for animated series such as Roujin Z from acclaimed Japanese comic artist Katsuhiro Otomo and Capcom's Street Fighter animated series; until March 2007, Sony Music Japan had its own North American sublabel, Tofu Records. Releases of Sony Music Japan now appear on Columbia Records and/or Epic Records in North America. Sony does not have the trademark rights to the Columbia name in Japan, so releases under Columbia Records from another country appears on Sony Records in Japan, but retains the usage of the "walking eye" logo.
The Columbia name and trademark is controlled by Nippon Columbia, which was, in fact, the licensee for the American Columbia Records up until 1968 though relations were severed as far back as World War II. Nippon Columbia does not have direct relations with the British Columbia Graphophone Company, so the licensee for the British Columbia Graphophone Company was Toshiba Musical Industries. With Sony Corporation of America's buyout of Bertelsmann's stake in Sony BMG, Sony Music Entertainment Japan stepped in to acquire outstanding shares of BMG Music Japan from Sony BMG, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Japan. Sony Music Entertainment Japan was incorporated in March 1968 as a Tokyo-based 50/50 joint venture between Sony Corporation and U. S. conglomerate CBS to distribute the latter's music releases in Japan. The company was incorporated with Sony co-founder Akio Morita as president. Norio Ohga was part of the management team from the formation of the company and served as president and representative director since April 1970.
In 1972, when CBS/Sony was generating robust profits, Ohga was named chairman and at the same time gained further responsibility and influence within Sony. He would continue to work for the music company one morning a week. In 1980, Toshio Ozawa succeeded Ohga as president. In 1983, the company was renamed CBS/Sony Group. In January 1988, after more than a year of negotiations, Sony acquired CBS Records and the 50% of CBS/Sony Group that it did not own. In March 1988, four wholly owned subsidiaries were folded into CBS/Sony Group: CBS/Sony Inc. Epic/Sony Records Inc. CBS/Sony Records Inc. and Sony Video Software International. The company was renamed Inc.. Shugo Matsuo was named new president in January 1992, replacing Toshio Ozawa, appointed to the post of chairman. Overall sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1991 were 83.8 billion yen with a pretax profit of 9.2 billion yen. In June 1996, Ryokichi Kunugi became the new president. Shugo Matsuo was named chairman. Shigeo Maruyama was appointed to the new post of CEO on October 1, 1997 and replaced Kunugi as president in February 1998.
As of 2007, Naoki Kitagawa is the current CEO of the group. In May 2018, SMEJ acquired a 39% stake in the Peanuts comic strip franchise from DHX Media. Sony Music Entertainment announced the launch of its first video game publishing label, Unties, in October 2017. Unties will publish indie games for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Nintendo Switch, PC; the name was selected by Sony as representative of helping to "unleash" the power of independent video game development and "unshackle" such developers from the traditional video game publishing process. Unties’ first release was Tiny Metal, a turn-based tactics video game developed by Area 35, for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC; the game was first premiered at PAX West Indie Megabooth. Published Azure Reflections, a side-scrolling bullet hell developed by Souvenir Circ. on May 15 2018 for the PS4. Published Touhou Gensou Wanderers Reloaded, a roguelike rpg developed by Aqua Style, for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC. Published Necrosphere, a platformer developed by Cat Nigiri, for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, PSVita.
Published Midnight Sanctuary, a VR/3D Novel game developed by CAVYHOUSE, for the PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC. Published Tokyo Dark, a visual novel mystery adventure hybrid developed by Cherrymochi, for the PC. Published Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers, an arcade racing game developed by Pocket, for the Nintendo Switch on August 30 2018. Scheduled to publish on Last Standard, a 3d action game developed by I From Japan, intended for PC. Scheduled to publish The Good Life, a daily-life rpg developed by White Owls Inc. for the PS4 and PC. Scheduled to publish Merkava Avalanche, a 3d cavalry warfare action game developed by WinterCrownWorks, for the PC. Scheduled to publish Olija, an action adventure game developed by Skeleton Crew Studio, for the PC. Scheduled to publish Deemo Reborn, a music rhythm and urban fantasy game developed by Taiwanese studio Rayak, for the PS4 with PSVR support. Scheduled to publish Giraffe and Anika, a 3d adventure game developed by Atelier Mimina, for the PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Scheduled to publish 3rd Eye, a 2d horror exploration game, based on the Touhou franchise, for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC. Scheduled to publish Gensokyo Defenders, a tower-defense game developed by Neetpia, for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch; the company's leading role on the Ja
Johnny & Associates
Johnny & Associates is a Japanese talent agency, formed by Johnny Kitagawa in 1962, which trains and promotes groups of male entertainers known as Johnny's. In 1962, Kitagawa launched Johnnys. Six years Four Leaves, a boy band created by the agency, became successful. Since Kitagawa has formed a number of successful acts, such as solo artist Masahiko Kondo, whose song, "Orokamono", won the 1987 Japan Record Award, Hikaru Genji, the first Johnny group with three singles on the Japanese Oricon yearly chart in 1988. During the 1990s Johnny & Associates began declining nominations from the Japan Record Awards and the Japan Academy Awards due to a dispute about the musical genre of one of their groups at the 32nd Japan Record Awards. Another reason cited was that the nominations would engender competition among Johnny groups and with other nominees. SMAP debuted in 1991, hosting television and radio shows, appearing in commercials and acting on television and film; the group's 2003 single, "Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana", sold over 2.57 million copies and became the ninth-bestselling single in Japan.
In 1997 the agency founded Johnny's Entertainment. Two years the Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun published a series of articles alleging that adolescent male agency clients had been sexually abused and coerced into drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. Johnny & Associates sued the magazine's publisher, Bungeishunjū. In 2002, the Tokyo District Court awarded the agency ¥8.8 million in damages, Bungeishunjū appealed the ruling to the Tokyo High Court. The court reduced the damages to ¥1.2 million, ruling that the allegations of sexual exploitation were true but the reports of drinking and smoking were defamatory. In 2006, Oricon sued journalist Hiro Ugaya when he was quoted in a Cyzo magazine article suggesting that the company manipulated its statistics to benefit certain management companies and labels (specifically, Johnny & Associates. Ugaya condemned the action as a strategic lawsuit against public participation, it was dropped by Oricon with no charges filed against the journalist.
In 2007, temporary Johnny's Jr. group, Hey! Say! 7, broke a record as the youngest male group to top Oricon charts, with an average age of 14.8 years. That year, Hey! Say! JUMP broke a record as the largest group with ten members. On November 19, 2010, Masahiko Kondo received the Best Vocal Performance award at the 52nd Japan Record Awards. After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami Johnny & Associates cancelled or postponed 18 concerts, including shows by Tomohisa Yamashita and Tackey & Tsubasa. Generators, trucks and 2,000 litres of gasoline which would have been used at the concerts were donated to the relief effort; the agency began Marching J, for the Tōhoku earthquake victims. Hey! Say! JUMP, SMAP, KinKi Kids, V6, Arashi and Tsubasa, NEWS, Kanjani8, KAT-TUN and Johnny’s Juniors participated in the fundraiser, which included talk sessions and a cappella performances; the agency planned to hold one fundraiser per month for a year. The next event, a baseball tournament featuring Johnny’s Juniors, was held on May 29.
On September 18, 2011, Kitagawa received Guinness World Record awards for the most number-one singles and the most concerts produced by an individual. His shows have been attended by an estimated 48,234,550 people. Johnny & Associates trainees are known as Johnny's Jr. Juniors perform their songs and those by established artists on variety shows, such as Shounen Club, are backup dancers for the agency's established groups. List of record labels Hadaka no Shōnen Official website Johnny's Jr. Channel on YouTube ISLAND TV Virtual Johnny's Project - SHOWROOM
Takuya Kimura known as Kimutaku, is a Japanese actor, radio personality. He is regarded as a Japanese icon after achieving success as an actor, he was a popular member of SMAP, one of the best-selling boy bands in Asia. A 1996 television drama series, Long Vacation, in which he landed his first lead role, became a massive success, creating a phrase called the Lon-bake phenomenon, he was given the title, "The King of Ratings", as his subsequent television series continued to generate high ratings and each show becoming a social phenomenon as they aired. Five of his works are ranked in the 10 best-viewed TV drama series in Japan, which top is his 2001 drama series, Hero, he starred in blockbuster films, including Love and Honor and Howl's Moving Castle. In 1987, at age 15, Kimura auditioned to enter Johnny & Associates, a talent agency that recruits and trains young boys, preteens to teens, to become singers and members of boy bands. After five of the other band members auditioning individually from 1986 through 1987, in autumn 1987, twenty boys, from ages ten to seventeen, were put together into a group called The Skate Boys, created as backup dancers for a famous boy band, Hikaru Genji.
In April 1988, producer Johnny Kitagawa chose six out of the twenty boys to create a new boy band and named them "SMAP". In 1988, Kimura made his acting debut in a television series, Abunai Shonen III, along with his band members. After appearing in several television series, he first attracted attention after landing a role in a high-rated television series, Asunaro Hakusho, in 1993; the scene where he hugged his co-star Hikari Ishida from behind became popular in Japan and a man hugging a girl from behind was named "asunaro daki", meaning "asunaro hug". From 1994, men in Japan started copying his fashion and style, as clothes and fashion items became instant hits, the thick, black-rimmed glasses he wore in Asunaro Hakusho, being one of them; the phenomenon was collectively called the "Kimutaku syndrome". He won the Ishihara Yujiro New Artist Award for his performance in Shoot, in which he made his screen debut, he first landed the lead role in Long Vacation in 1996. The series, which aired every Monday night, saw massive success and was the highest-rated program that year, thus becoming a social phenomenon.
Media stated that, "women disappear from the city on Mondays", pointing out the large viewership and how intoxicating the show was for women in Japan. After Kimura playing a young pianist, there was a rapid increase of young men who started taking piano lessons; the cultural impact and influences of the show is referred to as the "Lonvaca phenomenon". This was a breakthrough for Kimura as an actor and helped him gain recognition and a more broad fan base. In 2000, he starred in a television series, Beautiful Life, which became a massive hit, with the final episode marking above the 40% household share rating and becoming the highest-rated program for that slot. In 2001, Kimura starred in Hero, which became the all-time highest-rated television series in Japan and the only program in history to have all episodes mark above the 30% household share rating. Subsequent television series, such as Good Luck!!, Pride and Engine generated high-ratings. Five of his most successful television series, Beautiful Life, Love Generation, Good Luck!!, Long Vacation are ranked in the top ten highest-rated television series in Japanese history.
In 2004, he played a supporting role in a Cannes-nominated film 2046, walked the red carpet of Cannes Festival for the first time. He played the title role of Howl's Moving Castle as a voice actor in 2004, he was the lead actor in Honor. Although he was nominated for numerous prestigious awards for Love and Honor, including the Japan Academy Award, his agency, Johnny & Associates, declined all nominations, though some organizations still announced him as the winner, such as the Tokyo Sports Film Awards, headed by Kitano Takeshi and Cinema Junpo. Earning over 40.3 billion yen, the film became the biggest hit for director Yoji Yamada during his four-decade career, as well as becoming the biggest box-office earner in Shochiku's history. As a member of boysband Smap, he used to co-host a weekly variety show SMAPxSMAP for 20 years until December 2016 and they welcomed a number of international celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga as well as Japanese guests, he has showed up in other shows as an actor occasionally.
He hosts an annual TV variety called Santaku with comedian Sanma Akashiya in new year since 2003, but in 2017 it was broadcast in April due to the official disbanding of the band on New Year's Eve. Kimura married singer Shizuka Kudo on December 5, 2000, they have two daughters, born on May 1, 2001 and Mitsuki, born on February 5, 2003. Takuya Kimura was the previous brand ambassador for the Japanese men's grooming brand GATSBY, promoting its iconic Moving Rubber series. 7th Nikkan Sports Film Awards: Ishihara Yujiro New Artist Award... Shoot! Elan d'Or Award: Newcomer of the Year... Shoot! 11th Japan Jeans Makers Association: Best Jeanist 3rd Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Outfit... Wakamono no Subete 31st Galaxy Award - Individual Performance award... Wakamono no Subete 7th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Outfit... Jinsei wa Jojo da 12th Japan Jeans Makers Association: Best Jeanist 13th Japan Jeans Makers Association: Best Jeanist 9th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Actor... Long Vacation 10th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Actor...
Masahiko Kondō or Matchy is a Japanese singer, actor, racing car manager and former semi-professional racing driver represented by Johnny & Associates. He was part of the Tanokin Trio. Kondō is a semi-professional racing driver and a racing team owner, he founded the racing team Kondo Racing in 2000 which competes in Formula Nippon and the Super GT. As a part of the agency Johnny & Associates Kondō was signed to the record label RVC, his debut single "Sneaker Blues" debuted at number-one on the Oricon weekly single charts in December 1980. With the single he became the first artist to have a debut single to go straight in at number one on Oricon at release; as of 2008, he is the only solo male singer to have a debut single to debut at number one in his teens in Oricon history. The single topped the Oricon charts for five consecutive weeks, sold over one million copies. On March 5, 1981, Kondō released his first studio album Thank Ai You, he wrote the lyrics of the songs "Gloria" and "Just A Dance" for the album.
Thank Ai You topped the Oricon weekly charts making him the youngest solo male singer to have the debut album to reach number one on the charts at the age of 16 years 8 months. In 1982, he scored another hit called Passion Hot Wind Blown Away which topped the Oricon weekly charts for two weeks. In 1985 Kondō moved from RVC to CBS Sony. On December 31, 1987, his song "Orokamono" won the grand prix award at the 29th Japan Record Awards. Kondō learned to drive when he was famous as a singer. Kondō had always had an interest in cars from an early age and driving on the track engendered his desire to drive race cars, he practiced and was accepted into a racing team when he was 19 in 1984 going on to having a moderately successful career on Japan's race circuit. In 1988 he took part in the All-Japan Formula Three Championship for the first time. On November 10, 1989, he released the single "Andalucia ni Akogarete", his cover version of the single by Masatoshi Mashima of Japanese punk rock band The Blue Hearts released on October 21, 1989.
While Mashima's original version peaked at number thirteen, Kondō's cover version reached number nine in the Oricon charts. In 1994, he took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time, his 1996 song "Midnight Shuffle" peaked at number four in the Oricon weekly single charts. The song was the theme of Japanese television drama Ginrō Kaiki File: Futatsu no Zunō o Motsu Shōnen, in which then-Johnny's Jr. Koichi Domoto played a main role. Kondō appeared on NHK's Kōhaku Uta Gassen annual TV show singing "Midnight Shuffle". From 1998 he went full-time into racing appearing on TV and not putting out any new songs, his occasional appearances on TV were as racing commentator. On May 22, 2002, he released a single but it was a cover for his 1985 song "Yoisho". In 2005 Kondō decided to make a full return as a singer for the 25th anniversary of his debut. On December 14, 2005, he released the single "Chōsensya", he held dinner shows and went on a limited concert tour. He joined many of his successors such as KinKi Kids, V6 and Arashi on their TV shows.
On January 25, 2006, Sony released Kondō's tribute album Matchy Tribute, in which Hitomi Takahashi covered the song "Midnight Shuffle". He released his greatest hits album Matchy Best on February 6, 2006; the album Matchy Best debuted at number fifteen on the Oricon album charts. On May 9, 2007, he released his first DVD work, Kondō Masahiko'07 Valentine's Day in Budokan, shot at his live concert at the Nippon Budokan on February 14, 2007; the DVD debuted at number one on the Oricon weekly music DVD charts. In December 2007, it was announced that Kondō collaborated with Johnny's Jr. the five-member of rock band Question?, forming the temporary group "Matchy with Question?" and singing the song "Mezamero! Yasei"; the song "Mezamero! Yasei" was used for the ending theme of anime series Naruto: Shippuden and was released as a CD single on January 23, 2008; the single debuted at number five on the Oricon charts and with the first week sales of around 40,000 copies. Kondō released the single "Banka" on December 23, 2008, the single "Motto" on December 13, 2009.
On February 22, 2010, he released the single "Zanbara". The first track, "Kokoro Zanbara", the second track, "Koi Zanbara", were composed by Hal and Tsukasa respectively; the lyrics of both songs were written by Kōhan Kawauchi. Kawauchi sent the lyrics of the song to Johnny & Associates in 1989 but it had never been released until Kawauchi's death in 2008; the reason given was that the song seemed to be too sad for Kondo whose mother died in 1986. On April 10, 2010, Kondō started his first nationwide concert tour in Japan 21 years after his 1989 nationwide tour. Graffiti Youth: Sneaker Blues Blue Jeans Memory Good Luck Love Highteen Boogie The Mysterious Gemini • Y&S Heart Beat The Japan Record Awards is a major music awards show held annually in Japan by the Japan Composer's Association. Official website Masahiko Kondō career summary at DriverDB.com
Tokio is a Japanese rock/pop band formed by Johnny & Associates that debuted in 1994. It is made up of five men who were signed with Sony Music Entertainment from 1994 to 2001, with Universal Music Japan from 2001 to 2008, are now signed under J Storm, a label owned by Johnny & Associates. In addition to their activities as a band, the members of Tokio act in dozens of dramas and host variety programmes, both as a group and individually; the group's name "Tokio" was the old English romanization for Japan's capital Tokyo, remains the current transliteration in several European languages. Unlike most other bands under Johnny & Associates, where all of the band members are only vocalists, Tokio only has one main vocalist, a drummer, a guitarist, a bassist, a keyboardist. Subsequently, less choreography is used in concerts and promotional videos, their music is more rock-centric. Like the members of SMAP, the members of Tokio performed as background dancers for the idol group Hikaru Genji in the form of the back-dancing group Heikeha, which involved members of the band V6.
In 1989, guitarist Shigeru Joshima and bassist Tatsuya Yamaguchi discovered they both played instruments in their own bands and decided to form their own, practicing in private and unknown to the company, calling themselves Joshima Band, or "Joh Band" for short. At one point, they called themselves'JURIA', combining their names using Joshima's "J", "URI" from the melon-shape of Yamaguchi's face, rhythm-guitarist member Takehito Asakura's "A". Johnny accepted them as a band, giving them the name "Tokio Band". At this point, members included Joshima and new support member, rhythm guitarist Kazuhisa Watanabe. In 1990, the original Tokio was formed when Joshima was put together with drummer Masahiro Matsuoka and keyboardist Taichi Kokubun, both of whom had joined Joshima and Yamaguchi in a few of their practices in the past. Rhythm guitarist and vocalist Hiromu Kojima joined the group soon after this. During this time, Joshima underwent negotiations with Johnny Kitagawa himself into allowing Yamaguchi to join the band, soon he became an official member as well.
Tomoya Nagase, another Junior vocalist, making more and more headlines, began appearing with the newly formed Tokio on occasion as a support member, which created a bit of odd tension as the group appeared in magazines and on the radio with five members, but on TV and live performances with six members. One of their first live tours included all six members. In 1994, just before the release of the band's debut single, "Love You Only", founding member Hiromu Kojima was succeeded by Nagase following Kojima's departure, their debut single was released on September 21, 1994. Two months on November 21, 1994, their debut and self-titled album, Tokio was released, their first performance after their debut was held on New Year's Eve at the 1994 NHK Kouhakutagassen. Soon after the release of Tokio, the band's first remix album was released in 1995, titled Tokio Remix. In 1996, the band recorded the song "7 O'Clock News" to be used as the theme song for the anime version of Kodocha. Due to licensing issues however, the song was not used as the theme song for the North American release of the series.
In 1996, the band's first compilation album was released, titled Best E. P Selection of Tokio. Throughout the rest of the decade, Tokio released 18 more singles and four more studio albums: Bad Boys Bound, Wild & Mild, Graffiti. From 1997 and onwards, some of the band's singles were used as theme songs in television shows drama shows. In 1997, "Furarete Genki" was used as the theme song to Psychometrer Eiji a drama Matsuoka starred in, "Julia" was used as the theme song for Seiji No Mikata, a drama that starred Taichi Kokubun. In 1999, "Love & Peace" was used as the theme song to Love and Peace, another drama that Matsuoka starred in, "Ai no Arashi" was used as the theme song for Psychometrer Eiji 2. In early 2000, Tokio released Today. Following the release of the single "Doitsu Mo Koitsu Mo" in early 2001, Tokio switch recording labels from Sony Music Entertainment to UMG. From the following single, "Oh! Heaven" was the theme song for Tengoku ni Ichiban Chikai Otoko, a drama that starred Matsuoka, "Hitoribotchino haburashi" was the theme song for Mukodono!, a drama starring Tomoya Nagase.
From on, the majority of subsequently released singles would be used as theme songs for dramas starring members of Tokio. In December 2001, the first album under Universal Music, 5 Ahead, was released. In May 2001, Tokio released their second compilation album, titled Best EP Selection of Tokio II. Since the release of the single "Ding Dong / Glider" in late 2002, the promotional videos for Tokio songs are directed by Masahiro Matsuoka. 2003 saw the release of Glider in February. In 2003, "Ambitious Japan!" was used as the theme song for JR Central's nozomi train services. In 2004, Taichi Kokubun took a leave from Tokio to form the temporary music unit Toraji Haiji with KinKi Kids member Tsuyoshi Domoto. Together they recorded the theme song for the movie Fantastipo. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of their debut, Tokio released their first cover album, TOK10 in September 2004. In February 2005, the tenth full-length album, Act II was released, they released the single "Ashita o Mezashite!" on December 7, 2005.
Tomoya Nagase composed and co-arranged the single with his lyrics, making it their first single composed by a member of the group. In 2005, Tokio was selected to be the host for the Johnny's Countdown 2005-2006 concert, a yearly event that counts down to the New Year. In 2006, Tokio released
SMAP was a Japanese boy band, composed of Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Shingo Katori. The group was created in 1988 by music producer Johnny Kitagawa, founder of Johnny & Associates as a six-piece with Katsuyuki Mori, until his departure from the band in 1996. After making their debut in 1991, the group took the Japanese entertainment industry by storm, becoming the most successful boy band in Japanese history and the bestselling band in Asia referred to as a "national treasure" and a "fortune and property of the country" in Japan. SMAP was regarded as an iconic figure in Japan, after achieving an unprecedented level of success in numerous genres in the entertainment industry, including music, film and theater, as a group and individually. Being the first boy band to have a career for more than twenty years and to have extended its activities into various fields outside of music, SMAP was credited for changing the Japanese entertainment and music industry, in terms of prolonging longevity of boy bands and broadening careers by creating new opportunities for bands that followed.
After starting out as a typical boy band, with a fan base predominantly female teens, they transformed into a band with a wider audience, expanding their fan base to preteens, male adults, the elderly, after their success as actors and television personalities. SMAP released 55 singles, all of which reached the top 10 in the charts, 22 consecutive number one singles, 33 number one singles in total; the band has had 14 number one albums. "The One and Only Flower in the World", released in 2003, is the best selling single in the 21st century and the third best selling single in Japanese history and has become the most recognized song in Japan, as it appears in text books used in school and children are taught to learn the song at a young age. Other best selling singles by the group include, "Beyond the Night Sky", "Lion Heart", "Shake", "Aoi Inazuma", which have become the most popular songs in Japan. Throughout their career, the band has sold over 35 million records in Japan alone. In April 1996, the group launched their weekly variety show, SMAP×SMAP, which gained high ratings and became one of the most famous television shows in Japan.
The distinct and unique format and originality of the program has received widespread critical praise. The show ranked #1 in the annual household share ratings in 1996, 1997, 1999 - 2002, 2006, 2016 making it the most watched television show in Japan; the episode aired in January 2002 is ranked #7 for the most watched Japanese variety show in history, with 34.2 million viewers. It is the eighth longest-running prime-time television program in Japan, as of 2016. SMAP disbanded on 31 December 2016. In 1986, Masahiro Nakai, auditioned to enter Johnny & Associates, a Japanese talent agency that recruits and trains young boys, preteens to teens, to become singers and members of boy bands. In 1987, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Katsuyuki Mori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Shingo Katori auditioned individually and joined the agency. In Autumn 1987, twenty boys, from ages ten to seventeen, were put together into a group called The Skate Boys, created as backup dancers for a famous boy band, Hikaru Genji. In April 1988, producer Johnny Kitagawa chose six out of the twenty boys to create a new boy band and named them "SMAP".
While the group continued to work as backup dancers for Hikaru Genji, they spent their early years as actors and television personalities. In 1988, they starred in a weekly variety program, Watto Atsumare, with Masataka Itsumi and Cha Kato and appeared until the program ended several months later. In 1989, they started to host their own music show, Uta no Big Fight and Pop City X, as well as appearing on a variety program, Idol Kyowakoku, from 1989 to 1991. In 1988, SMAP made their acting debut in a drama television series, Abunai Shonen III, playing themselves as the main role, their first self-titled variety program, SMAP no Gakuen Kids, aired from 1990 to 1991. On January 1, 1991, the band held their first concert in Nippon Budokan and their first tour from March through April, before releasing any music. On September 9, 1991, they released their first single, "Can't Stop -Loving-" from Victor Entertainment, which peaked at #2 on the charts. Subsequent singles, "Seigi no Mikata wa Ate ni Naranai", "Kokoro no Kagami", "Makeru na Baby" peaked in the top 10.
The band asked the fans to write the lyrics for "Kokoro no Kagami", the one submitted by a fourteen-year-old girl was chosen. The song was used in a Panasonic television commercial, they were invited to perform the song at Kohaku Uta Gassen, an annual music show, on December 31, 1991. At the same time of their debut, the Japanese music industry experienced what is referred to as an "Idol Ice Age", where many of the popular music shows that aired weekly since the 1980s ended, singers and bands lost a place to perform, resulting in scarce opportunities for TV exposure. Therefore, the agency decided to market the band through variety programs, where members participated in sketch comedies and game shows along with other television personalities; this non-mainstream marketing approach turned out to be a success, as the members' humorous and playful spirits on these shows propelled them to gain new fans, despite not having many musical performances on television since their debut. In 1991, the band's first self-titled television show, SMAP no Gakuen Kids, got renewed and changed to, I Love SMAP, which aired until 1996.
From October 7, 1991, Inagaki launched his radio program, Stop The SMAP, still airing as of 2016. From April 1992 to September 1995, t
A boy band is loosely defined as a vocal group consisting of young male singers in their teenage years or in their twenties at the time of formation, singing love songs marketed towards young women. Being vocal groups, most boy band members do not play musical instruments, either in recording sessions or on stage, making the term something of a misnomer. However, exceptions do exist. Many boy bands dance as well as sing giving choreographed performances; some such bands form on their own. They can evolve out of church choral or gospel music groups, but are created by talent managers or record producers who hold auditions. Due to this and their general commercial orientation towards a female audience of preteens, teenyboppers, or teens, the term may be used with negative connotations in music journalism. Boy bands are similar in concept to girl groups. Boy bands' popularity peaked four times: in the 1960s, in the 1990s and early 2000s when acts such as the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, A1 and Westlife, among others, dominated the top of the Billboard and pop charts, in the early 2010s with the emergence of new boy bands such as JLS, Big Time Rush and One Direction, in the late 2010s with pop groups such as BTS and 5 Seconds of Summer.
The earliest forerunner of boy band music began in the late 19th century as a cappella barbershop quartets. They were a group of males and sang in four-part harmonies. Barbershop quartets were popular into the earlier part of the 20th century. A revival of the male vocal group took place in the late 1940s and 1950s with the use of doo-wop music. Doo-wop bands sang about topics such as love and other themes used in pop music; the earliest traces of boy bands were in the mid-1950s. African American vocal group The Ink Spots was one of the first of what would now be called boy bands; the term boy band was not established until the late 1980s as before that they were called male vocal groups or "hep harmony singing groups". Although described as a rock band, the highest-selling band in history The Beatles are considered by a number or journalists "the first" or "the original" boyband, "before anyone had thought of the term." The Liverpool quartet known as The Beatles were not only the quintessential rock band, but many considered John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Star to be the original boy band -- in the early 1960s when young girls would scream at the top of their lungs and pass out upon first sight of the “Fab Four.
The Beatles inspired the decision to produce the 1966 television series The Monkees, which spawned the music group of the same name, formed by the four starring actors. The rock and pop band started a career in music after their songs from the TV series released as records resulted successful. Although the term "boy band" was not used yet, the earliest predecessors of this format were groups such as the Jackson 5 and the Osmonds which helped form the template for boy bands; the Jackson 5 were a siblings group. For instance, their music featured close harmonies from soul music and catchy pop hooks influenced as much as they were by Motown and acts like the Supremes; the group incorporated choreographed dance moves to their performances. All members of the band sang, a common convention of a boy band, as opposed to having a front man and the rest on instruments. A siblings group, The Osmonds first started singing barbershop music for local audiences, before being hired to perform at Disneyland early in their career.
Their appearance in a televised Disney special earned them additional TV spots, such as The Andy Williams Show and The Jerry Lewis Show. Other antecedents exist throughout the history of pop music; the genre has been copied into cultures other than the Anglo-American. The Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, appealing to young Latina audiences, was founded in 1977. Menudo had a convention unique among boy bands: when a member turned 16, became too tall, or their voice changed, they were replaced; the members of Menudo were aged 12–16. The Bay City Rollers were a Scottish pop band; the British Hit Singles & Albums noted that they were "tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh", were "the first of many acts heralded as the'Biggest Group since The Beatles' and one of the most screamed-at teeny-bopper acts of the 1970s". For a brief but fervent period, they were worldwide teen idols; the group were one of the first bands, like The Monkees before them, to take the formula shown by The Beatles and apply it to a teen market.
The group achieved the same amount of success but for a limited period of time. At the peak of their popularity in the UK, comparisons were being made to The Beatles. By this time, Bay City Roller fans had a distinctive style of dress, the main elements of which were ankle-length tartan trousers and tartan scarves, the group using the benefit of merchandise and promotion. In the US, the Cleveland-based power pop group Raspberries was interpreted as a "teen act", although all the band members played their own music. Vocalist Eric Carmen commented, "It was not hip for people to like us, because their little sister liked us."Boston group New Edition was formed in 1978 and reached their height of popularity in the 1980s, meaning they are credited for starting the boy-band trend though the term "boy band" did not exist until the 1990s. Maurice Starr was influenced by New Edition and popularized it with his protégé New Kids on the Block, the first commercial