There’s a rumor that Shingo Katori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Goro Inagaki, who are former members of Japanese popular male idol group SMAP dissolved in 2016, might be excluded from Japanese TV industry.
There was a award ceremony “GQ MEN OF THE YEAR 2017” on November 22, 2017, and the 3 former SMAP members attended the ceremony. Besides them, Japanese actor Hajime Saito and Hiroki Hasegawa, a racing driver Takuma Sato, a Shogi player Amahiko Sato, a musician Yojiro Noda from RADWINPS and a comedian Ryuji Akiyama were awarded too. Some Japanese tabloid shows reported about the ceremony, but most of the shows didn’t mention about the former SMAP members unnaturally. Though the 3 members were centered of the 9 winners in a row, the cameras of the shows skipped shooting only 3 of them.
In Japan, the power of showbiz agencies is stronger than TV broadcasting companies. Viewer rating is the most important factor for the TV broadcasting companies, because their sponsors will decide whether they they will put an ad in the TV program, and its amount of money. So the companies really want to use popular celebrities to get better rating, and showbiz agencies which have popular celebrities will be stronger consequently, sometimes TV broadcasting companies are forced to accept those agencies’ requests.
Johnny’s is one of the strongest showbiz agencies in Japan, which has lots of popular boys celebrities, and it’s the agency that Shingo Katori, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Goro Inagaki had belonged until 2016. They resigned the agency when SMAP were dissolved. So their fans are guessing that most of the TV broadcasting companies avoid mentioning about them due to the request from the agency.
Those 3 members and a former manager of SMAP Michi Iijima have launched their own showbiz agency in 2017. And they held their internet streaming program “72 Hours Honne TV“(Honne means Private Thoughts in Japanese) on November 2, 2017 on a internet streaming platform Abema TV. It went viral hugely on the Internet, but no TV show mentioned about this streaming program too.