Realistically I knew it had to happen some day, and with the scare earlier in the year the news should not be a surprise, but it still is. SMAP just feels like they have always been around and will remain so. But they have in the end been yet another loss 2016 is bearing.
Since the members are staying with Johnny's to continue on as individual talents there does not seem like there will be much change. They do not do much as a group these days but it will be hard not to see them as SMAP. It is a brand they have built for themselves that has lasted through thick and thin before and it will be difficult to break away from.
Overall I still feel a bit shocked that this is actually happening. I am glad that there is proper forewarning as the group does not actually disband until December 31st, 2016. And the fact they decided that if they were to stop activities it was best to just disband than go on hiatus. I agree with that sentiment as a disbandment is a definite thing and some ways easier to deal with than a hiatus that leaves fans in a limbo on whether or not they should keep their hopes up of a return or worry that the hiatus will just end up in disbandment. I just hope the group is given a proper send off and not let to just suddenly end.
While I was never a big fan of the group I did like them and admired them which is probably why this is hitting me hard. It will be strange to go into 2017 without SMAP. Though it will be interesting to see how this is going to affect Johnny's & Associates and if this is just the start of the older groups from the agency deciding to call it quits.