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SMAP fans launch CD-buying campaign to try and keep legendary pop unit together

News that the five-man pop unit SMAP may be breaking up has sent shockwaves through the legendary group's fan base, with some taking to the Internet to start a CD-buying campaign to try and keep the group together.

It was reported on Jan. 13 that four of the group's five members -- Shingo Katori, 38, Masahiro Nakai, 43, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, 41, and Goro Inagaki, 42 -- were in talks with their agency Johnny & Associates Inc. to leave. Only Takuya Kimura, 43, appeared ready to stay.

The campaign is calling on SMAP fans to buy copies of the group's 2003 hit "Sekai ni hitotsu dake no hana," which had already sold some 2 million copies before the news of the possible breakup. On Twitter, fans have been posting calls to action, including "Let's aim for 3 million copies sold!" and "If all five members don't keep going, the group won't be able to sing that song." Amazon and other online retailers are currently sold out of "Sekai ni hitotsu dake no hana" CDs.

The impact of the possible breakup even seems to have reached the pages of the Mainichi Shimbun's Jan. 14 morning edition, with some headlines on the sports page bearing obvious similarities to SMAP song names.

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