- 解散する（後出 break up も同意、breakup は解散）
- Johnny & Associates Inc.
- 株式会社ジャニーズ事務所（後出 Johnny's も同意）
- （ここでは）退所する（後出 quit も同意）
- pass away
- late ～
- strike (→ struck) a thankful tone
- remain under ～ umbrella
- become independent
- feel burned out
- stir up
- independent agency
Going It Alone
Nakai Masahiro, onetime member of the now dissolved J-pop supergroup SMAP, has announced he is leaving his talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. after more than three decades.
The 47-year-old entertainer revealed that he would have his own office after departing Johnny's at the end of March, and planned to continue his show business career.
Nakai first spoke about leaving the agency in around spring 2019. However, he decided the timing wasn't right after founder Johnny Kitagawa passed away in July at age 87.
"He taught me a lot," Nakai said of Kitagawa at a Feb. 21 news conference. He then took out a small bottle containing some of the late agency head's ashes and told reporters, "I keep this hidden away and think, 'Please, Johnny-san, give me strength.'" Asked what message he had for fans, Nakai struck a thankful tone, saying, "In the three years since SMAP broke up, even though I'm just me, there have been people who supported me and hoped for things from me."
Nakai was a member of SMAP from 1988 until the group dissolved at the end of 2016. Together with fellow SMAP member Kimura Takuya, 47, he remained under the Johnny's umbrella. However, the three other group members — Inagaki Goro, 46, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, 45, and Katori Shingo, 43 — became independent in September 2017, and now run the fan site "Atarashii Chizu" (New Map).
On why he decided to leave Johnny's, Nakai denied that he felt "burned out," but said, "After the breakup (of SMAP) I frankly couldn't stir up the motivation to work. So, I thought that I had to change my environment, even if that meant quitting the agency that had taken care of me for so long."
Asked if there was any chance of fulfilling fan hopes for a SMAP reunion, Nakai said "the probability is between 1% and 99%. It's not zero."
Nakai's new independent agency currently has a staff of one: himself. "I've always had the company (Johnny's) and SMAP brands. So, starting now, I will test myself," he said.
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