Japan's 'House of Cards': SMAP saga ends with dramatic finale

Japan's 'House of Cards': SMAP saga ends with dramatic finale

TOKYO - It's a tale of power, jealousy and resentment that the screenwriters of "House of Cards" would have approved of. On Monday, the latest instalment came to an abrupt end, when the five members of Japan's most popular guy band SMAP confirmed on live television that they would not break up and would be staying with their current agency.

Takuya Kimura, 43, the sole member that had expressed his desire to stay with Johnny & Associates, the country's most powerful talent agency, stood in the middle, calm and confident, while the other four members stood next to him, visibly somber and offering their apologies.

The unit was caught up in a feud between their longtime female manager and the niece of the company president over who would succeed him. The four band members were initially willing to leave with their manager, possibly to build a new entertainment giant or to go to a rival agency. Neither of those plans ever saw the light of day.

The words of member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, 41, gave a glimpse into the night before. "Thanks to Kimura-kun (brother Kimura) we had an opportunity to apologise to Mr. Johnny, and that is why we are able to stand here now."

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