SMAP ("Sports Music Assemble People") is a Japanese "idol" group, formed by Johnny & Associates. Originally, there were six members in the group; current members are Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Goro Inagaki and Shingo Katori
Their CD debut was in 1991. Since then they have released many singles and albums, and with the exceptions of a few, all releases reached #1 in charts. Recently, the interval of releasing single CDs is becoming relatively long, approximately once a year. The members of SMAP have also starred in many television variety shows, dramas, commercials, and movies. Their fanbase mostly consists of Japanese women. SMAP is often considered to have gone past the so called "Idol Group" status, and have become the "Top Group" in Japan. SMAP is also well known in many other Asian countries.
The SMAP members were formed into a group in 1988 when chosen by talent agency Johnny & Associates to be part of a group of twelve backup dancers for Hikaru Genji, a popular idol group at the time. Six of these dancers were then chosen to form a group of their own, SMAP, an acronym for "Sports Music Assemble People". Their début in 1991, in a time when there weren't many music programs, was not immediately successful. Of all of Johnny's groups, SMAP was the least popular.
In August 1991 a Saint Seiya musical sponsored by Bandai, was shown in the Aoyama theater in Tokyo, Japan. The story recalls the Sanctuary and Poseidon chapter, starring the members of SMAP as the five bronze saints and Poseidon.
Since SMAP was so unsuccessful, Nakai asked Johnny's office to let SMAP have a variety program to make people laugh with their unique personalities. The program was called "I Love SMAP" (愛ラブSMAP, ai rabu SMAP, a pun as the first character also means "love"). Through this program, SMAP slowly gained popularity. 1993 was a year of opportunities for SMAP. They had a hit single, and SMAP member Takuya Kimura was in a TV drama called "Asunaro Hakusho", in which he played Osamu Toride, a shy boy. Asunaro was a big hit and Kimura's popularity soared. At the same time, SMAP also provided the opening and ending themes for the anime Hime-chan's Ribbon, and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi appeared in multiple episodes as himself doing the voice of a regular character. SMAP also recorded the opening song, "Kimi Iro Omoi", for the anime Akazukin Cha Cha, and this time the youngest member, Shingo Katori, lent his voice for the whole show as the young strong werewolf, Riiya.
After that, SMAP members starred in movies both individually and as a group, and SMAP continued to release new hit singles composed by professionals. Their song "Yozora no Mukou" was mentioned in some Japanese textbooks.
In 2008, they had a six-day tour at the Tokyo Dome, becoming the Japanese artist(s) to have the most amount of tour at the Dome. They also released a new album super.modern.artistic.performance (SMAP) on the first day of the tour, September 24, 2008.