6SMAP: Chummy, Fun, Emotional
5SMAP: Kakkoii, Kowai(scary), Individual
It just happen to cross my mind the difference between 6SMAP and 5SMAP.
Generally, the overall impression I have for 6smap is CHUMMY and FUN. They weren't thinking. They were just having fun and enjoying each other's companies. I think this suit what Nakai always say that whenever he remember back the shitazumi jidai (times they were failures, not popular) he think it was the most fun times they had together. They spent times together a lot in private times too.
All five of them had once stayed over at Goro's house, they got inside the bathtub together but the water knob was stuck, it fell off and so many cockroaches came out of it, Goro's mom always felt like crying when she remember this because she was so embarrassed. Takuya also mentioned how he felt dokidoki to see Goro's big sister came out of the shower in wet hair. Takuya had also talk about all six of them entered a plastic model (toy) store together. It's quite unbelievable for the 5smap era, but 2tops hung out with each other very often in the early days. Nakai hung out at Kimura's place (when Kimura had to stay temporarily at a relative's), slept there, played games together with him, watched anime together and they hung out together alone during Christmas eve night trying to find some girls on the street, failed to get any girl, back to Kimura's place and they celebrated X'mas with a cake together. Shingo hung out at Mori's house really often too (and Mori often cooked for him), so Shingo was quite close with Mori's dad and brother too. Speaking of which, they know each other's family members quite well too. I love the story when Shingo's dad saw Tsuyoshi who got almost involved in a physical fight with a boy from another school in a train station and Shingo's dad held Tsuyoshi back from hitting that boy. I also love the radio report when all six called Shingo's mom in the radio and Shingo's mom's last words before she hung up the phone "Shingo, please always listen to what your big brothers says! To everyone, please take care of my Shingo (uchi no Shingo), ne!" And also the story that Nakai's mom arranged a frequent get-together for SMAP's moms. Not sure if she still do that now but last time Goro talk about how Nakai's mom and his mom met up and get along so well was about five years ago.
They hung out with each other a lot in private times and they know each other's family members so well. 6smap's relationship was like cousins, I guess... or friends who grew up together in the same neighborhood. They were quite inseparable. In behind the scenes of SMAP's 1994 movie, "SHOOT!" all six of them had a lunch break and they ate their bento together around each other, some inside the car with the door open and some sit on the ground next to the car. They seem so natural around each other.
Another characteristic of 6smap is EMOTIONAL. It can't be helped since they were very young and in their teenhood. They're very emotional when it comes to reputation of the group. They get mocked and teased by common boys because they wear pink and yellow costumes, and they mocked SMAP as sissy idols, SMAP get angry and attacked the common boys. When they risked their physics to perform karate's tameshiwari (the act of breaking stuff) in Kakushige Taikai 1993, Mori had to be carried to hospital due to bone fracture as the result of breaking a baseball bat with his leg. He did break the bat but since his leg was broken, he had to go to hospital before the score announcement and when they got the perfect score they always wanted, they all cried but 2tops cried the hardest. They also have huge pride in being a part of SMAP (even before their popularity explode). The attitude was quite obvious in SMAP Dunk, a basketball game corner in their regular show, Ai Love Smap in 1992-93. They had these "We're the coolest" "We're the best team" "Nothing can stop us as long as all six of us together!" "Six for one and one for six!" kinda attitude. I won't say they were snobbish but it was pretty close. Which is bewildering since they had lack of popularity around 1992 so there wasn't much to be proud of as far as SMAP's career. But oddly, it looks like they were very proud of their members and proud of the group's strong teamwork.
When Mori had to quit, it was the first time that reality hit them, they couldn't stay "six" forever. They have caused many troubles before but everything ended up well and things were back to where they were. They threw a smoke bomb at TBS entrance, TBS executives got angry, management scold them, they asked apologies to TBS, TBS accepted and TBS continued SMAP's radio program. They caused a common boy suffer light cerebral concussion on live TV broadcast, TV asahi executives got angry, management scold them and they had to bow their heads and begged TV asahi to not sack them from the show, TV asahi accepted apologies and TV Asahi continued casting SMAP as their regular hosts for the show. They thought things were fine as long as they stick together as a group. When Mori had to quit, it was the first time that they had to face a problem that they could not fix. Mori would never be able to return to the group and they had to accept that reality, which was very difficult for all of them, because not only Mori was the most popular member equal to Takuya back then, he was also the glue of the group. The group relied very much on Mori in many things. He was 2tops' right-hand man.
5smap is KAKKOII and KOWAI. The troublemaker brats became a group of mafia. They're a lot more calculative. They're careful, cautious, calculative in every step they make. When they make jokes, they read the situation first. When they say something, they consider their words. When they interact with each other, they calculate to make things interesting. They have also started keeping a certain distance among each other. Most of the time they are wearing masks. 5smap is like their disguise to show that SMAP members' relationship is strictly professional. In 2004, Shingo shocked some of the fans saying in a magazine interview "5nin no SMAP wa uso no SMAP" (5smap is the fake-smap) without any further explanation. It took me a while to understand this statement. I was a 5smap fan first in 2002. I came to know 5smap first. I couldn't accept the statement that 5smap is fake. For me, 5smap is real. I was disappointed to read what Shingo said. But as I got familiar with 6smap, I realized the difference. 5smap feels insecure because of what happened in 1996. As Shingo said in FNS27 when Mori quit, Nakai asked him "Should we just disband?" They thought of disbanding for the first time that time, because of what happened to Mori. "If Mori get kicked out then the rest of us prefer to quit as well." But they decided to stay as 5smap for Mori's sake. Since then they built some kind of shield around them to guard and protect themselves from any possible outer attack and that is what 5smap is. They have realized that they are each other's strength as well as weakness so they're trying to keep a distance with each other. In 2tops' case, Nakai mentioned in a magazine interview that he has to be "not too close and not too far" with Takuya. They are standing at the far left and far right of the group and keep things objective for the group, if they are too close then they will have very similar opinion and that is not good for the group. Kouhai-s and TV crews have mentioned that SMAP is kowai. They do look very kowai when they just stay silent not saying a thing especially when they're at work with their serious faces. They have learned to keep their emotions at minimum and keep cool all the time in any situation. I think it resulted this stern air around them when they are working. They're always in alert stance.
Their enormous amount of solo works in the 5smap era made them look more INDIVIDUAL and distant too. In 2003 they sang SekaiHana the whole year (that I got sick of the song) without any new song or new project (SxS was totally a savior for SMAP fans though). In 2004, they had no new single at all so no group work and group appearance in music shows besides SxS, they did shoot a drama special at the end of 2004 but they didn't have scenes all five together. In 2005, the first half of the year, there wasn't much improvement and I remember the fans were complaining about their new single PV "Tomodachi e -Say What You Will-" we were saying 'gosh please its time for them to make a proper PV already!' 2005 got better though as they had the Bang Bang Vacance single in July and started a concert tour in summer. Around the year 2003-2005 they were extremely busy with their solo works and projects that it was really difficult for them to get together and do a group work. Other years they have lots of solo projects too, but those years were the significant ones for being individual, I guess. They get too big individually in their respective fields, so I guess it resulted the distant feeling between them. But the bright side of their high reputation as individuals, the general public feels some kind of amazing aura when all five gathered and it gives more advantage to their group work's reputation.
Obviously though, 5smap always has that "6smap soul" inside them and it naturally shows occasionally. For example, in the SMAP Gambarimasu show in 2011 when they did the basket ball challenge successfully and all five of them were jumping up and down, placing their arms around each other and made a circle, that's classic 6smap style. Another example was when all 5 of them in the car alone during the Journey to Osaka and when they were drunk and slept in the same room. Nakai kept crying when they played BEST FRIEND in karaoke saying "I can't! I can't! I'll die (listening to this song)!" Another example was the unscripted talk in FNS 27hrs 2014.
I like 6smap's 2:2:2 split formation a lot. 2Tops: NakaiKimura, MiddleTwo: GoroMori and YoungestTwo: ShinTsuyo. The Ganbarimashou ending talk seating chart is based on that. Normally, 2Tops gave commands and direction. GoroMori kept the balance (the glue of the group / assisting 2tops). ShinTsuyo did the baka stuff, lol. When they have to go with 3:3 split, the formation is usually (not always, but most of the time) Nakai-GoroMori and Kimura-ShinTsuyo. Nakai took the MiddleTwo and Kimura took the YoungestTwo. I squealed to see in FNS27 when 5smap were split into two studios and it was Nakai-Goro and Kimura-ShinTsuyo, it felt like back to 6smap days.
The MiddleTwo has very interesting dynamic. Goro and Mori had a very similar relationship with 2Tops in 5smap. Among the five, Goro is the least member Mori spend time with, but they understand each other the most and relate to each other the most. I'm sure they don't hate each other but they just keep a certain distance, naturally. Even so, Mori was the first member to call Goro "Goro-chan." Before Mori called him that, ShinTsuyo called him "Inagaki-kun." And that's how Goro become popular as "Goro-chan" Mori started the nickname^^ 2tops often teased GoroMori's awkward/distant relationship "You two have the same age! Why are you calling each other 'Goro-chan' and 'Mori-kun'??" GoroMori had a duet song and when they promoted
the album, Mori said to Nakai "Look Nakai-kun! Goro-chan and me sing a duet and we get along well!" while holding Goro's hand, lol cho kawaii~ I also find GoroMori similar in a very different way, in terms of Mori has the strongest physics among them while Goro has the strongest mentality. Mori has extraordinary physical strength and the group rely on him very much in any sport challenge they have to take. While Goro controls his emotions very well. He is not easily influenced with positivity nor negativity. Members and other people might misunderstand him as being ignorant and doesn't care, but he is actually very thoughtful and considerate. The way he think is usually very different than the other five and I think it has saved the group a couple of times. Sometimes members think he's too weird but I think he has done the right thing. Like when the other five had a physical fight with the common boys at Roppongi, and Goro decided to stay in the car to write notes about what's happening. They always tell this story while teasing and mocking Goro like he's a coward but I'm actually very amazed that it crossed Goro's mind, at such a young age, to write a note about the characteristic of the boys they were fighting. If he's a coward, he'd run away or just watch, but he actually did something that he thought might be useful later to save the other members.
I think this is what Takuya finds interesting from Goro. KimuGoro get along so well and hang out in private times. They get along well since the 6smap era because they used to get the same hotel room when they had to stay over at other towns. If I remember correctly, the usual hotel room pairings were KimuGoro, NakaTsuyo and ShingoMori, I don't know why it was arranged that way maybe based on their room habits, dunno... In the room, they talked about so many things, girls, hobbies, etc. But Takuya hung out more with Mori in private times in the 6smap days. Maybe KimuGoro did go out in private but I don't think it was as often as in the 5smap era. There was even a FRIDAY paparazzi shot of KimuGoro outings around the year 2005 or 2006 and made so many fans excited to see KimuGoro went out on a date, lol. It's interesting for me because KimuGoro doesn't have much in common but somehow they have a strong connection. Sometimes I think it is because Goro has something that Takuya doesn't and he respect and admire Goro for that.
I said above, "GoroMori had a very similar relationship with 2Tops in 5smap." The reason I said this because 2tops were really, really close in the 6smap era. I didn't see any distance between them at all and they were very natural around each other. They touched each other a lot too. And Nakai was the only one who dare to hit Takuya's head, scold him or tease him. They seem to have a lot of communication too, behind the scenes. Actually they didn't immediately grow apart either after they become 5smap. It was around 2003 or 2004 that 2tops started to keep a certain distance with each other. I think there was even a year that seem like they didn't have interaction with each other at all. Was it 2007 or 2008? I almost believe they had some kind of serious dispute/fight around that year. If the SMAP Commotion came out around that year, I might really believe the 4:1 split for real, lol. 2tops' relationship gradually became better since 2009 but the point where they start getting close to 6smap's 2tops is probably in the last two years. Nakai complained about Takuya sometimes talking in a roundabout way to the guest in Mininaru and Nakai scold Takuya in Shuffle Bistro, telling him "Baa~aaka!" also that hug, arms around each other during Shiyouyo in Mr. S Fukuoka November 2014 that I witnessed with my own eyes and happened right on the stage right in front of me, I will never forget that view: Takuya put his arm around Nakai's shoulder tightly and Nakai put his arm back on Takuya's shoulder while singing their duet part with big smiles on their faces... Shingo saw that and immediately put his arm around Tsuyoshi, imitating 2tops. Goro was left alone so he wanted to put his arm around Shingo but ShinTsuyo ran away from him. The three stooges ran around the stage as 2tops atsui embrace's background, lol.
The most amazing thing is ShinTsuyo's relationship never change be it in 6smap and 5smap era. They have the most intense relationship among them all. In recent SmaShip show aired September last year, Nakai told Shingo 'Tsuyoshi just told me 'If I have to, I can kill someone for Shingo'...' whaaat??? Tsuyoshi... chotto... kowai ^^;;; But hmm... to think of it Shingo's relationship with other members doesn't change much, indeed. ShinGoro has always been ShinGoro since 6smap era, that "love and hate" relationship never change. Nakai and Shingo, SataSma combi, is always like that too, big brother - little brother, father - son kinda thing. Maybe it is ShinTaku changed the most. I almost never hear a story about ShinTaku in 6smap era, they were quite distant. I read a fan said that Shingo was scared of Takuya and Takuya thought of Shingo as a kid and nothing more back in the 6smap days. They became closer after Mori left and to me, it feels like Takuya tried to fill Mori's shoes to play the "big brother" role for Shingo. Maybe it was Mori's request to Takuya, to watch out Shingo for him.
In 5smap, there's no settled formation but there are sometimes 3:2 split. Nakai-ShinTsuyo and KimuGoro since NakaShinTsu were IiTomo regulars. Then in terms of closest private relationship, its pretty much ShinTsuyo, KimuGoro and Nakai have no pairing XD There is the 3 children : 2 parents split too, since 2tops still give commands and directions now especially in sport games like when they played dodge ball with a comedian in SxS four years ago. Shingo said in iitomo "Seriously, when the eldest two starts moving and their eyes looks like on fire like that, it's really difficult to keep up with them!" I find this "2tops on fire" moments as classic 6smap too.
Basically 5smap is just different on the surface, they're still forever "6smap" inside or else they would've choose to quit, split or disband on Takuya's marriage, Goro and Tsuyoshi's incidents. In Bokura no Ongaku special few months ago, when the topic was about The Beatles, Tsuyoshi mentioned SMAP 'five of us', but then he corrected himself and said "six of us." Tsuyoshi mentioned in his essay that the song BEETLE is about all members including Mori-kun. They have been mentioning Mori from time to time since 2009 but in the last two years they have been talking about Mori or 6smap like Mori never left. I feel there is something strange about this and it's something I just can't ignore. Tsuyoshi's BEETLE song implies that SMAP currently has a dream they want to make come true. I thought it's about going independent. But to think of it again, the real goal is probably to be "six" again. It's impossible to be a 6-members group again but maybe there's a possibility for all six to work together as a 'team' again.
In the "Nakai Masahiro ga Kekkon wo Kangaeru Yoru" SP aired two months ago Dec 21, Nakai x Momoi Kaori talk intrigued me. Momoi Kaori got married for the very first time at 63 years of age. Nakai asked how did it happen and why now? Momoi said she threw away "Momoi Kaori the actress" and just become "Momoi Kaori the ordinary woman" she re-started her life from zero and that's how she was able to get married. She suggested Nakai to just be himself "Nakai Masahiro the ordinary man" and not "Nakai Masahiro the SMAP leader." Nakai said "I can't do that. When I meet a woman, I will carry all my history as a SMAP member with me, it's the whole package she has to accept" ... then I realized what he was trying to say, it's that "SMAP" is his personal identity. Being SMAP is how he identify himself. SMAP is what he is. It's not simply an image or a disguise. It is who they are. And that's why Tsuyoshi said "Even Mori-kun is still SMAP now," in his magazine essay column. It's just like biological family connection, something cannot be torn apart easily.
There might be opinions that relationships changes once people grow mature. Sometimes friends grow apart. But I don't think that's the case for SMAP. If they grow apart and their relationship change I think they would have split since they were in their 30s. I think in SMAP case, they had to change to adjust themselves with situations and circumstances. But how they feel for each other and how they feel about the group never change.
This is my take on analyzing their relationships with each other. I hesitated whether or not to include Mori, but then I just can't leave him out XD Keep in mind, that all relationships with Mori is based on 1988-1996. He might not meet the five guys often after 1996, but I think the shape of relationships stays the same.
Nakai: father, big brother
Kimura: father, idol, hero
Goro: quarrel partner
Mori: big brother
Tsuyoshi: best friend, twin brother, little brother
Goro: room partner
Mori: quarrel partner
Shingo: best friend, twin brother, big brother
Nakai: father, big brother
Kimura: big brother, casual friend (hangout partner)
Goro: 2nd cousin
Tsuyoshi: quarrel partner
Shingo: little brother
Kimura: good-cop-parent, big brother, casual friend
Mori: 2nd cousin
Tsuyoshi: room partner
Shingo: quarrel partner
Goro: child, little brother, casual friend
Mori: little brother, casual friend (hangout partner)
Shingo: child, little brother
Mori: child, little brother
Shingo: child, little brother
Nakai-Shingo's relationship never change, always switch on and off between father-son and big brother-little brother. According to fans, Shingo never had any rebellious period against his birth parents, but he had rebellious period against Nakai, lol. While ShinTaku is a bit difficult to describe. I can feel that Takuya wanted to get close to Shingo and treat him like his own little brother, but seems like Shingo always keep a distance and think of Takuya no more than a hero. He idolize Takuya. 2Tops act as parents for Shingo but there isn't any good-cop/bad-cop role share. Both Nakai and Takuya can be kind but also equally strict toward Shingo... but I think most of the time both of them are spoiling Shingo too much^^ The same with Mori, there isn't obvious parent role share between 2tops. I think because 2tops really rely a lot on Mori for many things. He's like the reliable, perfect first son. They might never have any reason to scold Mori. However, they also never spoil Mori. They trust Mori too much that they always give him the hardest jobs.
With Goro and Tsuyoshi, 2tops' badcop/goodcop role share is pretty obvious. It's always Takuya who scold Tsuyoshi and Nakai never seem able to scold Tsu, he's always kind toward Tsuyoshi. The other way around with Goro, Nakai is always the one who scold Goro and Takuya doesn't seem able to be stern and fierce toward Goro, always gentle and kind with Goro.
I don't think I exaggerate things that the other members for 2tops are mostly like their children. They really have that 2 parents : 4 kids relationship.
ShinGoro and MoriTsu as quarrel partners. These two combi-s have very similar love-and-hate relationships. Mori and Tsuyoshi can say or do harsh things to each other without holding back. Nakai told many stories abt MoriTsu having physical fights. ShinGoro never have physical fights but they say and do harsh things to each other as well, but many times they can show some PDAs toward each other too, lol. Shingo-Mori has the most realistic big brother and little brother relationship. Nakai-Shingo and Takuya-Goro has the brotherly relationships too, but not as intense as Shingo-Mori. GoroTsu (LOHAS brothers) as dressing room partners... haha I don't know how else I can describe their special relationship, all stories about them always located inside the dressing room... mhahaha
ShinTsuyo always say they're each other's bestfriends, but seriously I think they're more like twin brothers, lol. They're just too close and their relationship is too intense. Also Shingo often say that although Tsuyoshi is 3 years older than him, he sometimes think of him as his little brother hahaa
2tops... you can say SMAP consists of 2 parents and 4 kids... so actually I prefer to describe their relationship as husband and wife, lol. I mean even Mori himself said when they were out of town on a tour "We were going for fish meal in a restaurant, but Nakai-kun and Kimura-kun didn't feel like going out so they went to combini together to buy their dinner. Isn't it funny? It's like the parents were letting their four kids to have meal by themselves outside," When I read this I thought 'of course! papa and mama need some quality time together alone' LOL. But anyway maybe "partners in crime" fits them more, since they rely each other the most.