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While 2016 kicked off for most of the music world with David Bowie tricking hundreds of thousands of people into buying a jazz-prog concept album about death, the message from the heart of J-pop was loud and clear: “DO NOT WORRY, NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE.”

Everyone’s favorite evil empire, Johnny & Associates, underlined this by staging a sort of hostage-video production where a confused and frightened looking SMAP promised not to split up, much to the relief of all of us on The Japan Times music page.

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