Fans were moved to tears by the exchange between former SMAP members… A surprising comment by Shingo Katori to “Masahiro Nakai” who is recuperating. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Fans were moved to tears by the exchange between former SMAP members… A surprising comment by Shingo Katori to “Masahiro Nakai” who is recuperating.

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Former SMAP member Masahiro Nakai temporarily suspended his entertainment activities in early November of last year due to health problems. He made a full-fledged comeback in January of this year and served as the official support captain of the Japanese baseball team “Samurai Japan” at the 5th World Baseball Classic (hereinafter referred to as “WBC”) in March.

Nakai as official support captain

Following his performance in the TV broadcast, netizens expressed their relief that Nakai was able to make it to the WBC. On the other hand, during his recuperation period, former members as well as SMAP fans were worried about his health.

On November 4 of last year, Nakai announced that he would be taking a one-month hiatus from his activities; in December, he reported that he would concentrate on his recovery within the year, and returned to TV on the January 14 broadcast of “Nakai Masahiro no Castana Kai” (TV Asahi) this year.

The official support captain of Samurai Japan for the WBC is a major role following the 4th WBC in ’17. When it was decided that Samurai Japan would advance to the semifinals, Nakai also traveled to the United States and entered the stadium in Miami. Especially at the end of the final (Japan vs. USA), his comments about Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) were praised. Looking at the uniform of Ohtani, a two-sport hitter and pitcher, he said, ‘A muddy stopper, a muddy relief pitcher. It was a big topic of conversation on social networking sites.

(TV station insider) Until then, there had been some concern about Nakai’s health, but he seemed to have regained his energy, perhaps due to the success of the Samurai Japan team. Nakai’s former friends were probably the only ones who cared about him. Former SMAP members Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Katsuyuki Mori had said in TV interviews that they had kept in touch with Nakai personally.

Kusanagi talked with sociologist Kenju Furuichi in the corner “Entertainment Sociology” in the information program “Mezamashi 8” (Fuji Television Network, broadcast on January 23). When asked, “Have you met Nakai-san? He replied, “I haven’t met Nakai-kun,” but added, “I do keep in touch with him a little bit. Sometimes I contact him because I was worried about him. Everyone was really worried about me, so I contacted ……. (Nakai would only say, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’m really glad to see you in good health,” he said, smiling.

Mori, who left SMAP in May 1996 and became an auto racer, also confessed a secret story in an interview for “Jounetsu Tairiku” (TBS, broadcast on February 19). He said he saw Nakai on TV, and when he sent a text message to congratulate him on his comeback, the reply was, “Oh, thank you! (laugh). (Laughs.)” Mori, who was seriously injured in a car accident in January 2009, is currently undergoing rehabilitation in order to return to work. Nakai gave him a word of encouragement, saying, ‘I guess it’s all right for you, too,'” said a reporter from a sports newspaper.

In the March 22 issue of “Shukan Bunshun WOMAN” vol. 17, Spring 2023 issue (Bungei Shunju), Shingo Katori newly mentions his interaction with Nakai. In addition to a sentence that reads, “I contacted Nakai saying, ‘I did a little,'” Katori also states,

I knew it wasn’t that serious. If it was really serious, he would have said something.

Katori said that he was not pessimistic about the situation. He also revealed that when he met Yuji Tanaka of the comedy duo Bakusho Mondai and Yoshizumi Ishihara, who had performed with Nakai, each told him that he was fine, to which he replied, “Thank you very much.

Nakai and Katori were five years apart, the oldest (Nakai) and youngest (Katori) in the group. They used to be regulars on the variety show “Sata☆Suma” (aired on Fuji from April 1999 to March 2002), and were affectionately called the “Sata-Suma duo” by fans. (Sports newspaper reporter)

Therefore, fans who read the “Shukan Bunshun WOMAN” were asked, “Shingo, I knew it was you, Nakai-kun,

Shingo contacted Nakai-kun after all, didn’t he?
I read the interview with Shingo. I cried a little at the part where he contacted Nakai-kun. ……
I’m glad to know that he contacted Nakai-kun when he was on vacation.”

He was thrilled.

This episode seemed to blow away the rumors of discord that arose from the breakup scandal. Fans are eagerly awaiting to see the activities of all the members together.

  • PHOTO Shinji Hasuo

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