Though they have ruled the Japanese airwaves for much of the last 22 years, SMAP have never performed outside Japan. That’s finally about to change, as they are lined up to perform at the Shanghai World Expo in June. The event, to be called the “SMAP Banpaku Fan Tsudoi” (SMAP Expo Fan Gathering) will be held at the 18,000-seat Expo Cultural and Performing Arts Center from 1pm on June 13. Tickets will be free and people can reserve seats using an automated reservation system in the venue on the day.
The last few years have seen more and more Japanese artists, including some of their Johnny’s Jimusho stablemates, expand their horizons across Asia. And there is no doubt that SMAP have a large fan base in the region. They were the only Japanese artists formally invited to the expo’s opening event on May 1. Expo organizers announced, “They are representatives of Japanese popular culture not only at home but in Asia. We are sure they will add to the festive mood of the Expo.”