It has been announced that USA, MAKIDAI, and MATSU will be leaving EXILE this year.
The announcement was made on the groups official fanclub site through a letter. EXILE’S agency, LDH, also stated that whilst the 3 members would be leaving the group, they would not be leaving the company, and will be continuing their careers through solo activities.
The three members said, “This is neither a retirement or a graduation, but rather a new a challenge. Forever, we will proudly be servants of EXILE.”
USA, MAKIDAI, and MATSU have been members of EXILE since the groups formation in 1999, by leader Hiro, a former member of Zoo. Hiro formed the group as J Soul Brothers, following Zoo’s disbandment in 1995. In 2001, the group changed their name to EXILE, and then in 2007, the name J Soul Brothers was revived as a new 7 member group called Nidaime J Soul Brothers, and now Sandaime J Soul Brothers.
In addition, EXILE will be releasing a new single on August 19th, title ’24karats GOLD SOUL’. The single is the next installment in the groups ’24karats’ series, which sees the group collaborate with other artists. However, it is unclear as to who the group will be working with this time. The single will also include ATSUSHI’s solo track ‘UPSIDE DOWN’, who says the song is a ‘respect song’ for the 3 members who are leaving at the end of the year.