arashi anniversary

Arashi, My Only Asian OT5

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Today marks the 22nd anniversary of Arashi. Arashi is still one of the most popular and record-topping boy bands in the world. While Satoshi Ohno, Sho Sakurai, Masaki Aiba, Kazunari Ninomiya, and Jun Matsumoto are currently on hiatus, I want to give tribute to them because I miss them, and that I can hardly wait for their comeback.

I’m a fan of several boy bands. It started in the 90s with the emergence of boy bands from the US, UK, Sweden, and Australia. As I grew up, I would never have expected that I would still be into these dancing, handsome boys, and even until now, as an adult.

In the early 2000s, Asian boy bands’ prominence went up as artists like Taiwan’s F4, South Korea’s TVXQ, and Japan’s Arashi, among others, came to the scene. However, none of these boy groups withstood the test of time other than Arashi.

Arashi members back row from left: Satoshi Ohno, Masaki Aiba. Front row from left: Sho Sakurai, Jun Matsumoto, and Kazunari Ninomiya. Photo by Hiro Komae, taken at the Japanese Associated Press for Arashi., September 2020
Arashi members back row from left: Satoshi Ohno, Masaki Aiba. Front row from left: Sho Sakurai, Jun Matsumoto, and Kazunari Ninomiya. Photo by Hiro Komae, taken at the Japanese Associated Press for Arashi., September 2020

Yes, many Asian boy bands have made it to the top, and some are even phenomena themselves. In Japan, Korean boy bands have even become a threat to their very own, selling millions of albums and merchandise. As of today, BTS is selling like pancakes in Japan and even worldwide. And some J-pop boy bands have lost on the lion’s share of the concert, album, and merch sales. However, no one could ever top what Arashi has achieved and how solid they are as a boy group.

Arashi, a Prolific Boy Group

So what is the secret ingredient of Arashi? One might say that exposure is critical. Yes, it truly is. As part of the Johnnys and Associates, the biggest agency in Japan producing boy bands, the band members and solo members get maximum exposure–from jdoramas, variety shows, movies, etc. They are just everywhere, in demand with the Arashi fans.

Since Arashi broke their records in Japan and some parts of Asia in the late 1990s, they have become unstoppable. Each member got their dramas, films, and variety shows, and all were successful.  Hence, they all became in demand, that they have made their variety shows like VS Arashi and Must be Arashi! And if you watch these shows, you will see how many of their guests, from the young to old, adore them. Most of them would want to be their friends and a part of their personal lives. 

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I’ve first encountered Arashi because of Jun Matsumoto after watching him in the drama Gokusen. It was a hit in the Philippines, and Jun became an instant heartthrob. Little did we know that all of the Arashi members also have a lot to offer.

Each of the Arashi members has his full strengths. Be it acting, singing, dancing, hosting; they have it all. They’re almost perfect performers and also have charming personalities.

As a fangirl of many boy bands (yes, if you ask me, I can name many boy band members’ names), I have a bias in every group. If you ask me who my K-pop stan is, I would most probably be an Exo-L, but I don’t consider other members as a bias. For example, I would prefer BTS’ Jimin over EXO’s Baekhyun, even if I am an Exo-L. And maybe many fans would argue with that. However, it is only with Arashi that I do an OT5, apart from the Backstreet Boys, whom I have loved since I was six years old (OT is short for “One True,” which means that you love all the members of a boy band. In BTS for example, it’s OT7 since there are seven members).

Why is that? I believe that Arashi has withstood the test of time. Each of the members has top-notch qualities that are more than an idol. They are one of the few boy bands in Asia that was never involved in a major scandal. Best of all, they have devoted so much hard work, energy, and fan service to J-pop and world music and even sacrificed many of their years for that.

Arashi, Still OT5 Despite Hiatus

In January 2019, after starting to open their music to their fans worldwide via Youtube, Facebook, Spotify, and Twitter, the Arashi members announced that they would take a break after 2020. It was their leader, Ohno, who met with the other four Arashi members and told them that “I want to live freely and examine myself in 2021. Until then, I would like to be with Arashi with all my strength.”

The four Arashi members were shocked by their leader’s request. Sho said they are all brothers and that Arashi is not without all the five of them. “Four members or six members is not Arashi. We cannot give 100% to our fans without Ohno,” added Ninomiya. The remaining members Aiba and Jun, agreed. Hence, they have decided to take a break and end their activities by 2020. Due to the pandemic, however, their last activities were even cut short.

Arashi members

The four Arashi members are still active with their solo activities, but they decided not to re-group without Ohno. Hence, they are patiently waiting for him. “I would like to live freely” is a strong testament for Ohno. As a fan, I truly understand him. I mean, Arashi had been very active ever since their debut in 1999, but if you count their training days, that would be more than 22 years of working and being in the spotlight.

I also understand how Ohno said he would still want to be with Arashi after his break. Even if his career entails a lot of sacrifices, especially in his personal life, it has been what he’s doing since he was a teenager. He will miss it for sure.

I highly commend and appreciate the other four Arashi members Sho, Aiba, Nino, and Jun. You see that they are brothers and that they care for each other. Yes, they each have their respective solo careers, but it’s a huge sacrifice not being able to record albums or have concerts since that was their primary career to begin with. They love and respect each other.

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Arashi Emulated By Top Boy Groups

Try watching any of Arashi’s variety shows, and you would be very impressed. They each have their own quirky and fun personalities. If you’re a fan of other Johnny’s and Associates boy groups, many members look up to Arashi. The rising Japanese phenomenon King and Prince is set to become the next Arashi, but they have to keep their noses to the grindstone in order to achieve what Arashi has.

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I can’t confirm, but today’s biggest boy band, BTS, seems to follow Arashi’s footsteps. Of all the K-pop groups, the BTS members seem to be close, and they care for each other. Apart from that, they are overexposed, with countless activities after every activity. I believe that that’s the secret to their success. 

If you’re a member of a group or a handler, be sure to emulate Arashi. It works.

Conclusion

Arashi has reached its actualization when it comes to stardom and being a top idol. Although we Arashi fans miss them badly, we support and understand their decision to take a break as a whole, to find a whole new mark in music, especially since they started opening to the global audience.

No one can ever replace the phenomenal group, the OT5 kings–Ohno, Sakurai, Aiba, Nino, and Jun–Arashi, my only Asian OT5.


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