If you ever been to or stayed in Japan, or following close to Japan’s entertainment industry, they name are hardly to be missed. They are there on the billboard and magazine’s cover, they are there at the subways and even on aeroplanes’ body. You might catch one, pair or even the whole five members on screens; commercials – they are ARASHI.
ARASHI (嵐) literally means “STORM”, representing ambition “to create storm throughout the world”, are formed under the Johnny’s Entertainment talent agency. With members of five, Ohno Satoshi (37), Sakurai Sho (35), Aiba Masaki (35), Ninomiya Kazunari (34) and Matsumoto Jun (34), Arashi officially debuted on September 15, 1999 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The press conference where made aboard cruise ship off the Honolulu’s coast with a live relay back at Japan.
Releasing their first debut single entitled “ARASHI” on November 3, 1999, their song with the same name, “A.RA.SHI” where chosen as the theme song for FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup hosted by Japan in the same year. The first eponymous single where released by Pony Canyon and continuously for another 5 singles and 1 studio album before they were moved to Johnny’s subsidiary label, J-Storm in 2001. The J-Storm label was initially set up for their successive releases before producing for different artists.
After a triumph releases, Arashi subsequently faced declination of sales. In their fifth year anniversary, Arashi released their 12th single; “Pikanchi Double” that was the lowest selling single to date with 89,106 copies in first week. The dark era of Arashi continued with termination of advertising contract with McDonald ahead time, their first TV show with FujiTV were cancelled due to low rating, unreleased “Subarashi Sekai” PV and “One” concert DVD because of afraid that “no one will buy it” and had to give up their concert arenas for a smaller size.
But they never give up.
In 2005, Matsumoto Jun accepted the role as Tsukasa Domyouji in Hana Yori Dango or commonly known as Hanadan, with a condition that Arashi are able to release a new single, “Wish“. Surprisingly the single were sold total of over 300,000 copies – the next highest single after “A Day in Our Life” in 2002. Matsumoto Jun also invented “Johnny’s Moving Stage” (ジャニーズムービングステージ), transparent stage that moves over the top of the audiences, allowing them to be closer with audience seated distance from main stage in their concert tour. They are able to come back strong ever since.
Arashi was also able to do an Asia tour, Jet Storm Tour in 2006, visiting Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea in a day, to promote their studio album – “Arashic“. Arashi became the first group from Johnny’s to perform solo concerts in South Korea due to overwhelming feedback by 1500 Korean fans gathered at Incheon International Airport during the Jet Storm Tour. The concert’s tickets were unbelievable sold out in an hour.
Releasing “Love So Sweet” single for the theme song for Hanadan 2, this 18th single was Arashi’s first single sold over 200,000 copies in a week. They were also given the privilege to performed in Kyocera Dome in Osaka and Tokyo Dome in Tokyo for the first time and continuously for 6 years in a row since 2006. Their achievement won the public attention ever since.
Celebrating their 10th year anniversary, Arashi released two double A-side singles, “Believe/Kumorinochi, Kaisei” and “Ashita no Kioku/Crazy Moon (Kimi wa Muteki)“, that marked them as the first artist to have two consecutive singles exceed 500,000 copies sold in first week sales in seven years after Keisuke Kuwata. They also became the first artist to perform at National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo for three consecutive days for their “Arashi Anniversary Tour 5×10” concert tour. Moreover, they were also released their greatest hit songs compilation album, “All the Best! 1999–2009“, with one new song, “5 x 10” songs that was written by themselves and a hidden track, “Attack It“.
Arashi making a record tempest!
They became the first artist to place the top two rankings on the Oricon singles yearly chart for two consecutive years, the first celebrity to sing own songs at Tokyo DisneySea. Arashi also became the first artist to win ten awards at once at 24th Japan Gold Disc Awards 2010, thus awarded Arashi the “Artist of the Year“. Also in 2010, Arashi became the first male artist to achieve six number-one singles in a year and the first group to host the 61st NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen, together with Nao Matsushita.
Arashi became the first artist in Oricon history to sell over four million DVDs for their concert album “Arashi 10–11 Tour “Scene”: Kimi to Boku no Miteiru Fūkei – Stadium” in year 2011. In the same year, their next concert album, “Arashi 10–11 Tour “Scene”: Kimi to Boku no Miteiru Fūkei – Dome” lead them into becoming the first Japanese artist to sell over five million DVDs. In 2014, Arashi released their first ever concert album “Arashi Arafes ’13 National Stadium 2013” in Blu-ray format. Furthermore, their concert album “Popcorn” was sold over 700,000 copies in a week and placed first on Top Global Album Chart, led them to be nominated for Best Group and Best Album at the 2012 World Music Awards.
And they are yet stopping!
Celebrating their 15th year anniversary, Arashi held a concert, “Arashi Blast in Hawaii“, at Honolulu, Hawaii. This is the first time Arashi flown everything form Japan to oversea; including the props, equipment and audiences. They were able to boost millions of dollar into Hawaii Tourism economy. Hence, to commemorate such joyous occasion, the state of Hawaii announced that they have established September 19 as ‘ARASHI DAY‘.
Fast forwarding to year 2017, Arashi received recognition for almost all singles and albums released, continuous success year after years. Arashi became the first artist to receive “Artist of the Year” award five times throughout their career. On October 18, 2017, they will be releasing a new studio album,「untitled」that will be comprising Arashi’s first attempt at a suite that incorporates melodies from various genres into a song of over 10 minutes – to represent the group’s past, present, and future.
September 15, 2017 marks their 18 years anniversary.
The bright acknowledgement they have today are paying result of no-giving-up spirit they have throughout their bleak stage previously. They may regularly appears here and there, individually or group, over Japan media platform now but they were once only have a 5 minute radio show. They don’t cave in into the adversity. Arashi face everything that being thrown at them at their utmost best, whether it about visiting haunted places in the middle of the night or being shouted at while handling claims. Even though they grumble about it a bit, but they keep on going. Hence, celebrating their 18th anniversary and counting.
We are standing here now, able to shine because you are all here
The five of us will be here, forever
Changing everything we experienced up until now into power
When we wrapped you up in our unchanging love, eternity appeared
Look, eternity was born for just you and me
( Arashi – 5 x 10, translation from yarukizero)