My thoughts on Arashi as they celebrate their 20th anniversary...
Happy 5x20!! Congratulations on your 20th anniversary!!
20 years have really passed by …
On this day 20 years ago, it was really 5 small skinny boys, aboard a yacht in Hawaii, setting out on an uncertain journey, trying to make their dreams come true.
Flash forward 20 years … here they are. They’ve grown up into 5 amazing people, each shining brightly in their own way, and shining even more brightly together when they stand as Arashi. Arashi… the days when they spent all night trying to figure out what “Arashi” is but couldn’t reach an answer. 20 years later, it’s become such a warm and certain place for them and for all of us fans too, “Arashi” is just “Arashi”.
Today I’ve been watching old clips to celebrate Arashi’s 20th anniversary, including their 5x10 concert in Kokuritsu, and the PV of 5x20 released this year. Amidst all the smiles and celebrations and fun, it reminded me again of how hard things must have been, how many hurdles they’ve had to overcome to get to today. Seeing Aiba’s wiping away tears in 5x10, and when he talks about the time he got sick, on 24 hour tv this year when he said “we’ve cried a lot togther”. There must be so many things that we never know about that happens behind the scenes. It made my heart clench watching 5x10. And yet, it’s been 10 years since then. Since then they’ve continued to be the main personality for 24 hour TV for the fifth time this year, they’ve continued to release albums and singles, and concerts every year in Dome or Kokuritsu, they’ve continued performing on Kouhaku, Johnny’s countdown, music programs, Waku waku gakkou and other charity events. They’ve broaden their individual scopes including newscasting, dramas, movies, variety. And this year, they will be performing for the Emperor’s enthronement celebration.
It’s amazing. But what is more amazing is that despite all this success, they’ve stayed “Arashi”, the same kind, warm, and humble five people, always thinking the most about their fans, and treasuring each other, and everything that encompasses “Arashi”.
I have known Arashi now for 4 years. I didn’t know them when they first debuted, and I didn’t know them for the majority of their long journey. I came a lot later after Arashi had already become popular and successful. While 4 years is a short time in their long history, if I think about it from a personal perspective… for me 4 years is a long time. I first came across Arashi in my 4th year of medical school. They’ve helped me build me confidence in myself, they’ve helped me accept that who I am is enough, but also inspire me to become a better person. They’ve given me reasons to laugh and enjoy my life. Because of Arashi, I decided to do an exchange in Japan and spent a month there with my friends, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And through some of the worst times of my life, it was because Arashi was there, that I could get through. They’ve saved me so many times. Through their songs, words, variety shows… it’s been four years of warmth and happiness, of support and inspiration. That’s why four years has been a long time. And it’s a precious time.
Lately, there have been so many things in the Arashi fandom. I realise I haven’t written about it yet… On January 27 this year, that announcement was made – Arashi will go on hiatus at the end of 2020. I cried. Because Arashi had become such a constant entity in my life, I couldn’t imagine how it would be without Arashi. The ominous fanclub video came first. I was somewhat comforted by the press conference, with them affirming that “It’s not a disbandment”, and the fact that they were dressed in oversized casual clothing and smiling most of the time through it. At first I couldn’t understand why Ohno would want to give all of this up. I felt upset how Aiba and Sho and Nino kept saying they talked about it for a long time, asking him “Is there any way around this?”. I was holding onto the member’s words.
“It is not a disbandment. It’s just a hiatus”
“There is definitely a possibility of a comeback”
“No matter when, we will always be Arashi”
“The hiatus is our way of protecting Arashi”
“When leader is looking in the same direction again, let’s create a storm throughout the world”
“Please believe in us, and follow us. I will never make you regret it”
“In the near future, let’s resume our activities. I’m really glad I’m in Arashi”
Their first performance on Music Station after the announcement was one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. Their speeches at the first 5x20 concert after the announcement is one of the most touching.
In the end, I know this is a decision they made by careful discussion and agreement by the five of them. There are still times when I’m worried, but overall I’ve come to believe in these words. These words that are now more powerful because they’ve been repeated by the members again and again. I want to believe in them.
Recently, when I saw their picture on the 5x20 uchiwa smiling so happily, it made me think that it’s alright. They’ve been here all along, and they’re still here. Despite what they might be going through, here they are, holding our hands, and making sure we’re all right while approaching their 20th anniversary.
Today, they sent us a thank you card for their 20th anniversary.
If I could say one word to Arashi it would be “thank you”.
Thank you for bringing us happiness and laughter through all your variety shows and comedies.
Thank you for showing us the most beautiful concerts, a place that looks like a dream.
Thank you for all the hard work you do for Arashi, and to make us happy
Thank you for being an inspiration and support when things get tough
Thank you for always thinking about us fans the most
Thank you for sharing your 20 years with showing us countless dreams
Not everything was a straightforward path, but thank you for persisting through it all. I’m thankful for the miracle that I was able to cross paths with you in this wide world.
From here on, I will always be wishing for your happiness. I wish that the dreams you envision will continue to come true. I wish that your smiles will always continue, and that you continue to shine as five. Thank you for staying together as 5. No matter what you choose, I’ll always support and love you. And I’ll continue to wait for you until the time when you decide to come back. Let’s make more memories together!
Thank you for everything, as always!