SMAP & Arashi: the senpai-kōhai system

I make no secret that among Arashi’s senpais, I love TOKIO the most. I suppose it’s a reaction to how some Johnnys fans, particularly SMAP fans, react whenever Arashi is touted as the group’s “heir” to whatever collective fame and success there is in Japan’s idoru world.

Besides, I’ve seen more TOKIO x Arashi interactions because they usually guest on one another’s shows where it becomes apparent that there is not only respect, but mutual fondness among the members of the two groups.

That is not to say I don’t like SMAP. I do. I love Kimura Takuya and Naka-san especially when he was still hosting Utaban. Nakai-san x Ohno’s mock fights were classic so like many others, I always looked forward to Arashi’s appearances on that show. Sadly, Utaban is no more. Though at the recent Kohaku, we had this moment:

Now back to SMAP vs Arashi though I prefer SMAP x Arashi… I’m sure the rivalry is just among their fans or those others who want to pit them–like the media. Coming from the same industry, I couldn’t really blame the media for pitting the two groups. It always makes for an interesting story, especially if we are talking about two very famous groups in Japan that continue to bring in the crowds during their concerts and corner lucrative endorsements and projects.

But I find the comparisons unfair. First of all, SMAP and Arashi are not in the same league. SMAP has a nine-year advantage over Arashi. They are senpais, seniors. And given the stringent senpai-kohai culture in Japan, I am sure that Arashi has never and will never forget that for one moment. SMAP, on the other hand, is already assured of their rightful place in the industry and I’m sure they are gracious enough to their kohais.

I just hope that SMAP fans will not become touchy when they read comparisons with Arashi. This is also a reminder for Arashi fans like me to take it with a grain of salt whenever someone reacts vehemently to SMAP-Arashi comparisons because the tendency is to be defensive of course. But seriously, no one is out to get SMAP’s “crown”. SMAP is SMAP. Arashi is Arashi. They are different although they came from the same creator–Johnny-san, that is.

So whenever I read about SMAP x Arashi interactions, I am happy. Like those behind-the-scene reports at Kohaku where Arashi hosted for the second time and SMAP performed as the finale for the white team. One said that when Jun-kun had a stiff back during one part of the show, KimuTaku readily gave him a massage. I say, Jun-kun is just being typical Domyoji, no less than the KimuTaku giving him service.

Then recently, I read from tumblr that when the white team lost, KimuTaku went up to Ohno and told him not to be too sad. KimuTaku himself revealed this on his radio show:

“With regards to White Team losing, Ohno-kun was feeling slightly downcast and unwilling, so I told Ohno-kun that it’s ok. There’s nothing to be sad about! You guys worked very hard already.”

Source: a-m-n-o-s

Let the photos speak for themselves:

(Photos from nunuuu.)

As a fan, isn’t it nice to see how people you admire get along very well? While it’s true that the entertainment industry is a cut-throat world, it doesn’t mean that these supposed “rivals” cannot be friends in real life. Besides, it’s easier for everyone if there are no fights–though that is asking for a lot in the world of fandom. It does cross my mind that all this–competition, scandals, rivalries–is a product of the creators/producers to drum up interests for their talents and appeal to the fan’s competitive and protective nature.

Oh fandom, you’re really such an interesting study ne.

Copyright © 2012. theasianpopculturist. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “SMAP & Arashi: the senpai-kōhai system

  1. So, OhnoxKimura is my new thing now. XD I wish SMAP and Arashi would interact more.

    I remember Nino saying on some talk show (I forgot the name. It was with Shoufukutei Tsurube) something along the lines of that Arashi owe SMAP so much. That they would like to do something for them in return.


    • awwww I love stories like that! thanks for sharing!
      I also remember that during the crazy C, D, G no Arashi days, KimuTaku mentioned in SMAP x SMAP that he watches the experiments on the show and that they’re fun.
      I wish there were more stories coming out about SMAP x Arashi since they don’t guest on each other’s shows. my dream is to see even just KimuTaku or Nakai-san on AnS. maybe Goro is possible since he has a drama w/ Osamu Mukai hahaha!


  2. Off topic ako, ate, but I just finished rewatching Pride for the nth time. And Taku just shot back to the top of my list of crushes. It’s a treat to see this post even if I don’t know anything about Jpop and idols.


    • oh Gail, Pride has been and always will be my standard of what a romantic drama is. it took me a looooong time to get over it and everytime I watch it, like you, I fall all over again with Taku.
      ayan, I wanna watch it again!


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