If there’s Abenomics, there’s Arashinomics.
Being Japan’s top idols means not only lucrative business for Uncle Johnny. It’s business for big companies like JAL, Nissan, Hitachi, Kirin, Pocky, Meiji, Ajinomoto etc, just as it is business for smaller companies and even the underground economy (just ask those who sell concert tickets on the Internet at 100x the original price, if that is not underground–also illegal–enough)
– When Arashi has a concert in Tokyo (be it at Kokuritsu or Tokyo Dome), they will add more trains to accommodate the crowd.
– Flights to wherever they have a concert increase on the concert dates. Just ask Sho who missed his flight to Fukoka last week and was waitlisted on the next flight that was full with fangirls.
– Kamifurano experiences tourist influx and taxi drivers make a killing thanks to fangirls who have made a pilgrimage site out of a place where five trees that appeared in Arashi’s JAL commercial are located.
– Grown-up men
who look like scalpers are seen hoarding on concert goods (I’ve seen photos on Twitter before but couldn’t find them now).
– Magazines go out of print when they are on the cover.
– CD Japan’s servers crash whenever it’s pre-order time for Arashi CDs or DVDs (not to mention NTV’s servers too during Best Artist when it was time to play with Arashi).
– When Arashi eats at a restaurant and goes public about it, fangirls will not only track down the place but will also eat there. Free advertisement!
– Cities where they hold their concerts look like they are having a matsuri with Arashi-inspired merchandise in cafes and konbini from food to coffee to even store displays. That’s not soft power, that’s real power.
It’s accurate to say that they are big in Japan. Big ONLY in Japan? Well, Japan is the world’s No. 1 music market and though it was overtaken by China as the world’s No. 2 biggest economy, it is still big. So who needs the world when you got… well, Japan, right? Although it’s frustrating for international fans because for selfish reasons–and not for world-domination (because seriously? We’re not even after the bragging rights to say that hey, people as far as Africa know Arashi)–we do want Arashi to look outside of Japan so at least we’d have a fairer chance of watching their concerts. Because even now that they’re not thinking internationally, the Arashi market economy–domestic and international–is very much alive and thriving.
© Yasminka Lee (blogging since 2001). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the contents in Orange Jasmine Purple Yam without permission from the author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Yasminka Lee/Orange Jasmine Purple Yam with appropriate link to the original content.