A new Arashi fan recently asked me if there are fanwars and shippers in the Arashi fandom, just like in others.
The Arashi fandom, as much as it’s a land of rainbow-colored dreams, does have its share of fanwars and antis, and yes, shippers too. And every fandom has its rotten tomatoes but I’d like to think they are the minority.
Fanwars in the Arashi fandom do not really escalate into stressful levels. Arashi fans are too busy spazzing, trolling or laughing at the five bakas to pay attention to other fandoms. For sure other fandoms always have something to say about Arashi, some antis appear in articles, and Arashi fans may make a comment or two but never dwell on it enough to turn it into a full-blown fanwar. Why should they, there are so many positive things to focus on like Nino’s latest troll or fashion choices or Jun’s new hair, or the latest fail of Sho on VS ARASHI or their latest antics on SHIYAGARE. Or you know, their albums and their awesome concerts.
Arashi is made up of five guys and each of them have their own fans. At the same time, believe an Arashi fan when they say “I love all five…BUT my ichiban is…” Of course we all have our ichibans, it’s human nature. Even parents have their favorite child
, just don’t tell the others. Even Arashi themselves know this and they love asking people they meet “who’s your favorite” and most always, they would end up not being the favored member (and their epic reactions never get old but they always take it good-naturedly).
It’s very seldom though that fans fight among themselves. Maybe one of the few intense fights among fans would be the various Arashi ships. Take your pick: Ohmiya, Yama, Sakuraiba, Sakumoto, Sakumiya, Matsumiya, Junba, NinoAi, Juntoshi, Tennen… but it’s all for fun. Sure, there are ships with their pairings from their dramas but they never get annoying (except for that one drama ship that refuses to sink) unlike in other fandoms. And certainly, fans do not fight among themselves on who is the best Arashi member. And I personally frown on those who boost their ichiban at the expense of the others. Sure, spazz and praise your ichiban but never put another member down in doing so. That is an unspoken rule in the fandom and I know one fan who is notorious for doing that. Thankfully, she is a minority.
Besides, why fight over who’s king? Arashi themselves never have a problem with who gets the most attention, even during the time that Jun was the most prominent one thanks to HANA YORI DANGO. The group even used it as an opportunity to get more fans that is why the fandom has such a term as “Jun-baited”. I’m one of them and while many have been Jun-baited, that didn’t stop them from knowing the other members more, even changing their ichiban. In fact, many fans have a regular ichiban ranking all in good faith and depends on who’s giving most of the laughs or the fails or the spazz-worthy photoshoots at the moment.
And there is such a give-and-take culture within the group. This is very noticeable when they promote individual projects or dramas. They let that member take the lead in their TV appearances while the rest are just content to show their support. The five all know that while individually, they command star power, together they are the milky way.
As Nino-sensei said during the recent Waku Waku Gakou:
“If you work together, your power will be doubled.”
The five are also very different not only individually but in their interests that they could have decided at a certain point to just go separate ways. I read a tweet today on Nino’s thoughts soon after he came back from Hollywood.
“When I came back from America, honestly I was very insecure. Can I go back to Arashi should I go back to Arashi… I spent my time on the plane seemingly praying over such things. But, after coming back I was reassured that Arashi is where I can really stay calm and be myself, and there’s always a place for me.” – Source
Indeed, there have been many openings for each member to just say he’ll go solo. Nino could have decided to pursue more opportunities in Hollywood after LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. Sho could have just continued with the solo act after his solo concert (same for Riida) or just focus on his newscasting career. Riida could just be an artist or a fisherman. Aiba has his variety show hosting career very well secured, in fact, among them, he was the first to have a solo hosting job. And does Jun really need Arashi to be a leading man in romance dramas and films?
But as Nino said, there is always a place for each one of them in the group. And while he was in the US, the four carried his standee everywhere they went in their appearances. As Riida said, Arashi won’t be Arashi if even one of them is missing.
Also in the recent Waku Waku, Riida illustrated how each of them could have gone their own way because they had very different dreams as kids and yet, by fate, they were brought together. They have multiple roles to play in the group but in their Leader’s eyes, this is how it goes:
Sho – pioneer (the first Johnnys to earn a college degree and go into newscasting)
Jun – idea man (forever grateful to Matsumoto for the moving stage)
Aiba – sunshine (the miracle boy’s smile always brings calmness to the group)
Nino – melodymaker (the group’s anniversary songs Sketch and 5×10, as well as Fight Song are all partly thanks to him)
But of course, in his own eyes, Riida is still the leader. And had it been one of the four to lead Arashi, it would have been a different story altogether.
I’d like to think that this cohesion among the five, despite their clashing personalities, has a strong influence in the fandom. As RocketNews24 recently found out, the foremost reason why fans like Arashi is because they get along well. It’s not even about their looks or dancing or singing. But of course non-fans would have difficulty understanding Arashi’s charm especially if they watch their TV shows randomly. How much more fathom their “national idol” status, which means they are not just idols to a certain segment of society. I mean, why would their faces be on flag carrier JAL’s jets if they haven’t earned that title?
So back to the question… the Arashi fandom has its share of crazy but for the most part, it’s happy. And I hope that new fan stays to enjoy the rainbows and the unicorns too.
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