It’s the 31st birthday of Arashi’s youngest. The reason why I became a fan of Arashi. He’s still my ichiban though it would seem Nino because I tweet about him most of the time. But heck, I love all these five dorks that maybe the only reason I say Jun is my ichiban is because I was Jun-baited.
Let’s take a look at the many facets of Jun from his drama and movie roles to the many nicknames mostly thanks to Nino. Which do you like most?
1. Matsujun – the Japanese love coming up with nicknames that combine family and first names. Thus we have Matsuken (Matsumaya Kenichi), KimuTaku (Kimura Takuya) etc. Most everyone in the industry calls him Matsujun. He was first designated as the comedian of the group when they started and with his buck teeth, I can just imagine. But over the years, Matsujun’s personality has changed from being an earnest, cute little boy to a cold one to the warm, well-adjusted man he is today, oftentimes depending on the role he is playing at the moment.
2. Kindaichi – his first lead role in a drama as the young detective opposite then one of Japan’s most promising young actress Anne Suzuki.
3. Sawada Shin – the young rebellious student in GOKUSEN 1. Who can forget the way Shin would glare or say, “Yankumiiii!!!” This role was also the beginning of his rebellious phase in Arashi when he started to shed his dorky, youngest image and became cold and aloof. Growing up pains I guess.
4. Bon – well, he returned to his dorky self in PIKANCHI (that has made a comeback 10 years later this month in Japanese cinemas too). Bon with his distinctive white pants and green jacket or vest (in the 2014 edition, the hot pink suit) and the chef trainee uniform.
5. Momo – after watching KIMI WA PETTO, everyone wanted to have a pet like Momo. By now we realize that when it comes to his movie roles, it’s also about the hair. That curly mop, thank god, sort of suited him. Well he was young, I wouldn’t forgive him now if he opts for this hairstyle again.
6. Koji – I watched TOKYO TOWER in my first year as an Arashi fan and boy, was I shocked. The theme was mature looking at young men in their 20s falling in love with married women. Well Okada was also good to look at so the shock was kind of mitigated but I guess my shock came from a culture that boxed idols to the squeaky clean, goody-two shoes mold. Looking back now, isn’t it cool that a JE idol like Matsujun went for a role like this when he was only 22?
7. Domyouji – Jun’s most iconic role that even until now, people still identify it with him. This was also the vehicle that revved up Arashi to public consciousness beyond Japan’s shores and yes, like many others, baited me into this rainbow-colored fandom. The dorkiness of Tsukasa as well as his DoS character became so identified with MJ even in his real persona. I guess there is a Domyouji in the way he acts so tough but actually has a heart as soft as a dango inside.
8. Yori Yuki – coming on the heels of Domyouji, a boy in love with his twin sister came as another shocker but then, by now we know that Jun has an eclectic taste in his roles. Yuki’s conflicted character was a stark contrast to Domyouji whose only conflict was his Japanese puns and the social class that separated him from the woman he loved. It was uncomfortable seeing Jun acting in a taboo subject but that was the whole point of BOKU WA IMOUTO NI KOI WO SURU.
9. Ban Shogo – we all know him as… BAMBINO!!! One of my favorite Jun roles because he showed a wide range of emotions from frustration to determination to ambition. And it was refreshing to see him being bullied onscreen rather than the other way around. Payback for Tsukasa.
10. Yuji – in the third movie (counting PIKANCHI as two pre-2014) of Arashi, KIIROI NAMIDA, Jun’s Yuji was more like an interloper. I suppose Jun was busy with other projects this time so his appearance in the movie was more like a cameo I don’t even remember what he did.
11. Takezo – a very unrecognizable Jun in THE LAST PRINCESS as a dirty laborer who looked like Tarzan. But I loved him in this role too and I loved his onscreen bromance with Miyagawa Daisuke.
12. Hayakawa Bito – another of my favorite Jun role. Don’t let the title SMILE fool you, Bito was painful to watch I was crying the most part I watched this drama. But just as his every role seeps into the real Jun, Bito gave back Jun his gentle and warm edges.
13. Kusunoki Taiga – the role imo that very closely approximates the real Matsumoto Jun (not that I know him personally). It didn’t look like he was acting as Taiga, the second generation actor who wants to get away from his father’s shadow yet loves him very dearly, is earnest in everything he does but doesn’t fail to end up bungling things because he just so badly wants to succeed and despite being put down, he keeps on going. Oh Taiga, I just wanted him to get the break and get the girl.
14. Nozomu Goto – in Arashi’s 10th anniversary drama SP (the first) about a group that planned a revenge for their dead friend, he played a “delivery boy” who was cocky and with a temper. Reminds me of the Jun from variety shows ago.
15. Tokita Shuntaro – LUCKY SEVEN is my favorite Jun drama bar none. Part of it is because of his onscreen chemistry and bromance with Eita. Shuntaro was also quite a goofy character.
16. Okuda Kosuke – Jun in magical romance sepia plus a cat, what more can you ask for? I can still hear Watarai Mao (Ueno Juri) say: Arigato, Kosuke!”
17. Sota – the forever heartbroken chocolatier who was often caught up in his fantasies as much as his chocolates.
18. Emperor – one of the first nicknames that the group, particularly Nino, gave him during the C x D x G NO ARASHI era.
19. Junnosuke – trivia: he mentioned once (on SHUKUDAIKUN) that he wanted to be named Junnosuke.
20. Jun-pon – this has got to be one of my favorite nicknames that Nino gave him.
21. J – simple but you got to hear it from Nino when he says J. Even non-Arashi colleagues have noticed this term of endearment that one thought it was cool for Arashi to call one another by initials (they don’t).
22. MJ – quite coincidentally, Jun is a huge fan of one other MJ, Michael Jackson.
23. DJ MJ – or as Sho said, “MY DJ MJ!!!” he usually makes an appearance during concerts.
24. Mr J
25. Don Matsumoto J – sometimes I think Nino is just having too much fun playing around with his Jun-pon.
26. Atsujun – see what I mean? Literally, “hot Jun” that spontaneously came up during an episode of SHIYAGARE when Jun was slicing steak and he said “it’s hot!”
27. Yakijun – for yakiniku Jun. Guess who gave this name too?
28. Macchan – the way Sho used to call him in their junior/early Arashi years. The nickname still surfaces but very rarely now.
29. Matsumo – Sho called him this in a VS ARASHI episode and giggled that it was the first time he was calling Jun that.
30. Matsumoto-san – whenever I hear him being addressed like this especially by older colleagues, it reminds me that he is no longer Matsumoto-kun. The boy has grown up and has earned his place in the world.
31. Jun-kun – for most of us, he will always be the youngest in Arashi even if he’s already 31.
Jun is so much more than these roles or nicknames too. He’s Arashi’s resident DoS and production banchou. He is diva, Mr Cool Guy, the one you’d like to eat yakiniku with (especially because he takes care of the food and would even slice the meat for you). He is different things to different people. But for me, he was the one who introduced me to this rainbow world and I am forever grateful.
Junpon, お誕生日おめでとうございます. Happy birthday!!! As much as you have given your best in your chosen profession, I can only wish you the best in life too. To borrow Riida’s patented birthday greetings: “Okasan, thank you for always giving birth to Matsujun.” And to borrow from Sho…
M J H! B! D! M J H! B! D!
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