I really shouldn’t be touching this sensitive subject and adding my two-cents-worth to the cacophony on “group vs solo” debate but well, I’m a busybody and this is my blog. So.
In My Head
As a fangirl of a group, it’s normal to have fears of a possible break-up in the future. We have seen it happen to other groups, we are scared it will happen to ours.
Go Your Way
So anything that does not have anything to do with the group will be considered a threat. Like solo activities such as dramas, films, individual fan meets, solo albums, even endorsements.
Let’s Go Crazy
Then comes the fanwars. United we stand, divided we fall. It’s bias against bias. Bash here, bash there. Hurtful words are exchanged. Innocent people are dragged in.
Where You Are
Of course as fangirls, we go where our idols go.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the fans’ sentiments. But when it comes to this topic, I can only speak from the perspective of Arashi since I have been their fan for nine of the 15 years they have been spreading rainbows, unicorns and sequins in J-pop. And while the J-pop culture may have distinct differences with K-pop, there are similarities as well. After all, the ups and downs of a fangirl’s life is universal and easy to relate to if you are one.
Arashi members have done solo concerts (Riida and Sho) in the early part of their careers, they continue to do individual dramas and films and promote these on their own (except when they promote the theme songs if they sing it, which they do as a group). They look at these as opportunities to tell the world about their group and expand their fanbase.
Let’s face it, they are different people brought together in a group. They need to pursue their own interests, live separate lives. They never even shared a house except on TV when they did Share House for their show HIMITSU, which was just a few hours of filming actually.
All or Nothing
Each of them have had the chance to totally leave the group and go solo if they wanted to. But as Nino said, between Hollywood and Arashi, he chose Arashi because it’s the place where he can be himself. So while they may have pursued solo endeavors, they still come home because they consider Arashi as their homebase.
A Day In Our Life
Riida described it once as like a family with members going out to do their own thing then coming back home, wiser, knowing more of the world and have a lot to share with one another. Their individual experiences enrich them and in turn, make their group stronger.
Of course my two fandoms are different like day and night but there will be things that are true whether J-pop or K-pop: talent is priceless, hard work pays off and that one’s success reflects on the group.
“Going solo” is not scary if you think of it as branching out, diversifying, gaining new experiences. They need to pursue their own interests, discover things on their own and make their own endeavors so that they will have more to contribute to the group. A group is organic in itself. It needs to grow its roots so that new leaves can sprout, flowers can bloom in the spring and eventually bear fruits. But in order to do that, they can’t be confined and restricted. To be able to nurture a group, they need to be happy, confident, fulfilled individuals first. Araeso? Araeso.
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