Minna to issho ni aruita nijuunen, saikou da yo!!!
These 20 years we’ve walked together with everyone were the best
(Title is from the note that accompanied Arashi’s “special gift” emailed to fans today, 9.15.2019, two photos from their Hawaii debut in 1999.)
Arashi have always said that the five of them are just the representatives of that entity called “Arashi” and that there are hundreds of people behind them, aside from their millions of fans.
This post is a tribute to those nameless, most of the time, faceless staff (though at least they don’t emojify the staff now in their behind-the-scene videos), including their 11 managers (looks like 1 general manager and 2 managers per member), who make sure that AMNOS are taken cared of, and to the numerous people they collaborate with and everyone who made Arashi possible.
Thank you for everything as always to:
the songwriters who have worked with them on their 16 studio albums and 56 singles, giving us songs that have accompanied us through happy and sad moments of our lives; some songs we love more than the others, but their songs have carried the brand of music that we now know as that Arashi sound.
Mujaki ni kanadeta fukyouwaon wa, Ironna sekai wo mite kitanda
Ki ga tsukeba itsu no ma ni ka sore ga, Bokura ni natteta
Playing our innocent out-of-tune songs
we’ve been to see many worlds
before we knew it
we realized that that had become who we are now
the producers of their variety shows who have given these five dorks a platform to showcase different sides of themselves on TV–from the competitive, sporty side on VS Arashi, to the gluttons and their quirky and unique personalities on Shiyagare. Special shoutout to the producers of their midnight shows (C x D x G no Arashi) who gave them a slot and allowed them to be crazy and funny, and those other shows in their early years that honed their hosting skills and thickened their skin so that nothing can faze them now.
the stylists and costume designers who dress them up on their shows and concerts, though I hope they’d sometimes go easy on the feathers, the sequins and the kira-kira, especially now that the guys are in their late 30s already. But gee, special thanks to the one behind the iconic see-through A.RA.SHI costumes that have gone down in history and cannot be unseen.
the production teams who help bring to life Arashi’s, particularly concert master MJ’s, visions for their amazing concerts from the set designs to the costumes and the other grand details like those 2 million pieces of Swarovski crystals for just one song performance in 5×20.
the production staff who manually push the moving stage and the individual carts during concerts, making sure they’re not too fast and would properly go through the routes without any hitch.
the choreographers who patiently go through rehearsals with them and the “fan” boys and girls who ensure that they are not warm during shoots (see Brave Making of for most recent reference).
their managers who are given the gargantuan task of taking care of the country’s national idols, making sure their schedules are smooth, their requirements are met, including but not limited to ensuring that Jun’s noodles are separate from the broth, that he gets the right sauce for his food, that there is salted plum in the fridge in the green room during concerts and to talk to a naked MJ soaking in the tub; that Sho has his “usual” hard-boiled egg during work breaks; that Arashi gets their desired number of boxes of mentaiko from Fukuoka; that the members don’t miss miss their shinkansen even if they get on it at the last minute to minimize public disturbance. Surely, it must entail a lot of logistical work and stress to be part of the management team (especially if you’re the manager who dropped one of the 10 Golden Disk trophies for display at J-Storm) of the national idol group but as has been discussed many times, it must also be a rewarding and enviable job.
the guests on their shows and their colleagues who have stories to tell about Arashi, because they give us a different perspective about these five men; and even if they don’t have Arashi stories, for making the shows more lively and fun.
their senpais, who have helped pave the way for their generation and shared the spotlight and stage with them. I have a soft spot for senpais like Nakai, Kokubun (who previously referred to Arashi as “great people”) and Inocchi (who conceptualized Arashi’s first movie Pikanchi), among others, who have been a very strong and supportive presence for their kouhais.
It makes you happy when you see the good guys succeed, right? – Inocchi/JCD/12.31.2017
the companies, past and present, who have put their brands in Arashi’s hands for trusting them–JAL, Hitachi, Nissan, Kirin, Ajinomoto, Nintendo, Meiji, McDonald’s, Salonpas, Aflac, Morinaga… the list goes on.
the sponsors and their numerous collaborators for making concerts, TV shows, dramas, films, albums, singles, special projects etc. possible so Arashi could reach out to more people.
Johnny, no matter the many things people have to say about him, for he was the one who put five young boys together to form 嵐; he obviously saw something in them to bankroll their debut in Hawaii, support them through these 20 years and wish them well as they decided on their hiatus a few months before he died. His message on the hiatus was also telling on how he won’t probably be around by then but he will still be watching them.
everyone who surrounds Arashi and works with them in close proximity, who must have known about the hiatus way before it was officially announced and did not break their trust by selling the story to the tabloids. This is the best proof that they work with trustworthy people. But trust begets trust in the same way that respect begets respect, and that’s a strong indication of the kind of people they are.
their families who have to share their sons with the public and accept their decision to pursue a career in entertainment, especially in Sho’s case, or have to interact with fans because of business in Aiba’s case. But I am glad that their privacy is still protected so they won’t have to be bothered while they’re going about their business just because they are Arashi’s family members–except for Sho’s retired bureaucrat dad (and his brother and sister) and Aiba’s mom who manages the family restaurant, no one really knows how the other Arashi family members look like.
Arashians–all the 2million-plus of them plus the countless of others who are not officially accounted for. I have met a lot of good friends in the fandom (many of them friends from when I first became a fan or started on Twitter) and the fellow fans I interact on social media have made the experience a pleasant and interesting one.
Ohno Satoshi, Sakurai Sho, Aiba Masaki, Ninomiya Kazunari, Matsumoto Jun–for not giving up on one another, for standing together and protecting Arashi. Indeed, no one loves Arashi more than Arashi themselves. I understand more and more every time they say that it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t the five of them. Arigatou.
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