The Jakarta Post
Bracing for the storm: Fans of Japanese group Arashi gather in front of Hotel Mulia in Central Jakarta on Sunday. The popular group made a stop in town for its two-day Jet Storm media tour. (JP/Donny Fernando)
Japanese boy band Arashi, which translates to “storm” in Japanese, has made a brief stop in Jakarta to celebrate its 20th anniversary as part of its JET STORM two-day tour in four countries of Asia.
The five-person group arrived early on Sunday morning after performing for the celebration of Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement at the Imperial Palace Plaza in Tokyo late on Saturday. After Jakarta, they are scheduled to visit Singapore, followed Bangkok and Taipei the next day.
Long overdue: Arashi members (from left) Kazunari Ninomiya, Masaki Aiba, Jun Matsumoto, Satoshi Ohno and Sho Sakurai pose after the JET STORM media event at Hotel Mulia on Sunday. They announced their activities planned for the coming year, before they will suspend activities as a group at the end of 2020. (JP/Donny Fernando)
Members Masaki Aiba, Satoshi Ohno, Jun Matsumoto, Sho Sakurai and Kazunari Ninomiya greeted the 50 fans selected through a ballot system to attend the event at Hotel Mulia in Central Jakarta as well as more than a hundred fans gathering around the venue.
“We are surprised that so many people recognized us although we never had a chance to come [to Jakarta]. Because of fans like all of you we made it for 20 years,” said lead vocalist Ohno.
Jun also thanked the fans who had waited since the morning.
“We are finally able to come here as Arashi. We knew that we have many fans here. I really want to relish this moment with all of you,” he said.
They expressed appreciation for fans who appeared with Arashi merchandise and surprise about the fans’ eloquence in Japanese.
Arashi members are known not only for their music but also for appearances in movies, dramas, variety shows and commercials. The group announced it would suspend its activities at the end of next year after a 21-year career since its debut on Nov. 3, 1999.
Last week, they opened accounts on five social media platforms – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Weibo – after a YouTube channel in October. In an unprecedented move, they also released their new single, Turning Up, through various digital music platforms, followed by all 64 hits of the past 20 years.
“We decided to go digital and appear in social media so we could get closer to the fans even during our long break,” added Jun.
Arashi also planned to hold celebratory concerts in May next year at the new National Stadium in Tokyo – the main venue of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, renovation work on which is to be completed later this month.
“Since our debut, we have held concerts several times at that stadium. The place is full of memories for us. We are excited to be able to be there one more time, the first event to be held there before the Olympics,” said Sho.
The group also plans to hold a concert in Beijing in spring.
During its active years, Arashi held a total of 394 live performances and concerts overseas, such as in Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul and Hawaii.
So, what will Arashi members do during the break?
“I have no idea. Maybe the fans could send us some suggestions using the social media platforms,” said Aiba.
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