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How Arashi Became The National Treasure Of Japan

Dec 25, 2021

Arashi is the Japanese word for Storm, which is what they did to the entertainment world with their two-decades-long stints as a group, amassing $560 million net worth accumulated through the years. The popular Japanese boy group consists of five members, namely Satoshi Ohno, Sho Sakurai, Masaki Aiba, Kazunari Ninomiya, and Jun Matsumoto. Arashi was formed under the famous talent agency in Japan, Johnny & Associates.

The group was officially launched on September 15, 1999, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and later released their debut CD on November 3, 1999. They initially signed to the recording company Pony Canyon, where they released one studio album and six singles. However, after three years, their agency decided to a subsidiary label just for their group called J Storm, and since then, they have been releasing albums and singles through the label.

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Struggles of Making It Big In Japan

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The group did not have a smooth sailing career; whatever they accomplished now was the fruit of their labor. When Arashi first released their album, it became a major hit selling 557,430 copies in the first week alone, and by the end of its chart run, it had already sold about a million copies. As their first album did well in sales, they did not expect to see a decline in sales on their second single, Sunrise Nippon/Horizon, which only sold 304,340 copies. Subsequent releases, Typhoon Generation and Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi, also failed to deliver with only 256,510 copies sold and 258,720 copies sold, respectively.

The group experienced a further decline in sales in their fourth year, selling only 200,000 copies per release. Starting their fourth year, they would only release two singles every year until 2007. In 2004, they released their single Pikanchi Life is Hard Thus Happy, which only sold 89,106, by far the lowest selling single to date. Though the sales were not at all satisfying, the group continued pursuing their dreams and did not give up.

In the year 2006, their management decided to enter the Asian market and released albums outside Japan. Arashi’s studio album Arashic was released not only in Japan but released in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as well. Surprisingly, they did well on the market outside Japan; they even topped the non-Korean sales chart on the first day of their album release. The group started an Asian Tour that same year, where they visited Thailand, South Korea, and Taiwan in July 2006.

Success That Took Almost A Decade To Take Off

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With their newfound fame and market, they were able to represent Japan in the annual Asia Song Festival in South Korea that same year. Just months after their successful concert, they decided to perform individual concerts in South Korea in November 2006, making them the first group from Japan to do individual concerts. According to the news, the concert was an impromptu performance because about 1,500 South Korean fans gathered at the Incheon International Airport. Arashi’s popularity in South Korea was proven once again after their concert tickets were sold out in just an hour, with over 150,000 people rushing to book the tickets.

Their success overseas garnered interest from the Japanese market, and soon after their Asian Tour, their albums peaked on the charts once again. In 2007, the group released their single Love So Sweet, sold over 200,000 copies on its first week, the first released that hit 200,000 sales in the last five years. In April of 2007, they have held another concert around Japan titled Arashi Around Asia in Dome. As the group sparked public interest in Japan, they have renewed success in their home country. The members of the group were offered lead roles on different TV dramas, and they have released numerous singles left and right. Before the group hit a decade into their career, they were already one of the most adored personalities in Japan.

With their career starting to take off, the group continued to persevere to get where they are right now. The group held annual concerts across Japan with millions of attendees each time. The albums are released by the group each year. Just in time for their 15th year anniversary, the group recorded a total of 10 million concert attendees. With their successful music career, the group also had success outside their group as each member is busy working on different dramas yearly. The members of the groups always top the list for the Japanese celebrities with the most endorsements as well. Even for the year 2020, the five members topped the list for having done the most commercials, Sakurai Sho with 19 CMs, Masaki Aiba with 17 CMs, Jun Matsumoto with 16 CMs, Satoshi Ohno with 14 CMs, and Ninomiya Kazunari with 13 CMs.

All Good Things Must Come To An End

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Right now, they are the most valued artists in Japan. They had a mind-blowing stint as a group with over 41 million records sold and performed to over 14 million people in their entire career. And even their Netflix documentary, Arashi’s Diary – Voyage, was streamed about 360 million times since its release in November 2019. In the group’s 21st year in the industry, the group decided to suspend all their entertainment activities as a group. The leader of the group, Satoshi Ohno, decided to stop all his activities in the industry and wants to live like a normal people; the rest of the members Sakurai Sho, Aiba Masaki, Matsumoto Jun, and Ninomiya Kazunari, have started doing individual activities. The group claims that it is just an indefinite hiatus. Some claim that they do not want to continue group activities because their leader is not with them. There is no definite answer whether they will make a comeback or leave things as is.

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Sources: The Manual, Arama Japan, Japan Insides

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