Saturday, August 29, 2009

ARASHI Anniversary Tour 5x10

The popular group Arashi has welcomed the first day of "ARASHI Anniversary Tour 5x10", their 10th anniversary concert tour, at Tokyo's Kokuritsu Kyogijo (until the 30th). "We want to become a group that is known throughout the world 10 years, 20 years from now." Just as they had vowed at their debut 10 years ago, these five people are stirring up a storm not only in Japan, but Asia as well. A million sales of their best of album is also right before their eyes. The hottest five people right now held a magnificent celebration of their memorial year with 70,000 fans.

The final stage. "We are blessed to have received support over these 10 years." Overcome with emotion and moved to tears, leader Ohno Satoshi (28) was hugged by Aiba Masaki (26). It was a very Arashi-like scene.

The tour title, "5x10", represents the 10 years they had gone through together. With three consecutive days of performances at the Kokuritsu for the first time in history for starters, it was a brilliant curtain-dropping to their following 5 dome commemorative tour that will attract 760,000 people.

It was a masterpiece from the very beginning. Just as you wonder if you can see their figures high up in the sky on the stage constructed beside the main stand, they flew 200 metres all the way to the Olympic flame platform at a height of 30 metres. Taking in the view of the seating below them, they hyped up the 70,000 strong audience with "Kokuritsu, let's have fun!!"

With "Raising a storm in the world" as their catchphrase, they debuted in November of 1999 with an average age of 16.6 years. They have literally created a "storm" on this island, but while their national popularity has reached the top, the road they've traveled to get this far had not been smooth.

September of 1999. Starting with a flashy debut conference in Hawaii, they were offered one topic after another. On the other hand, there were periods where their CDs did not sell as many as expected as well. Up until now, the number of both singles and albums that became million-sellers is zero. To Arashi, their first million-seller is right before their eyes with the best of album that went on sale this month, "All the BEST! 1999-2009".

It had taken time for their big break. After their debut, they had taken the train to their jobs for 4 to 5 years. During their 2002 tour, all the members would gather in leader Ohno's hotel room after their shows ended each night to worry over "What should we do to be Arashi-like?" "How can we become like our senpais?" and so on, holding discussions over the direction they should take. It was there that the self-awareness of the members became unified for the first time, and began to move forward in a single direction.

"All of us are diligent. I believe that this is the fruit born from doing everything with care." Like Matsumoto Jun (25) had said, it is the accumulation of hard work and achievements. With Ninomiya Kazunari (26)'s appearance in "Iwojima kara no tegami" (released in 2006) directed by Clint Eastwood and Matsumoto's "Hana yori dango" series that caused a social phenomenon, they succeeded in reaching a new, wider demographic of fans as well.

At the news conference before their show, Sakurai Sho (27) spoke his mind frankly and honestly: "We're a group that took its time a bit. We took the roundabout way, but we're glad to have finally arrived here. We feel all the more joyous." The 10th year is just a single checkpoint. "Arashi's Era" still has yet to end.

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