Recently, I wrote a post about Boy Bands in Japan, and how they differ somewhat then the ones you might know in the U.S., with their image being more “cool” and with broader appeal across genders. In that post, I talked about my wife’s and daugther’s interest in the band Arashi (嵐, lit. “storm”) in particular, and how it has rubbed off on me. Here’s a quick video of her playing her Hello Kitty piano along with an Arashi video:
(Note: there is an even funnier video of her singing along to a different Japanese music show here.)
I grew up in Seattle and spent my teenage youth in the “Grunge-era” 90′s when we had so many awesome bands that all managed to implode or self-destruct one after another. Since that time, I’ve had trouble finding any particular music I enjoyed apart from a album or two elsewhere, and so I think listening to Arashi with my family has given me something different to appreciate, and it has rubbed off on me a lot.
Recently, I finished watching the Japanese TV drama Kaibutsu-kun (怪物くん) which featured the “leader” of Arashi as the main actor. I enjoyed the drama for other reasons, but the fusion of the two made me a confirmed Arashi fan after that.
This page is devoted to Arashi and information about them, probably one of the few pages in English. If you’re like me and tired of the typical music scene, you might enjoy their good music, high energy and good showmanship plus the unique personalities of each member. Also, for me, it’s a great thing to share with my loved ones who already have an interest. No joke, sometimes my 4-year old daughter and I do “silly dancing” along with one of the Arashi concert DVDs we have at home, and I do listen to a couple of their more recent albums on my iPhone at work too. Again, I enjoy the high-energy, good music along with the much needed practice listening to Japanese (just as my wife did the same learning English years ago).
So, take a look at this page as I add more content over time. Here’s a couple things to start off with:
- A good sample of their music over the last 10 years can be found in their recent anniversary 2-disc album: All the Best 1999-2009. I like their later stuff in the 2nd disc best. It’s a solid album.
- Their 9th Album 僕の見ている風景 (lit. “The scenery I am watching”) is another great 2-disc album. Again, I prefer the 2nd disc, which has the highly addicting song Monster (also available as a single), which was the theme song to Kaibutsu-kun above.
Speaking of “Monster” you can see a video of the song online too. Here’s another video of them thanking people for their support of Japan after the earthquake, and encouraging people to visit Japan again.
Here’s a photo from a recent uchiwa (内輪) or promotional fan my sister-in-law brought back from a concert:
On the back row, starting from the left, surnames first (per Japanese tradition):
- Masaki Aiba (born 1982), or just “Aiba-kun” is the most outgoing of the group and you see him a lot on TV. He brings a lot of energy to the group.
- Ono Satoshi (born 1980), or “Leader” has a great singing voice. My wife and I like him a lot. He was the lead character in the Kaibutsu-kun drama mentioned above.
- Sakurai Sho (born 1982), or just “Shō-kun” is the most talented with hip-hop music, and is very fun to watch in concerts. Great entertainer.
And in the front-row, also starting from the left:
- Matsumoto Jun (born 1983), or just “Matsujun” is my daughter’s favorite. He often wears his hair in a pompadour-style and is very charming to the ladies. He also starred in a drama my wife likes too (花より男子).
- Kuzanari Ninomiya (born 1983), or “Nino-kun” is probably the most well-rounded artist as he writes some of the songs, sings great and does a lot of acting too. My wife says he is very intelligent sounding in interviews. I respect him a lot.
I’ll have to dig up some photos one of these days for reference…