Changi—Over a thousand fans gathered amid blinding sunlight as Japanese boy band Arashi went onstage for a fan meet on Nov. 10 at Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport.
The event, part of a two-day media blitz across four cities including Bangkok, Taipei and Jakarta, also announced forthcoming performances before the group goes on hiatus after Dec. 31, 2020.
Arashi, an exponent of J-pop or Japanese pop, has sold over 54 million albums, singles and videos, and is said to be the bestselling boy band in Asia.
Arashi’s five members— Satoshi Ohno, Sho Sakurai, Masaki Aiba, Kazunari Ninomiya and Jun Matsumoto— expressed gratitude to the fans’ continued support since the group’s debut in 1999.
The group’s biggest break came in 2007 with the single “Love So Sweet,” which was used as opening theme song for the high-rating Japanese TV drama “Hana Yori Dango 2,” which starred Matsumoto.
In 2010, its album “Boku no Miteiru Fukei (The Scenery I’m Looking At)” became the bestselling album of the year in Japan with over a million copies sold.
In the Philippines, the Facebook page Matsujun Philippines~Arashi sa Pilipinas has 28,329 followers.
The group is set to perform May 15 and 16, 2020, at Tokyo’s New National Stadium, two months before the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Fans who were present at the Singapore event thought Arashi would also announce concerts in the region, but only a 2020 concert in Beijing is in the pipeline.
Nevertheless, the event was enough to satisfy the fans’ desire to see their idols up close. They crowded the viewing galleries at the airport, some of them camping out as early as 5 a.m.—prompting Ninomiya to joke that the fans might suffer muscle aches the next day.
Reason to be happy
The fans have reason to be happy. Arashi has made its music available on Spotify and Apple Music, with its first digital single, “Turning Up,” ushering in the transition.
The group has likewise launched its official social media accounts to interact directly with fans.
“I’ve always noticed and known about our international fans,” said Matsumoto. “We’re very happy with the response, the fact that they are responding directly to something that Arashi puts out is great. We hope this will be a great opportunity for our fans and for us to get much closer to each other. We’d like to share the same dreams with our fans around the world.”
Arashi’s digital music and social media presence were meant to offset the group’s impending inactivity in 2021.
The decision to go on an indefinite hiatus was due to Ohno’s wanting to take a break from the group.
But from the looks and screams of Arashi fans at Jewel Changi Airport that afternoon, it seems the group will be inspired to get back into action sooner than later.