The greatest boy band you didn’t know about
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Apologizes to any fans of New Kids on The Block, Backstreet Boys, One Direction, and BTS. In my opinion, Arashi is the greatest boy band of all time. They have been making music for 20 years now—much longer than most boy bands.
Earlier in January, the group announced in a video message to their fan club members—and later in a press conference—that the group’s career will finish in December of 2020. This is because the captain of the group and lead member, Satoshi Ohno, wants to focus on his life outside the entertainment industry. The five-member group is part of the male groups in Japan called Johnnys, which is named after their late producer, Los Angeles born Johnny Kitagawa.
The name of the group, Arashi, means storm in Japanese. Their self-titled debut single combined pop, hip hop, and rap—something that was previously unheard of. The end of the music video of the song shows an iconic image of the group and is the beginning of a long career. Unlike most boy bands, the group is still relevant today and they are seen everywhere, even starring in films and shows—including their weekly NTV show, Must Be ARASHI!, and the infamous Fuji TV gameshow, VS Arashi.
Ohno is the most popular member of the group since he is the lead of most of their singles and has major roles in TV shows—including a famous character named Kaibutsu kun in Little Monster. The group wrote “Monster,” the theme song of that show. Jun Matsumoto (Nicknamed MJ) usually does the rap sections of their songs.
An interesting fact about another of the band’s members, Sho Sakurai, is that he is one of the hosts of NTV’s main newscast, News Zero, where he does special sports reports. Masaki Aiba is also usually seen in shows and does some of the rapping in their songs. My favourite member in the group, Kazunari Ninomiya (nicknamed Nino), is well known internationally for playing a major character in Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima. He is a great actor, as he displays.
Most of their hit singles have a variety of styles—but often have a disco flare and are both fun and serious. Some of my favourite songs of the group include, “Typhoon Generation,” “Lucky Man,” “Happiness,” “Step and Go,” “Wild at Heart,” and “Guts!”
After they announced that the group will end, they released a best of album called 5×20, started a YouTube channel, opened social media accounts, announced a world tour, and made their music available on streaming services—leading to the group’s next hit single and first digital single, “Turning Up.” The music video of the song is directed by a Canadian music production company—The Young Astronauts—and is an introduction to the group for fans new to J-Pop. It reminds me of music videos of boy bands in the 1990s, and it proves that they are finally mainstream in North America. It was filmed in partially in Los Angeles in a variety of places, including Hollywood Boulevard.
The history of Arashi describes why they are the greatest boy band of all time. While they are doing a lot of major events in their last year, the storm is still definitely coming.