Arashi leader Satoshi Ohno grateful to band members for accepting his wish to quit

(Left to right) Singers Ninomiya Kazunari, Aiba Masaki, Matsumoto Jun, Ohno Satoshi, and Sakurai Sho of Japanese band Arashi meet fans on November 11, 2019 in Taipei. (Photo: Getty Images)

In their Netflix-exclusive documentary series Arashi’s Diary: VoyageArashi members explained their heartbreaking decision to go on hiatus. The main reason stemmed from the popular J-pop boy band’s leader, Satoshi Ohno, wanting “to be free” to live his life. Putting the word out to his family, the other four members and his fans was not easy, which led him to express gratitude when they accepted his decision.

In an annual variety show of Arashi’s titled A La Tsubo aired on 3 January, there was a segment where Ohno had a chat with Ryoichi Tsukada, his junior of the same company over a couple of drinks. As the 39-year-old gradually became drunk and opened up, he began talking about his recent visit to his parent’s home and their conversations. 

“I’m so, so grateful. My dad is stubborn, but he encouraged me to do my best,” Ohno revealed. He added that he was honestly happy to hear that, and told his parents that he became who he is now thanks to them.

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“Before I was born, my mum loved disco and my dad played the drums. These two persons met and gave birth to me, and I entered Johnny & Associates by chance. As my parents were connected by music, I grew up doing impersonations of Michael Jackson and the likes. My parents saw my impersonations and laughed, and that was the root. I was glad my impersonations made them smile,” confessed Ohno.

When Tsukada was convinced that pleasing his parents was Ohno’s starting point, Ohno replied with his heart full, “It might have been so in the beginning. But beyond everything, it’s the fans. It is because we have supportive fans. If we forget this fact, we’re finished.”

Towards the end of the segment, Tsukada asked if he felt like he had troubled the other four members, and Ohno answered immediately that he was nothing but thankful.

“I’ve been wanting to quit and the other four understood my feeling. Because the four of them readily accepted my thoughts without asking why, I am simply grateful,” confessed the leader of Arashi. 

Arashi will go on indefinite hiatus after 31 December 2020.