Arashi spends last moments before hiatus with fans during final concert

Members of Japanese pop music band, Arashi (left to right): Kazunari Ninomiya, Masaki Aiba, Sho Sakurai, Satoshi Ohno, and Jun Matsumoto. (Photo: Arashi/Instagram)
Members of Japanese pop music band, Arashi (left to right): Kazunari Ninomiya, Masaki Aiba, Sho Sakurai, Satoshi Ohno, and Jun Matsumoto. (Photo: Arashi/Instagram)

31 December may have been a welcome conclusion to the dreadful 2020 for most of us, but definitely not for the fans of the legendary J-pop idol group Arashi. Although the last day of 2020 was the date of Arashi’s livestreamed concert titled This Is Arashi, it also marked the last day of the group’s activities as they go into hiatus from 2021.

Arashi’s handwritten messages were shown at the end of the concert.

Having made their debut in 1999, Arashi had gone through many obstacles, including finally making a breakthrough in 2007, to reach the level of achievement they had. After walking together through thick and thin during the past 21 years, not only was it a difficult farewell — albeit temporary — for the members of Arashi, it was also heartbreaking for the fans.

Towards the end of the concert, during the song Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi, which literally means “thank you Arashi”, under the instructions of the concert staff, fans were able to send surprise messages to express their gratitude towards Arashi. Tons of tear-jerking messages were shown on the roof of Tokyo Dome where the group was performing:

“I’ll always wait for you (to come back).”

“Thank you Arashi.”

“I’m glad I became a fan of Arashi.”

“I love Arashi.”

“Let’s meet again with smiles on our faces someday.”

Dumbfounded by the unexpected messages, the Arashi members gazed at the roof with their eyes wide and watery. As they moved on to give their individual speeches, Jun Matsumoto was overcome by his emotions, and turned around with his back facing the camera to wipe his uncontrollable tears. After composing himself, he turned back and said with a smile, “Arashi was a dream to me. I felt very blessed. It would be nice if this dream can resume someday. Until then, please take care of yourselves.”

As a form of encouragement for the fans, Matsumoto also suggested, “When times get rough and you are troubled, our music will always be by your side. When you're down, please listen to the songs of Arashi.” This is also the reason why Arashi has made their singles and albums available on music streaming sites such as Spotify, an unprecedented move by the talent agency Johnny & Associates.

Trying his best to hold back his tears, Masaki Aiba said, “I will never forget today. These past 21 years with the four of them are my treasure. From the bottom of my heart, I’m truly glad to be a part of Arashi.”

Arashi’s leader Satoshi Ohno instigated the hiatus due to his desire to “live freely.” Ohno reflected: “Starting tomorrow, I want to value my time and think about my life. I haven't decided what I will do, but I will give it a go to whatever comes to my mind from tomorrow.” While Ohno will be taking an indefinite break from his idol career, the other four will continue with solo works, mainly hosting their individual variety shows.

For the Arashi fans not just in Japan but all over the world, this day will surely be unforgettable as well. Prior to the actual day of the concert, Arashi had uploaded progressively a series of videos to let fans know how to prepare for the concert – tutorials on dancing and singing together with them.

Arashi did a slowed-down version of the dance for the chorus of their song titled Guts.

Fans can sing along to parts of the song Kotoba Yori Taisetsu Na Mono, which means “things more important than words”.

There is also a video on the phrases that fans can shout along with them during the concert.

It is these interactive elements which unite the fans and make Arashi’s concert fun, engaging and entertaining. But don’t worry if you missed Arashi’s final concert, because they have decided to do a re-stream from 8 to 10 January at stipulated times. The details and tickets priced at 5,800 yen (about S$74) are available on their dedicated website.