I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Arashi -- Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi(感謝カンゲキ雨嵐)

I woke up on Sunday morning and my first sight was the TV flashing an image of Johnny's uber-group Arashi(嵐)on the Sunday night news on NHK. The announcer was intoning his message in a rather sombre voice so that I immediately went "Geez...was there an accident?"

As it turned out, it was nothing dire thankfully. However, Arashi fans and people all over Japan were (and probably still are) in shock over the announcement that Satoshi Ono(大野智)and the rest of the group are calling it quits at the end of next year. However, from what I've gleaned from the press conference so far is that member Kazuya Ninomiya(二宮和也)clarified that it wasn't a disbandment but just that the group won't be performing together after December 2020. Not quite sure where the dividing line is drawn, but my impression is that this may be more of a trial separation rather than an outright divorce. On the other hand, it might be one of those things where if the need comes up, Ono, Nino, Aiba-kun(相葉雅紀), MatsuJun(松本潤)and Sho Sakurai(櫻井翔)will get together once more to drive fans into a frenzy...kinda like The Avengers.

To be honest, I'm not tha-a-a-t surprised. I had the feeling that leader Ono was getting rather peckish about going his own way and pursuing his own artistic pursuits since he's apparently quite the painter and avid fisherman. But I guess the timing...just a few years after former Johnny's top-of-the-heap SMAP disbanded...caught quite a few people off-guard. Supposedly, one reporter was crying some tears when he asked Arashi a question and Ono looked distinctly misty-eyed. I know that there's at least one former student who may be curled up in a fetal position right now since she has been the greatest Aiba-kun fan.

Sad times for all concerned but hey, there are still almost 2 years left before the storm dissipates. And what a record Arashi will leave. Ever since their debut single 20 years ago, I've realized that the group has had most of their singles hit the top spot on Oricon, and the lowest any of their singles peaked at has been at No. 3! I'm not even sure if SMAP has ever gotten that sort of record.

Therefore, to commemorate this occasion, perhaps I can bring out their 4th single, "Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi" (Deeply Grateful Rain Storm) released in November 2000. I don't have such an intimate connection with the many Arashi singles but I recognized the refrain "Smile again..." which reminds me a bit of Village People's "Go West". Yeah, it's kinda one of those anthemic songs that make you want to salute the sky.

(truncated version)

Written by the late Masami Tozawa(戸沢暢美)and composed by Koji Makaino(馬飼野康二), "Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi" was also the opening theme song for the Fuji-TV drama "Namida wo Fuite"(涙をふいて...Wipe Away Your Tears)which also co-starred Arashi member Ninomiya. Since the show was about a family getting their bearings back from tragedy with the help of their late father's kohai, the inspirational beat of the song fit like a glove. From what I've read about the song on J-Wiki, "Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi" has been used at their concerts to express Arashi's thanks to their many fans.

"Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi" peaked at No. 2 and ended up as the 86th-ranked single for 2000. It probably would have ended up even higher with an earlier release date. The single was also placed on Arashi's debut album "Arashi No. 1 ~ Arashi wa Arashi o Yobu!"(嵐は嵐を呼ぶ...Arashi Calls Forth A Storm)which was released in January 2001. This release did hit No. 1 to later become the 70th-ranked album for the year.

Well, with the announcement, what's to become of "VS Arashi", one of our family's must-see TV programs? Ahhh...just read that once Arashi goes, so will the variety show at the end of 2020.


  1. Hi J!

    This really came as a shock to me. I didn't hear of any internal issues, or any scandal that may cause them to disband. However, I've been feeling that they've wanted to be free to do things on their own for a while.

    I'm happy they chose to end on a positive note though. A lot of upheavals happened in Johnny's on 2018.

    1. Hi, Yuie-chan!

      Belated Happy New Year! Nope, I don't think there were any problems within Arashi and my impressions have been that all five remain good friends, but Ono did feel that it was time to move on, and seeing that he is now in his late 30s, I can understand the wanderlust.

      Still, many more months before the end does come. I'm sure that there will be at least a few more singles. :)

  2. I think the matter of SMAP was different, or at least myself as SMAP fan thinks it was different. SMAP actually had never have any sigh that they would like to disband, if not they once said they would do anything to protect the group itself and perform until they are in their 70s. of course other people can say that was lie SMAP said to fan, and so on. but I believe strongly if not for the conflict between SMAP and the company, SMAP would not be forced to stop being SMAP as 5 people. as now all SMAP members still actively work (if not harder than they used to).

    and fans like me really hope for SMAP to be back soon (with 6 members, in my own dream ha ha)

    also, I think SMAP had a rough career path in term of sales and ranking, the only J&A group didn't debut with 1st place on Oricon chart, so there is no wonder if SMAP has no record like Arashi's lol

    1. Hi, May. Good to hear from you.

      Yes, the situation between SMAP and Arashi was indeed different. There was probably more bitterness with the breakup of the former. Not sure how Johnny Kitagawa feels about the group right now. I'm sure that SMAP fans would love to see KimuTaku and the rest of the guys come back...and perhaps even Katsuyuki Mori, although I think he's been away from the aidoru for a very long time now.

      You mentioned that SMAP had a rough career path. I don't quite understand that statement. What kind of difficulties were they having?

    2. what I meant was that it took SMAP awhile to archive the 1st place on Orion chart (until their 5th single or so).

      SMAP in the beginning didn't sing well (and as their fan I admit that too). their career as SMAP began to turn better when SMAPxSMAP started to air ( first time for an idol group to have their own variety show), them Mori left SMAP in 1996. I think most people liked SMAP as an entertainer more than idol/singer at that point.

      of course there were Yozora no Mokou, Lion heart, and the most famous SMAP's song SekaiHana - but up until now, there are still people think that SMAP cannot sing.

      last year (or in 2017?) when Shingo, Tsuyoshi and Goro left the company and formed the trio project, they did 72 hours live on the internet, they came and visited Mori. it was the first time in 21 years that 4 of them were in the same frame together, I definitely was in tears. Mori still looks he can pass the aidoru test in term of appearance : )

    3. "SMAPXSMAP" was truly amazing in that it lasted 20 years. Even for the Japanese television industry where variety shows have survived far longer than those in America and Canada, "SMAPxSMAP" was quite the phenomenon for a long time because of those Bistro SMAP segments and KimuTaku helping to popularize the Para Para dance phenomenon.

      Personally, I don't think Nakai-kun could really sing but his group mates weren't too bad. I think KimuTaku can hold a tune, and certainly it helped that there were some big songwriters such as Noriyuki Makihara and Masayoshi Yamazaki in their corner.

    4. I miss SmaSma dearly in the past 2 years, and I could not even understand Japanese that well... the last SmaSma episode I only managed to watch once...

      as a fan I can't agree more with you on our leader's singing ha ha, though he handled some songs really well (i.e. However by Glay, he performed it in the earlier concert, one of my favorite. also his Yozora no Mokou version with Oda Kazumasa sensei in Christmas no yakusoku show).

      I think SekaiHana was really the turning point for both SMAP and its composer, Noriyuki Makihara. Noriyuki Makihara was involved with drug or something in the late 90s, early 00s. He once mentioned that SMAP with the popular of SekaiHana gave him the other chance in the industry.

      I was curious what song Masayoshi Yamazaki composed for SMAP, and was a bit surprised he composed Celery. I only know him with One more time, one more chance.

    5. I just wrote an article featuring V6 about how a skit featuring Takuya Kimura on SmaSma helped to popularize the Para Para dance boom.

      Nakai-kun may not have been the best singer but he seemed to fit his role as a host of variety shows such as "UtaBan". Unfortunately, we don't get any shows on TV Japan featuring him so I don't know what's been up with him in recent years.


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