[Interview] ARASHI Past & Future 10th Anniversary

source :Anan Magazine
Translations: say it again@Livejournal

Ten years’ worth of “Gratitude” and “Determination” towards tomorrow.
The bond called Arashi.

Slowly, carefully, the trust and ties existing within these five people were accumulated at the same time. Arashi, who will be welcoming their 10th anniversary this fall, makes their appearance. From their gratitude towards the fans who have supported them to their messages for each other, to themselves in another 10 years, they will be speaking about it all.

Aiba Masaki
I’m using up all my “Thank you!”s for this 10th anniversary.
I will for sure be smiling 10 years later too.

To speak of Aiba Masaki-san is a “person of smiles”. Scenes of him laughing more than any other member on Arashi’s variety programs comes to mind. The place where you can see the tears of that always-cheerful Aiba-san crying? Concerts.

“I get overcome by emotion. I’ve always been easily moved to tears, but it’s really bad during concerts. That feeling of unity between Arashi and the audience is truly something that is moving. Like, it’s to the point where you can’t keep these “Uwaaah” feelings in check anymore.”

And then, when the concert curtains drop, those tears fall as well, seemingly from regret. Aiba-san’s youth-like purity is yet another reason why Arashi continues to be loved over this 10 year span.

“I’m exhausting the word “gratitude” to express this 10 year period starting from our debut onwards. To the other members, the staff who have supported us and all of our fans, I really want to say thank you. There are way too many memories of both laughter and tears, so I can’t decide which one leaves the deepest impression! I do joke that ‘When I look back on it now though, it might be those transparent outfits we wore at the time of the debut!?’, though (laugh)”

To say the least, the appeal to Aiba-san is his natural mannerisms seen on variety programs. Loved by the gods of laughter, he in particular creates many miracles which surprise even the other members.

“Our first self-titled program was ‘Mayonaka no Arashi’, which started in 2001. Half of it was joy over getting our own show, the other half was not knowing left or right, a feeling of all the members fumbling around trying to build it up. Thanks to that show, the number of people who knew of Arashi also increased, and we picked up the confidence to continue working in this world. But for me, I’m still bad at doing live broadcasts (laugh). There are definitely people out there who like that thrill of unpredictability, but I get nervous. I think I’ve still got a ways to go.”

It seems his private life has also been undergoing changes.

“I’ve started making my own breakfasts. I didn’t use to cook before, but I don’t want to say that I can’t make anything either. I’m the liberal type who eats things like fried rice for breakfast. Doesn’t it feel just like a man’s cooking? (laugh) I’ve been doing things without really thinking about the future at the present, but 10 years later I will probably become a good adult too, just as expected. But I still want to laugh with everyone like I do now, without changing.”

To Nino:
I respect Nino’s passion in devoting himself to everything.

When it comes to Nino, I think of baseball. Because we often play baseball together, and he said “I wanted to become a professional baseball player” before. Have you given up on that dream already? (laugh) I go out for meals with Nino a lot in our private time, don’t I. If I was a girl and I had to pick someone out of Arashi’s members to be my lover, it would probably be Nino. I can kind of imagine our conversations going smoothly for no particular reason. Over these 10 years, Nino’s love of games really haven’t changed, huh. Not only does it not change, you end up liking it more and more!? Lately you’ve gotten to the point of a pro with your magic too. Whether work or hobby, I think it’s amazing of Nino to be able to devote himself to a single thing. Ah, speaking of which, I’ve had underwear with the name “Ninomiya” in my drawer since ages ago, but whether it was me who took Nino’s underwear home by mistake or someone’s prank, the truth is a complete mystery (laugh).

To Leader:
The atmosphere proprietor who calms everyone down.

When we went to Hawaii for the news conference of Arashi’s unveiling, everyone else went off to play during the breaks between work, but Leader and I stayed in our room and zoned out. We went out to a ramen shop when we got hungry too, but since it was such a rare opportunity it would have been nice if we ate the local food, or did more Hawaiian-like things (laugh). But even now I think those were nice memories. You’ve been fishing a lot lately so you’ve been getting suntanned, haven’t you? Aren’t you getting a bit too dark… I’ve been worrying a bit. And, aren’t you always wearing the same underwear? Leader gets hooked on things too easily, so while I know you’ve collected the same type in the same colour, I wonder just how many of them you’ve got. But I like this about Leader, this leniency in a good way. I think it’s a feeling that no one else but Leader can give off, you really calm us down! If our days off match up this time, do you want to go golfing? We’ve never taken to the courses together before, but I think Leader would definitely be good at golfing.

To Sho-kun:
You’re actually soft inside, so why is your body that stiff?

A while ago, we went to Roppongi Hills during our free time at work and did some clothes shopping together, do you remember? “How’s this? Does this suit me?” We sounded just like a couple. The store clerk was probably taken aback too (laugh). To me, it’s a memory I have with Sho-kun that I will never forget. You were able to realize your dream of becoming a caster, so I really find it admirable that you would read the news every morning. If you didn’t become an idol, it seems like you’d become a teacher at school or something. Your range of knowledge is really broad and you’re very good at teaching too, you’d definitely be popular among the students. But just as I thought, you’re cut out for this world. Not only limited to serious news programs, dramas and variety shows too, you’re able to display your own personality. The broadness of your range and your softness is wonderful! But your body’s too stiff, what’s with that? I was shocked when the tendon in your arm snapped during arm wrestling, like “You’re stiff even there!?”. If you ever decide to take yoga lessons, I’ll go with you too (laugh).

To Matsujun:
Your attentiveness to little things is something I want to learn from.

When I look back on these 10 years, the one whose hairstyle changed the most out of Arashi was Matsujun, don’t you think? Your eyebrows never changed, though (laugh). Speaking of something I’ll never forget, Matsujun took my place when I couldn’t go to work due to my poor physical health. And that was a job that took place really early too… That one incident is something that I’m truly thankful for even now! You’re someone who’s able to pay attention to everything around you, and that hasn’t changed since long ago. I’m not good at that, so I think it’s cool that Matsujun is able to be so nonchalantly considerate. Even when we all go out and eat yakiniku together, MatsuJun would take the initiative to be the one cooking, right? And you’d skillfully divide it all up on plates for us too. That would definitely make you popular, because even a guy like me gets charmed by you. It’d be fun if we could go to Korea for a day for a yakiniku tour together, I think. Matsujun would take care of everything quickly, and go “We’ve eaten a whole lot already, let’s go back now!”.

Ohno Satoshi
Without rushing, day after day, just leisurely.
Isn’t it nice that Arashi has this kind of feeling?

With a suntanned, undaunted expression, looking completely at home was Ohno Satoshi-san. As their 10th year, this year began with the drama “Uta no Onii-san” in an extremely busy start.

“Having filming for a three month period was tough, but it made the sense of accomplishment when it ended all the more pronounced. I was blessed with all these costars and staff, it really was a good team. And then, lately, I’ve discovered something. When I’m busy with filming, I’d start to want to go fishing a lot. On the other hand, during the moments when I have a bit of leeway, I’d also want to go. So in other words, I always want to go fishing (laugh).”

He’s not good at being busy, laughs Ohno-san. You wouldn’t think such an individualistic person would be an extremely popular idol, right!?

“Everyone tells me that ‘Arashi is amazing, huh’, but there’s no sense of realism to it. Even our 10th anniversary just has a feeling of ‘Ah, it’s already been 10 years?’. It’s a result of passing each day casually, so isn’t it nice that Arashi has this kind of feeling? Though I’m like this now, I used to be pretty strict. I’d be attentive of little stuff like a [blood] A-type would, and I’d worry about things. But now it’s just like ‘Let’s go slowly’. Maybe my blood type changed to O by some chance (laugh).”

As the oldest out of Arashi, Ohno-san will turn 29 this year. As an adult male, has his mental state changed any?

“As someone around 30 [years of age]? (laugh) Not at all. It’s troublesome so I want to become 30 with a bang though. But my inner-self is that of a a stupid kid still. That’s what I’m like, but the other members really have become reliable people. I’m fine with following at the backs of everyone else so I’m at ease (laugh). On the day we welcome our 10th anniversary, maybe I’ll make a giant plate of fried rice and hold a party. Everyone wolfs it down, then “So, shall we take naps?”, that sort of feeling.

Though he’s exuding embarrassment as he speaks, the eyes that watch over the other members are extremely warm. Just as one would expect, it is because Leader is around that Arashi is like this. In private, he prefers to face himself.

“With fishing, it’s bliss for me to simply be out in the sea, so to me it’s a period of nothingness. I haven’t been able to draw lately. Even when I’m facing the paper, I can’t think of anything. That’s what it’s like right now. I might end up wanting to draw again one day, so I’ll just laze around while I wait. After all, if I rush it I’ll just get tired (laugh).”

To Aiba-chan:
There’s a nice feeling even if we don’t talk, it’s an unbelievable relationship.

At the time of debut, I always shared a room with Aiba-chan whenever we stayed at hotels near the places we were going to for volleyball supporting work. Even when we had free time of up to 10 hours or so, we’d take turns sleeping on the bed, or watch TV without talking. With Aiba-chan in particular, it feels comfortable even if there’s no talking, so it’s very unbelievable. When the gods of laughter descend upon us on our variety programs, I’d think ‘just as expected of Aiba-chan’. Not only that, it’s amazing that he hasn’t changed at all over these 10 years. And with the choreography rehearsing, I know that you’re always the last to leave, staying behind to work hard on the lessons. Let’s take the chance to say this here: “You don’t need to push yourself too far.” Speaking of which, we went to a trendy bar in Ginza 4~5 years ago together, didn’t we? Though just why did we go to such a mature street like Ginza, I still have no idea even now. Not only that, I left first without paying (laugh). Let’s go out to a bar again, just the two of us? I’ll pay properly this time.

To Nino:
I’m fascinated by your magic skills!

Everything is appealing about Nino, there’s nothing else I can say. If I had to give him a catchphrase, then it would be “Almighty Man” for sure! In particular, I really admire his progress with magic. Everyone forgets to try to unravel the magic and instead get fascinated by Nino’s skillful sleights of hand. My number one memory with that Nino would definitely be “Ohmiya SK” (Ohno & Ninomiya combi’s legendary unit). We really shined in those days… but my enthusiasm towards forming “Ohmiya SK” again hasn’t changed even now! Maybe if you suddenly get some time off? That’s right, maybe we’ll also go to that trendy general goods store that you invited me to. I’m very interested in what the “Almighty Man” buys. And, this happens once in a while, but for some reason there are moments when I would think to myself that I don’t want to lose to you. For example, if you’re going to Roppongi Hills for a date, I’ll go to the newer Midtown or something (laugh). Just what is with that?

To Matsujun:
I want to see the normally cool Matsujun’s look of annoyance.

When I first met you, you were going through puberty so you were still tiny. Not only that, you used honorifics around me, it was pretty embarrassing. Well, somewhere along the way it completely became blunt speech though (laugh). In the past, we took on roles in a stageplay where we played enemies. Every day, five minutes before the show in the wing next to the stage, we’d glare silently at each other to heighten our moods; it’s something I remember well even now. We were serious at the time, but if we do it now we’ll definitely end up laughing. Matsujun looks cool at first glance, but you’re gentle, someone who’s attentive to even the smallest details. When you break apart the chopsticks from your bento, you rub them together very precisely afterwards. If girls saw Matsujun’s magnificent hand movements, they’ll definitely be charmed! If our days off match up, I’ll take Matsujun to a park and play badminton. Then, I want to see your “What a paaain” look of annoyance. But one way or other, it seems like you’d smile at me instead. That’s the type of guy he is, Matsujun.

To Sho-kun:

That gap is for sure Sho-kun’s appeal.

I often end up together with Sho-kun in private. Not only that, it’s coincidental! I was really shocked when I bumped into Sho-kun among those tens of thousands of people at the Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka. Maybe our wavelengths are similar? I was also happy when you realized the dream you always spoke of, of “wanting to become a newscaster”. I always see Sho-kun reading the news on TV, and because it’s something I definitely would not be able to do, above all else I think it’s amazing (laugh). Despite that, your uselessness on variety programs… just what’s with that gap!? But that’s what’s Sho-kun’s like, so please stay that way. Sho-kun’s drawings too, I like it! If I was a girl I have no doubts that I would be charmed by that. Because whenever I see those drawings I always laugh from the gut (laugh). We went fishing together for a project from a magazine before, but you said “let’s go again in private”, didn’t you? Don’t forget that promise!

Sakurai Sho
Here, I would like to assert in advance
the determination of our next move forward.

Following the release of his movie, “Yatterman”, and his featured drama, “The Quiz Show”, Sakurai Sho-san has been busy to the extreme with solo activities during the first half of this year.

“It feels as if I’ve been running without pause ever since the reporting for Beijing Olympics and filming for ‘Yatterman’ last year or so up until now. The drama has ended so now I’m able to take a bit of rest, and I’d like to recharge by doing all sorts of different things during this period.”

While he speaks of wanting to read books, watch movies, and find more time to input information, in some way or other he would also like to see other people.

“First, I want to see my friends. Because I was so busy that I didn’t even have the time get in touch with them. Then, I would like to meet people from extensive fields who could teach me what they know about unknown worlds and impart knowledge.”

With his accumulation of experience as a newscaster, Sakurai-kun brims with even more curiosity as he continues to absorb all sorts of things. Within Arashi, he has the image of someone who gathers everyone, a level-headed person.

“I’ve been doing that more or less for 10 years after all. In the beginning, we couldn’t tell right from left; Arashi in itself was in shambles, I think. Then, as we gradually took on more work as work and became able to grasp that, we took on a sense of self-awareness, and I think we were eventually able to confirm our own positions. Arashi got to take on the role of main personalities for ’24jikan Terebi’, we each got all sorts of work on our own, and I think every single one of those jobs were what made us grow.”

From debut to present. It has been said that these 10 years have passed with concentrated time. How does he feel about it?

“Firstly, feelings of gratitude. Basing off that, I think we need to make a declaration of determination to advance forward right here. 10 years isn’t our goal, after all. I want us stay reckless from this point on too, and continue doing as many things as we can.”

Sakurai-san carefully chose his words as he gave his response. Within those points, one can feel a profound love both for the other members and towards Arashi.

“When we held our concerts at Kokuritsu Gekijou last year, I kept taking pictures of the other members with my single-lens reflex camera from rehearsals onwards. That was extremely interesting. It was before the concerts, so everyone was very hyped. I thought, ‘These guys, they’re pretty good’ (laugh). I definitely have the most fun when all five of us are together, playing around like kids.”

To Matsujun:
Matsujun’s mails are surprisingly cute.

I have memories of talking often with Matsujun at the beginning when Arashi had just been formed, about “What should Arashi do from this point on?” For us, we started off as a group with no colours, like a blank sheet of paper, so there were a lot of things we were uneasy about. That sort of thing was what we discussed most often about. He’s a Mr. A-type. A man who’s able to pay attention to even the smallest things. But, he might also have a part of him that does things at his own pace. And, Matsujun’s mails are cute. That’s surprising, isn’t it? He used emoji like fireworks and so forth in the mail I received on my birthday a while ago, it was very new. He also does behind-the-scenes work for things like our concert performances. I think that’s also another good point about him. Just how other artists outside of Arashi stage their own performances is something I might actually like to see. If we get the same days off, maybe we can go to the movies? Since you seem to watch a lot of movies and all. Or we can go to a DVD store together, it might be nice to ask for recommendations from you too.

To Aiba-chan:

Aiba-chan’s existence in Arashi is like that of a sun.

The memories that have remained from around the beginning were of a drama called “V no Arashi”, which everyone was featured in. Aiba-chan was running a fever at the time, but he never spoke a single word about it. I remember thinking at the time, “Ahh, so he’s a manly person, he’s pretty tough”. He’s Arashi’s mood-maker. He’s cheerful, he’s easily moved to tears. He’s just like a sun, a person who would brighten his surroundings. But, there’s a lot about him that’s worrying (laugh). Today at the recording for a music program as well, no matter how many times we checked it over he still couldn’t do the dance at all. Like ‘It’s already been 10 years, are you going to be okay?’ (laugh). Eventually, Aiba-chan worked up a sweat dancing during the actual performance. What point of his would I recommend to girls? It seems that Aiba-can can “pass through by recognition alone at pretty much all zoos”, so dates won’t be a problem with him (laugh). And, the stores Aiba-chan and I go to often overlap! That’s why, I’d like us to each be introduced to a single store that both of us don’t know about, and widen our areas of activities.

To Leader:
When we went fishing together, I witnessed an unexpected side to him!

Leader is unique, isn’t he. He’s changed. A while ago too, when the recording for our variety program was finished, he said “Ah, I forgot to talk”. Unbelievable, isn’t it? This person’s amazing, I thought. And, what left an impression on me was during a concert. It was a situation where Leader and I had to change outfits quickly on stage or else. Leader forgot to wear something under the bottom half of his outfit, so when he took off the outfit on top he was left in his underwear only (laugh). Then he panicked while in that state and left the stage. That was probably a shock to the audience too. I was quite shocked myself. I’d like Leader to take me out to fish again, because the first time we went together was extremely fun. When we went fishing, he provided everything from the fishing rod to the lures, and really took proper care of me. Even though he’s never ever taken care of me at other places! I was able to see Leader’s brotherly side.

To Nino:
The best listener out of Arashi.

Nino is a “Man who can read the atmosphere”. He thinks quickly, and he’s extremely skilled at listening to people talking. There are many instances where he came to my aid when I’m doing the MC. I often feel it on our variety programs, when older guests come on the show. He’s good at listening. And Nino is also a “Skillful man”. He can do anything without error. The card tricks that he’s been into lately, I think that has to be the most extreme. If Nino was no longer a part of Arashi, wouldn’t it suit him to be a writer or something? He writes his own lyrics for his solo songs and so forth, he’s really got a good outlook on the world. There are neat little tales within his lyrics. That’s why, I think I’d like to read something he writes as a piece of work. If I’m asking Nino to hang out, maybe a BBQ venture? He’s got an indoor image to him, so I want to take him outside. But, even if he does come, in the end he might sit on the side and play games instead (laugh).


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