A new album, new tour announcement, and a concert filled with songs chosen by fans, Arashi’s National Stadium concert in Tokyo on September 20 was a big one for those 70,000 with tickets, reports TV Asahi and Sankei Sports.
It has been reported towards the end of yesterday’s concert, the words “重大発表 (Important Annoucement)” flashed onto the giant screen. Fans screamed as the group announced they were releasing a new album “Popcorn” on October 31, and had another tour coming up within the year.
It will be Arashi’s first dome stadium tour in two years, which will go around five venues in Japan, starting with Osaka’s Kyocera Dome on November 18. Although the group have had dome stadium tours regularly since 2008, last year’s Tokyo Dome concert was cancelled following the devastating Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. Instead, the group had arranged a more electricity-saving event for fans, the 嵐のワクワク学校 (Arashi no Waku-waku Gakkou).
“The circumstances weren’t right to hold a concert in Tokyo Dome last year, but I’m really happy we can do one this year,” Masaki Aiba said.
It has been reported the total number of fans the upcoming tour is expected to attract, plus the number of fans who had (or will) attend group’s two National Stadium concerts yesterday and today, will top 870,000. This is the biggest number to date for Arashi. The group have said they want to make it a fun concert tour which focuses on a characteristically pop style.
Yesterday’s concert was special because the song list had been chosen by fans who had voted for songs online. It has been reported more than 270,000 votes had been counted to select 37 songs, the most popular being “Face Down”. In fact, some of the chosen songs had not been performed for years so some members literally had to re-learn them.
“Aiba-kun had forgotten most of them,” Jun Matsumoto said.
“He’d start singing other people’s parts with them,” Sho Sakurai said.
“Hey, you’d forgotten them too! It wasn’t a case of remembering what the songs were like, it was more like I had to re-learn some of them from scratch which was hard,” Aiba said.
Another thing which made yesterday’s concert special was there were no Johnny’s Jr. back dancers, just the five Arashi members.
“I felt like I was back in Johnny’s Jr. It was something different,” Kazunari Ninomiya said.
“We wanted this to be a concert where the five of us could be with all 70,000 of you,” Matsumoto said.
Arashi might be picked up to be NHK’s New Year’s Eve music special hosts for the third time, reports Tokyo Sports on September 7.
It has been reported NHK producers are beginning to look for potential hosts for Kohaku Uta Gassen’s red (akagumi) female artist team, and white (shirogumi) male artist team.
“A production team for the show has been finalised, and now they’ve begun discussions about what to do this year. At this rate, Arashi will probably be asked to be the shirogumi hosts for the third straight year,” said one source from NHK.
Although no one can definitely say this will happen, there is no denying the fact the group attracted TV ratings of over 40% in their past two Kohaku shows.
It has beee reported the most likely candidate for the women’s akagumi host this year will be actress Maki Horikita, who has been playing the main character in NHK’s popular drama 梅ちゃん先生 (Ume-chan Sensei).
Weekly magazine Josei Seven has reported two stories about Arashi members Satoshi Ohno and Sho Sakurai which TV audiences never got to see.
It has been reported Satoshi Ohno’s visit to 11-year-old Saki Wada meant more to her than what was shown on TV.
The karate girl living in Kamaishi made a promise to her mother she would make it past the first round at karate nationals, but sadly Saki had lost her mother and home to last year’s devastating tsunami. When the 24Hr TV team wanted to do a piece about her, Saki said she was told a comedian would come visit her.
“They told me Sugi-chan was coming. So I was shocked when Ohno-kun turned up.
“We played badminton in front of the house. He’s so good that I lost though. Then we planted radish seeds and did some wood chopping. Ohno-kun was having trouble with chopping wood.”
But it has been reported something else made Saki even happier.
“The best part was hearing him cheer me on, telling me, ‘you can do it, you can get past the first round!’,” she said.
Saki’s coach said Ohno had also made sure he did not miss Saki’s training sessions.
“Ohno-san came around to the dojo we use to practice at around 9pm. He was meant to come around 7pm, but everyone in the neighbourhood had heard a celebrity was coming so I guess they kept him from coming in,” he said.
There is no doubt Ohno’s cheers gave Saki a lot of motivation, even more since Ohno is Saki’s favourite Arashi member.
“He stayed for dinner and ate curry with me at my house! He said it tasted really good.”
It has been reported Sho Sakurai did as much practice as he could to prepare for his special soccer match.
Sakurai had visited high school girls’ soccer team Mizusawa UFC Princess, whose top player Shiori Koyama was lost to last year’s tsunami. In memory of their team mate, the team and Sakurai played a special match against their lost member’s favourite soccer player, Homare Sawa, and her INAC Kobe Leonessa soccer league team.
It has been reported Sakurai had practiced with the girls in their hometown before the match day.
“I think the last thing he (Sakurai) wanted was to meet the girls on the match day and say ‘let’s do this’. He probably wanted to see where Shiori-san had trained with his own eyes,” said one TV staff member.
One team member confirms this.
“Sakurai-kun came to our training ground a few days before our game with INAC. It was during the day, but no one hanging around the field noticed who he was. He was good with the ball, but got tired easily (laughs),” said one team member.
It has been reported the same team member said Sakurai did not lose his focus during the game itself too.
“He’d sigh and shout when he made a mistake, he was taking it seriously. When I’d ask him to run out front for a long pass, he’d say ‘leave it to me’.”
Another team member found it funny watching Sakurai.
“Some of us were saying that Sakurai-kun’s shorts were short. They’re made for girls, so they were a little small for him and really tight. He said it was embarrassing so would try and push the shorts down, but after running around on the field the shorts would ride up again. It was like watching a soccer player from the old days,” said the team member.
Father and son have formed an emotional attachment to a pet the Arashi star found while filming his last drama, reports Cyzowoman on August 28.
While Satoshi Ohno was filming his spring drama 鍵のかかった部屋 (Kagi no Kakatta Heya), it has been reported the talent had shown an interest in the murder scene models his character made, and the various key lock props in his character’s office. But one thing Ohno liked so much he decided to take home was the bearded dragon lizard カーギー (Kargie). Kargie belonged to the pet shop used for a scene in episode 4, but after catching Ohno’s eye, he became a permanent member of the Kagi no Kakatta Heya team.
It has been reported during a radio episode of ARASHI DISCOVERY, Ohno said he would watch Kargie during shoots.
“I’d come back after an hour of shooting and it’d be still be standing in the same place as before. I wonder what it’s thinking about…”
Kargie came home to Ohno’s house at the end of July. The lizard had grown from 20 cm to 30 cm in length since Ohno had first seen him.
It has been reported the Arashi leader took the lizard to his parent’s house to show him off.
“[My drama finished so] I went to my parent’s house and said, ‘look, a lizard’. Then I was meant to take it home and look after it, but by dad got attached to it more than me.”
Ohno senior has since adopted the lizard as his own, feeds it, cleans it, and looks after it’s cage. But it has been reported, not everyone is equally happy.
“My mum doesn’t touch [Kargie]. They fight about it, like my dad would say, ‘touch it, touch it’, but she would argue back with, ‘no! nooo’. They look like they’re having fun (laughs).”
Arashi, this year’s main personality for Nihon TV’s “24時間テレビ35『愛は地球を救う』(24Hr Television / Love Saves the Earth’)”, look back on their third time hosting the show, reports Mainichi Shimbun on August 27.
“It’s possible there’s only a set number of dreams one person has. But being here with everyone, and thanks to all of those people on location, in these 24 hours I’ve been able to see so many more dreams about the future.”
“This year was another great time for me, I had to fight back the tears so many times… I could feel how much people wanted a bright future.”
“It was truly an honour. I was touched by everything.”
“My feelings for the future have become stronger from this, our third show. I want to make a fresh start for the future.”
“I feel like the show was over in an instant this year. If people were able to get our message about moving forward, I think it was a good 24 hours spent for the future.”
Japanese teen magazine MYOJO has announced Johnny’s talent Koichi Domoto has been featured on their front cover the most times in the magazine’s 60 year history, it was announced on August 22, reports Mainichi Shimbun.
The magazine celebrates its 60th anniversary when it’s October issue goes on sale on August 23. Since 1952 the magazine has published 721 issues.
It has been reported Koichi Domoto has been on the cover 31 times, including times he’s been on with KinKi Kids. The other half of KinKi Kids, Tsuyoshi Domoto, and Arashi’s Jun Matsumoto made the list at second equal with 3o cover appearances. Other Johnny’s talents who made the list include TOKIO’s Tomoya Nagase, Arashi’s Masaki Aiba and Kazunari Ninomiya who tied for fourth place with 29 appearances, and Masahiko Kondo and Arashi’s Satoshi Ohno and Sho Sakurai who tied for ninth place with 26 appearances.
SMAP’s Takuya Kimura has had the most number of pin ups inside the magazine, with his first being published in 1988’s September issue. The SMAP member has even been doing a photo essay column for the magazine since 1995’s June issue.
“My best memory (with Myojo) is when…there are too many for me to be able to say,” Kimura said.
It has been reported Arashi are scheduled to appear on the milestone October issue, which will be 194 pages long and include profiles and messages of congratulations from 60 pop stars.
“Congratulations on your long life,” Ohno said.
“It’s honestly amazing! It made me jump a little (laughs),” Ninomiya said.
“I hope I’ll be in the magazine when you celebrate your 100th birthday in 40 years,” Sakurai said.
Top cover appearance list:
1. Koichi Domoto (KinKi Kids) – 31 times
2. Tsuyoshi Domoto (KinKi Kids), Jun Matsumoto (Arashi) – 30 times
4. Hiromi Go, Toshihiko Tahara, Tomoya Nagase (TOKIO), Masaki Aiba (Arashi), Kazunari Ninomiya (Arashi) – 29 times
9. Masahiko Kondo, Satoshi Ohno (Arashi), Sho Sakurai (Arashi) – 26 times
The movie version of the hit detective drama series of the same name stars a perfectionist, sharp-tongued butler Kageyama (Sakurai) and socialite, police officer Reiko (played by Keiko Kitagawa).
“This time’s ‘nazotoki’ has been scaled up, I hope you enjoy it,” Sakurai said.
It has been reported the cast held a press conference on board the movie’s main setting, Asia’s biggest luxury cruise ship the SuperStar Virgo, which Sakurai had said was a sight to see. The ship is 268 metres, is about the equivalent of a 14-storey building, and has other features like nine restaurants, a casino, pool, movie theatre, and a gym.
“I looked up at it from the bottom and it’s size blew me away. It took me an hour to do a one round tour of it,” Sakurai said.
Sakurai also said the cruise ship reminded him of his debut press conference with Arashi in Hawaii onboard a cruiser, but, “this time the ship was so huge”.
The movie was shot as the cruise ship traveled 2615 kilometres through Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.
“People even recognised me over here (Singapore),” Sakurai said.
It has been reported Sakurai went backwards and forwards between Japan and the SuperStar Virgo twice because he had other jobs going on at the same time. This included shoots for this year’s 24Hr TV special, and his duty as the London Olympics reporter. One time, Sakurai had boarded off the SuperStar Virgo at Redang Island, Malaysia, before catching two boat rides, one car trip, and two plane rides to get back to Narita Airport in Tokyo. From there he caught a car ride to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, boarded a domestic flight to Osaka, and finally caught a car ride to Kobe for his other job. In total, the one way trip took about 18 hours.
“I started to loose track of where I was,” Sakurai said.
It has been reported by the time Sakurai got back to Malaysia to continue shooting the movie, the other cast members had enjoyed a good time. His co-star Kippei Shiina told Sakurai at the press conference he had spent the time playing on the beach. Actress Keiko Kitagawa had said she enjoyed her time trying out the different restaurants on board the ship.
“I ate fried rice nine times,” she said.
Despite being overly busy Sakurai did manage to have a good time himself as well.
“The first two days I was here [on board the ship], I took 500 photos, then this time I took 300 photos over three days,” he said.
Filming is still going on in Japan, and the movie will be released in 2013.
Sakurai’s comment about filming the movie on the cruise ship. Published on the “謎解きはディナーのあとで (Nazotoki wa dinner no atone)” movie website.
“Singapore is one of the countries I’ve always wanted to go to. I knew I would be coming here to shoot the movie so I tried very hard to restrain myself from coming here during my days off from work. I had a lot of fun here. When we had shoots scheduled in the afternoon I’d get up early in the morning and walk around the ship. I thought I had enjoyed it as much as humanly possible, but obviously Kippei-san had a better time (laughs).
This story has moved from a drama series to a special drama, and now a movie. I hope people will be able to enjoy how the story has been scaled up with an overseas setting and shoots on a luxury cruise ship. My co-stars make up an amazing cast as well so I don’t think you’ll find yourself bored at any time. I really hope you look forward to seeing it!”