Popular Jpop group’s hiatus shocks Japan

A surprise announcement by all-male idol group Arashi that it plans to go on a hiatus at the end of next year continued to ripple across the country Monday.


The group has engaged in various fundraising activities for regions devastated by natural disasters such as Miyagi Prefecture, one of the areas most severely affected by a major earthquake and tsunami in 2011.


The news also rocked the television industry, with a number of regular programs featuring the group or individual members. Arashi’s members have been active not only in music but in movies, Japanese dramas, variety shows and commercials since making their debut in 1999.


Photo credit to: https://www.japantimes.co.jp


Japan Post Co., which featured Arashi in its year-end TV commercial over the last four years, said it appreciates the group’s contribution to promoting New Year greeting cards.


Group leader Satoshi Ono, 38, said in a press conference Sunday the decision was made after he told other members in June 2017 that he wished to leave after the 20-year mark in their career.


With the spreading use of social media among fans, “the level of pressure on idols is different from one or two decades ago,” Hiroyoshi Usui, professor at Sophia University, said.


A music store in Tokyo’s busy shopping district of Shibuya set up a specialized section with Arashi’s CDs, DVDs and other goods. The shop had received a number of queries about related items in stock, it said.


By Monday morning, the phrase “Ono’s summer vacation” had become the top trending hashtag in Japan. Other fans joined in, expressing gratitude for the group’s career so far and some even posted predictions of what they think Ono plans to do during the hiatus.


“Homework for the summer vacation is to show us, if you want to, what you’ve made during the holidays and to return to school happy and healthy,” another fan tweeted, apparently mimicking what Japanese schoolteachers often tell pupils. “This is 20 years’ worth of summer holiday. It’s a long vacation! Take all of it and spend it as you like.”


Reference: Idol group Arashi’s announcement of planned hiatus shocks Japan


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