Arashi, one of the most successful J-pop idol groups, officially entered hiatus since the start of this year, after holding a final livestreamed concert on the last day of 2020. After almost two months have passed, what are the five guys up to with their solo careers?
Prior to the group’s hiatus, Masaki Aiba was already hosting a radio show titled Masaki Aiba’s Recommendations, and two variety shows: Aiba Manabu, where he learns a range of skills (manabu means to learn in Japanese), and I Love Everyone’s Zoo, modified from Shimura Zoo, which Aiba took over from the deceased co-host Ken Shimura last March.
Currently, Aiba has also taken over Arashi’s game show VS Arashi, which has been renamed to VS Damashii, where damashii means spirit. Similar to its predecessor, VS Damashii pits Aiba against the guests in physical games.
Among the members of Arashi, Matsumoto’s upcoming plans were the most mysterious. As there was no news before the hiatus about him appearing under the limelight, there was speculation that Matsumoto might be moving into behind the scenes. However, recent news has overthrown this speculation. In fact, it looks like Matsumoto will be going back to another forte of his — acting.
Once known as Domyoji from Boys Over Flowers (2005), Matsumoto will be starring as Ieyasu Tokugawa in the 2023 Taiga drama series — an annual year-long historical drama series — titled Dou Suru Ieyasu. In addition, Matsumoto will be reprising his lead role as Hiroto Miyama in the movie sequel of Japanese drama series 99.9 Criminal Lawyer. The movie is scheduled to be released in Japanese cinemas this winter.
No new activity has been planned for Ninomiya since Arashi went into hiatus. Ninomiya currently hosts radio show Bay Storm and variety talk show Ninosan, which is named after his nickname Nino. However, with acting as his strong suit, it is only a matter of time before we see Ninomiya in a television drama or movie.
Ninomiya was awarded Best Actor in the 39th Japan Academy Film Prize (2016) for his performance in Living With My Mother (2015). He has been nominated again as the Best Actor in the upcoming 44th Japan Academy Film Prize for his performance in The Asadas (2020).
As Arashi’s hiatus was initiated by Ohno, who wanted some time off from the limelight, he has since erased his presence in the industry. However, Japanese fans can still catch his art exhibition titled Freestyle 2020 in Osaka, which will be held till 28 February. The multi-talented Ohno previously hosted a virtual tour of his art exhibition in December 2020.
It was announced on 22 February that Sakurai will be starring in a Japanese detective drama titled Nemesis with Japanese actress Suzu Hirose. The drama is scheduled to air in Japan this April.
In addition, Sakurai has been active as a newscaster for News Zero, and as a host for variety talk shows Sakurai Ariyoshi The Night and 130 Million People’s Show Channel. The latter takes over the television time slot for Arashi’s variety talk show Must Be Arashi.
Although fans will not be able to see Arashi as a group during their hiatus, it is still comforting to see that they are busy with their own solo careers. As for the ones who miss the presence of Ohno, we can only look forward to the day he returns to the limelight — or at least give some updates about what he has been working on.