Skip to main content

Arashi is the Most Popular Band You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

It’s pretty likely you’ve never heard of the most popular band on the planet right now. The act is fittingly called Arashi, Japanese for “force of a storm.”

Since the band was founded in the late 90s it has put together an immensely impressive discography of sheer pop force. Last year, Arashi’s Best-Of collection was released, an album spanning the band’s full resume. It outsold even Taylor Swift, making it the best-selling album of 2019.

The stats are mind-blowing: Arashi has sold more than 41 million records and performed for some 14 million people. The quintet has commanded the uber-popular J-pop scene for decades, not just in its native Japan but worldwide. And, again, you probably can’t name a single Arashi hit.

Related Reading

Something like the Japanese version of N’Sync, Arashi formed on American soil (well, waters anyway) in 1999. That’s when members Ohno Satoshi, Sakurai Sho, Aiba Masaki, Ninomiya Kazunari, and Matsumoto Jun decided to call themselves a musical group while on a cruise ship off the Honolulu coast. The band’s eponymous single officially debuted and it was picked up as the theme song for the men’s volleyball World Cup later that year, hosted by Japan.

J Storm

Arashi turned out singles like Typhoon Generation and embarked on extensive national tours. In 2001, the band switched record labels and began seeing some of its music featured in Japanese dramas and anime series. The pace was far from blistering but certainly successful. In the mid-2000s, Arashi was offering just two singles per year on average, but they almost always topped the charts.

Less than a decade into its career, Arashi was already one of Japan’s most adored acts, if not one of the entire continent’s. Member Matsumoto Jun devised a transparent mobile stage for the band to perform on as it sailed over throngs of screaming fans. It wasn’t quite yet Beatlemania for the J-pop stars, but it was getting there. When not performing on the musical stage, Arashi featured in manga, or Japanese graphic novels.

嵐 - A・RA・SHI [Official Music Video]

Arashi’s sonic waves grew in size and volume. The year 2006 saw the band’s work sold elsewhere, in such nations as Hong Kong and South Korea. In the latter, the group’s newest LP Arashi sold 10,000 copies its first day on the market. Along came festival headlining bills, broader tours, and scores of press conferences.

Arenas were no longer big enough to contain the quintet. Arashi started playing venues like the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, which holds 48,000 people. Musically, the band pivoted some with its release of Dream “A” Live, its eighth full-length studio release. The record attracted more male listeners thanks to perhaps a bit more in the way of jumpy guitar and rock. Still built around the pop and catchy new R&B the band had become known purveyors of, the album deviated just enough to broaden its audience. Prior to that, Arashi was mainly pulling on the ears of teenage girls.

Ten years as a band and Arashi had become a global force. The musicians were endorsing major products and showing up routinely in all kinds of media. Arashi’s sound had been fine-tuned into a product of mass appeal. It mixed boy band antics, feel-good bubble gum pop, plenty of vocal harmonies and the occasional rap (sung in Japanese as well as English), and a backdrop of sounds seemingly pulled straight from video games.

The next ten years were much the same, with even greater success and a wider, raucous following. Arashi practically became a house band for some of Asia’s largest arenas, playing them annually, if not more often.

While music halts its regular ways like most things mid-pandemic, Arashi continues to build its legion online. Presently, the band has well over one million monthly Spotify followers, a massive YouTube presence, and countless forums, mentions, hashtags, etc. The band is the subject of a 26-episode Netflix documentary and has been streamed almost 360 million times since November of 2019, when the streaming services gained access.

Still at it despite retirement rumors at play, Arashi just released yet another single. Dubbed In the Summer, the track weaves together dance, electronica, house, and anthemic pop. It’s a catchy love song that millions of people will likely turn to to celebrate a relationship, blast amid a breakup, or simply use as an escape pod to flee, if only mentally and for a few minutes, from the pandemic. 

ARASHI - IN THE SUMMER (Official Music Video)

With more than twenty years under its belt, Arashi remains a real pop force, despite relatively little fanfare stateside. It’s an interesting phenomenon in a planet increasingly shrunken by technology and the internet.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
UFC Live Stream: Watch UFC Fights Online From Anywhere
ufc 257 poirier vs mcgregor 2 ppv bundle deal conor v donald cerrone

Searching for a way to watch UFC fights online? Regional broadcasting regulations create some challenges for sports enthusiasts who want to enjoy live events, especially without a cable subscription. Luckily, broadcasters have adapted to the streaming app trend in recent years, ensuring much easier access to live sports (including MMA). ESPN, the leading broadcaster for UFC in the U.S., responded to this shift by introducing ESPN+, their premium streaming platform. ESPN+ quickly became the top destination to watch UFC fights and pay-per-view events and offers a seamless streaming experience across your PC, mobile device, smart TV, or gaming console. If you're ready to start watching every UFC live stream online, keep reading. This comprehensive guide has everything you need to know, including an upcoming fight schedule so you don't miss a minute of the action.

Watch the Official UFC Live Stream
By far the best way to watch UFC live streams online is ESPN+, a premium streaming service that launched in 2018. ESPN+ delivers a cornucopia of sports content, including MMA and boxing, to almost any modern streaming device. That said, you've got some other options that are also worth mentioning. But due to the very tight relationship between ESPN and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, you'll still need to sign up for ESPN+ in order to live stream UFC pay-per-view events.

Read more
These are the best shows you can watch on Hulu now
From Lost to The Great, these are the best shows you can stream on Hulu right now.
best shows on hulu arresteddevelopment

There was a time when great TV was hard to come by. While not every TV show is great, these days, it can sometimes feel like viewers have the opposite problem. There are simply too many shows, and too many streaming services, to choose from. Thankfully, the best shows on Hulu are also among the best shows you can watch anywhere. From new originals to legacy series from decades past, it has tons of shows that will fill the hours of your day.
You're probably aware that, while Hulu has plenty of great stuff, it's far from the only streaming service with plenty of TV to offer. So whether you’re looking for the best Amazon Prime shows, the best Disney+ shows, or the best Netflix shows, we've got you covered. Below, we'll dig into the best shows on Hulu that you can watch now.

Under the Banner of Heaven (2022)

Read more
How to fall asleep fast, according to these sleep experts
Need help with sleep? Try these pro tips for a better night's sleep.
A man sleeps in his bed

It’s a human experience that's almost as universal as life itself. You lie down in bed after a wildly busy day, and you eagerly await the onset of eight hours of sweet, restful escape, only to feel your brain go into overdrive the second your head hits the pillow.

Soon enough, you're checking emails, falling down all sorts of Reddit rabbit holes, and looking for that one viral TikTok video that your friends won't stop talking about. Eventually, the clock nears midnight, and you're still painfully wide awake and wasting away the night on your internet-enabled device.

Read more