• JIJI, Staff Report


Iconic Japanese boy band Arashi has started global online distribution of all of its singles, about a year ahead of the group’s scheduled suspension of its activities.

Downloading and subscription streaming of all of the five-member group’s past 64 songs as well as a new song became available later Sunday.

The same day, Arashi opened official accounts on five social networking services — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Weibo.

Its Twitter account had gained some 1.48 million followers and its Instagram account had more than 1.7 million followers as of Monday.

Arashi is the first among entertainers signed to Johnny & Associates, a major Japanese talent agency, to release songs online globally.

“We want our fans to enjoy our songs anytime,” said Jun Matsumoto, 36, one of the members, at a news conference in Tokyo on Sunday.

“Creating an environment that enables people to enjoy music anywhere in the world was a dream of Mr. Johnny Kitagawa,” he said, mentioning the founder of the entertainment agency, who died in July aged 87.

The other four members of Arashi are Masaki Aiba, 36, Kazunari Ninomiya, 36, Satoshi Ono, 38, and Sho Sakurai, 37.

Arashi, which shocked fans earlier this year with an announcement of its decision to suspend activities at the end of 2020, said that it will hold a concert in Beijing next spring — the group’s first performance in China in 11 years. Details will be announced later.

It will also perform live at the new National Stadium in Tokyo on May 15 and 16 next year. The concerts will come before the stadium hosts the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

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