in other words...

Translations by Hwen and Amy

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[Arashi] RO69 - Japonism DVD review
acidae2
say_it_again
There was a review of the Japonism DVD making the rounds on Twitter that I really enjoyed and decided to translate. The review came from a Japanese website with a predominant interest in rock music and I enjoyed the fact that it focused a lot more on the production side of things.

Enjoy, and feel free to share your own thoughts on the concert!



RO69 - Japonism DVD review

Shaken by Arashi the performers after watching "Japonism", the culmination of their brilliance as craftsman idols


The subject of this DVD is the footage of the last concert in Tokyo Dome for Arashi's "Japonism" tour which took place last year. While many of Arashi's concerts have been released as DVDs previously, if someone has never watched a single Arashi concert before and were to pick one to watch, I would strongly recommend watching "ARASHI LIVE TOUR 2015 Japonism". The reason for this is because not only is it undoubtedly of the highest quality be it as a concert or as recorded concert footage, it is also the most ideal representative to offer as an answer to the numerous "misunderstandings" and "doubts" surrounding Arashi's as well as Johnny's form of entertainment.

It's not exactly news to the general public that traditionally, Johnny's idols have always been deeply involved in the production of their concerts. It's not born from some idealistic pretty thoughts of "A concert is something we create ourselves"; rather, it's a "no-nonsense" custom and obligation for them as Johnny's. Out of the groups, Arashi has a particularly strong tendency towards that. With a central focus on Matsumoto Jun, they proactively involve themselves with the organization, the production, the staging, the visuals, the lighting, the special effects, the dance choreography and outfitting, right down to all the nooks and crannies. They play with ideas and build up their concerts through a trial and error process. There is no denying that Arashi are super idols who shine on the enormous stage in a packed Tokyo Dome before 55,000 people, yet at the same time they are also super craftsmen who aided in the creation of that enormous stage. It's from those two sides of the same coin, from the fusion of light and shadow that Arashi's concerts are born.

It's been a long time since I've seen a concert DVD where the brilliance of Arashi's concert structuring through their simultaneous idol and craftsmen roles was conveyed in such a clear, visualized form. The fact that their "Japonism" album was extremely conceptual with themes of "Japan as seen from the rest of the world" and "Back to their roots" played an important role in this. By having a clear-cut concept in their album, they were able to extend that by default to their concerts as well, the entirety of which was deeply imbued with the intent and ideology of Arashi as the creators of said concept. To Arashi, entertainment isn't just about singing and dancing and smiling and waving, and it's not the type of idol they aim to be either. They are frightfully serious about it in a sense, and I'm sure people who watch them for the first time are in for a shock.

In any case, their concept was laid out in full from the get-go. With motifs such as swords, carp and bamboo forests strewn throughout an animated clip, visuals and lighting that closely resemble Japanese screen paintings, the intense orchestra of taiko and shamisen and dancing reminiscent of kabuki, the theme of the show was Japonism through and through. The grandiose performance with umbrellas and kimonos that bore hints of "Benten Kozou" was so incredible that I was left thoroughly shaken! Countless breathtaking "art" emerged on stage that were based on the concept of the concert, and Arashi took that art and developed it into a large-scale 3D form intended for 55,000 people. With crisscrossing runways, peripheral stages, trolleys and moving stages that pass over the heads of the audience, they make use of all the modes of transportation at their disposal to scatter themselves throughout the enormous dome and pull the audience in; somewhere along the way, they too are incorporated into the "art". You almost feel like you're in the middle of a free-form piece of 3D art. It is extremely rare to find artists who have a clear grasp of the size and scope of the Dome and are able to produce entertainment to its greatest extent like Arashi does.

In particular, a number of songs following the opening as well as the rapid progression from the solo sessions after their MC talk to "Japonesque", the embodiment of the entire concept of "Japonism", was so fantastic that I truly hope as many people as possible can watch it. The reason why that flow was so great lies in the way the camera was able to assume a bird's eye view and capture the full impact of the show's entirety with precision. There was a keen sense that whoever came up with this flow and this production was a genius, but what truly floored me was the fact that the genius behind it were the idols standing up on stage themselves. If singles and albums consisting of songs provided by other people are the initial form of expression for Arashi, taking the originality of their ideas and feelings and pouring their heart and soul into the creation of their concerts may just be their final form.

By the way, the "Japanese-style performance" that took such an important role in "Japonism" is actually a traditional form of entertainment passed down from one Johnny's group to the next. Arashi themselves also started off by watching their senpais performing that as Johnny's Jrs and learning from them through their actual work as backdancers. That is why their back to the roots concept for "Japonism" doesn't only refer to Japan, it also speaks to the return of their roots in entertainment. This year's tour also saw the participation of a Johnny's Jr unit that is particularly lauded for their dancing skills, and their group dances were yet another highlight of the show. With their roots lying in American musicals such as "West Side Story", it was deeply moving to see how Johnny's group dances were upgrading and making strides right before my eyes.

However, what is truly remarkable is the fact that Arashi still manages to stand up on stage as consummate super idols to the end. You don't get even the slightest hint of all the hard work and trial and error they went through to create this terrific concert-- just their pride as idols, as people who seem to hail from utopia. The fact that Arashi was able to take the most popular staples of their shows - "A.RA.SHI", "Kansha kangeki ame arashi", "Happiness", "Love so sweet" - and somehow manage to fit them into the world of the highly conceptual "Japonism" without feeling remotely out of place just showcases their power as idols to transcend even their own concept.

It was only after looking back on this as a finished product that I took note of their powers as craftsmen for the first time. Speaking of which, they were able to read the requests written on the countless uchiwas held by fans in a split second and respond right away, yet manage to look up at the furthest corners of the second floor seating in the next instant, smiling and waving broadly at them as if such a feat comes naturally to them. It may not be much of a stretch to call them craftsmen-like idols.

The MC talks included in Arashi's concert DVDs are another source of enjoyment. The appeal of their MCs lie in the complete 180 from the flawless entertainment of the actual show; it takes a sudden turn into idle chatter, the kind of talk between guys after school is out. Of course, there is a sense that they're still putting in effort to entertain the audience even as they show everyone their "stripped down" sides, but it's not off-putting at all. It was quite surreal seeing how much they seemed to enjoy huddling together and talking about a "Gyudon soup story from the Jr. days" in front of 55,000 people. They're sparkling dream icons yet at the same time also your typical boys next door. Surely, this gap we see and their dual aspects of being idols and craftsmen are all part of Arashi's innate nature.



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gosh this review is amazing and make me so proud with arashi. my self really love japonism. thank you for translating


Thanks for the translation! It was a great review, I really liked that the writer talked so much about the hard work that lies behind Arashis concerts.

Thank you for translating! <3 This was such a great and objective review, and I loved that they didn't take a 'holier-than-thou' stance when describing Arashi and their hard work (":


Thank you for translating and sharing..
This review makes me teary..arashi really treasure their concert..they are shine at its best there..
And this japonism concert was really an upgrade from their previous concert...
The show the effect the flow everything were well executed..
I cant wait what kind of album and concert theme they will have this year


Thanks for this, it was nice to read :)

Thank you so much for this! :) i enjoyed reading it


Thank you for the translation <3

This is a great review,thank you for sharing and translating it <3
I do agree with their first sentence,to recomend Japonism concert for people other than fans. Beside its spectacular production which have been reviewed here,it showed that arashi could sing live (their voice in this concert is the most live i ever know,their real voice usually tuned down, pardon me if i'm wrong)
I' m so proud of Arashi <3


Wow, thank you so much for the translation!
The author of this review doesn't seem to follow Arashi closely, or at least not an Arashi fan, which makes me even more proud of them for creating such a concert that wows even non-fans.
I am not very fluent in twitter, but could someone help link the original article?

Thanks for this! You can't help but feel proud. Truly, their productions are a sight to behold. I hope that non-fans get to watch their DVDs and enjoy it.

Ohh, what a great review! Makes me excited with Japonism (haven't watched it) and more excited with Arena *_*
Thank you for the translations :))

Thank you for sharing this.
I hadn't seen it before but it feels spot on :)

Thank you so much for translating this! This is the sort of thing I would love to read if only I could! It makes me so proud to see that people appreciate thier hard work! I can imagine that sometimes idols wouldn't be taken as seriously, but we know that each everyone of them works extremely hard to bring the tours to life. Even being on another continent when I watch it it makes me feel like I am a part of something great.


Thank you, thank you, thank you!


OMG this is such a fantastic review! I almost started to tear up reading it. Thank you so much for translating and sharing it! I think I need to go watch the concert again now.

Thanks for the translation ! I agree with all said in this review. Japonism con was really one of the best I've ever seen if not the best !

this review said it all... the writer did arashi and their hardwork justice the concert was amazing arashi deserves to bre recognize for their hardwork and dedication. thank you for translating :)

Thanks for sharing! Japonism was really so visually pleasing =)

this was a very interesting read! I'm really glad you took your time to translate it. I hope many people read it and realize how amazing Arashi and their concerts are. (Also I'm glad I'm not the only one finding them amazing simply because I'm biased to Arashi, but people outside of their big fans agree too~)



Such good article, so proud of them, specially Matsujun!
Thanks for sharing^^

(I took the gif from internet, it's not mine)

Thank you so much for translating this! I really enjoyed reading it and it made me tear up a bit. ♥

This was such a good read, especially considering it doesn't come from a fan at all so it's not biased or anything. To be fair they were quite right, it really is a fine concert and a very well-put one at that (I mean, maybe I'm biased, but at the same time it's really just THAT good)

Thank you!

Thank you for sharing this interesting article!! Otsukare sama..

Yeah.. some ppl might like other groups who may be more hansome or more funny.. or more skilled in dancing etc.. but Arashi have this charm among them five.. that we viewers enjoy.. maybe the writer caught it well with his words "They're sparkling dream icons yet at the same time also your typical boys next door".

This. I want to read such impression from other, those who is not fan, those is not and has not followed them.
And then, I will glaze and be sooooo proud of them, I will always be fan of Arashi!

Thanks for translating. This was a really interesting read, I feel so proud of our boys!

Thank you for translating. It was an interesting read.

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