Arashi’s care for the audience preserved in film

ARASHI Anniversary Tour 5×20 FILM “Record of Memories” ©2021 J Storm Inc.
A scene from the latest Arashi film now in cinemas

“I made this film with an audience of 52,000,” director Yukihiko Tsutsumi said of his movie covering one of idol group Arashi’s concerts before they halted their group activities. “I felt that so much, I wanted to put everyone’s name in the closing credits.”

The movie, which showcases an Arashi concert, was released nationwide on Nov. 26.

“ARASHI Anniversary Tour 5×20 FILM ‘Record of Memories’” features the group’s special concert held at Tokyo Dome on Dec. 23, 2019.

“The movie sticks to the members’ serious and stoic personas and films them in line with the whole idea of the concert,” Tsutsumi said.

The concert was held expressly so it could be filmed. Usually, cameras are not set up at live performances in locations that could block the audience’s view. However, 125 cameras were installed for the Dec. 23 concert with the audiences’ understanding in advance. The cameras were set up on the stage, mounted on drones to fly around the roofed stadium or were hoisted with a number of cranes to follow the audience and the five members: Masaki Aiba, Jun Matsumoto, Kazunari Ninomiya, Satoshi Ono and Sho Sakurai.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yukihiko Tsutsumi

“I have shot many live performances and music videos with [other idol groups such as] Shibugakitai, V6 and [idol] Tsuyoshi Domoto,” Tsutsumi said. “This is the culmination of my work.”

What’s appealing about Arashi’s performance, Tsutsumi continues, is that the group members “really care about the audience.”

“Rather than focusing on what they’d like to be doing, they focus on creating a cohesive space no matter how large the venue,” the veteran director said.

While singing the group’s hit songs such as “A・Ra・Shi” and “Guts!,” the five members move freely around Tokyo Dome, using large sets really well.

The film shows details, as well as their dynamic staging.

He said about 50 cameras were divided up and dedicated to each member to follow them on and off the stage.

“I wanted to capture close-ups of subtle movements in contrast to the dynamic staging, such as a member’s foot stepping on the pedal of the piano, their hands put on the waists and shoulders of the other members,” Tsutsumi said.

Tsutsumi has worked with Arashi since they were teenagers and directed the group’s movie series “Pikanchi.”

“The group truly represents Japan. At the same time, however, I feel like I’m their relative [whenever I meet them.] They are just as good of guys as they ever have been,” Tsutsumi said.

He checked the final cut with Matsumoto, who directed the stage performance, and then discussed the composition with each member.

“There were difficult moments, but that’s natural because they feel the weight of responsibility to put on a good performance and they know how to present themselves on stage. They inspired me,” Tsutsumi said.

The movie vividly captures the five performing on the stage.

“I’m excited about their future,” Tsutsumi said. “I believe their potential will only grow as they get older.”

Sakurai attended the movie’s Japan premiere in September, and Matsumoto held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in October.

On Nov. 3, when the movie’s advance screening started at some theaters, Aiba, Matsumoto, Ninomiya and Sakurai appeared at one of the theaters and shared the movie’s highlights. The film has also opened at theaters in several other countries.