NTV announced on the 10th the list of casters that will represent the station at the Vancouver Olympics, set to start on February 12th (13th Japan time to account for the time difference).
The main caster will be Arakawa Shizuka, gold medalist at the Torino Olympic Games for figure skating. The special caster will be Arashi’s Sakurai Sho. Sakurai will be reprising his caster duties following the 2008’s Beijing Olympics. “To be able to witness such a moment in history, it will always be something I’ll hold close to heart,” recalls Sakurai. There’s lots to be enthusiastic about in Vancouver as well. “I’d like to report the ‘crystals of athletes’ thoughts’ like snow shining in the sky in Vancouver,” said Sakurai. As well, Ogiwara Tsugiharu, who competed at the 1998 Olympics Games held in Nagano, will be taking on the caster role for the third time.
Oricon’s year-end sales rankings for 2009 are out, and the results confirm that Arashi is the top selling artist of the year. They had the #1 single, the #1 album, the #1 music DVD, and were #1 for the first time in artist total sales. In the 42 years of Oricon’s history, no one else has topped all four categories in the same year.
Counting sales of singles, albums, music DVDs, and music Blu-ray Discs, Arashi grossed a total of more than 14.46 billion yen. At #2 this year was EXILE, who topped the list in 2008 with 19.58 billion yen in total sales.
In single sales, Arashi had the #1, #2, #3, and #5 releases, with “Believe / Kumori Nochi, Kaisei” in front at nearly 657,000 units sold. The only other artists to occupy the top three spots were Pink Lady in 1978 and Hikaru Genji in 1988. Arashi are the first to have four of the top five, as well as the first to hold the top two spots in back-to-back years.
Their “All the BEST! 1999-2009” album sold over 1.43 million copies. In DVD sales, they were #1 and #2 with “5×10 All the BEST! CLIPS 1999-2009” (591,000) and “ARASHI AROUND ASIA 2008 in TOKYO” (428,000).
Currently celebrating their 10th anniversary, Johnny’s Entertainment group Arashi has seen their popularity skyrocket in the past year. It seems they have no intention of slowing down as they have been added to the lineup for NHK’s Red and White Singing Contest.
Their newest single ‘My Girl’ has also become a hit, successfully earning them the top 4 spots on this year’s Oricon singles chart with the highest first week sales. ‘My Girl’ has reached number 3 on the charts, just after ‘Ashita no Kioku / Crazy Moon’ and ‘Believe / Kumorinochi Kaisei’. The fourth spot also belongs to them with their previous single ‘Everything’. They seem to have effortlessly dominated the sales in the singles chart for 2009.
In addition, fans from all over the world were thrilled when they announced their appearance on NHK’s Red and White Singing Contest. It is the first time that Johnny’s Entertainment will be having four groups perform on the show. Arashi’s popularity has continued to rise within this year, especially riding on the success of individual projects from all five members. To be invited to perform at the 60th Red and White Singing Contest during their 10th year seems very appropriate.