Japanese boy band Arashi to disband end of 2020

One of Japan’s oldest and most popular boy bands , Arashi, will suspend its activities at the end of 2020. The news has shocked fans in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.

The group posted a video message on its official fan club website on Sunday. Arashi’s leader, Satoshi Ohno, says they had discussed his proposal to go their separate ways at the end of next year. He says he told the other members that he would like to have the freedom to continue his own career.

The group held a news conference on Sunday evening to explain the decision.

The members have also been individually active in a wide range of media, including variety shows, news programs, movies, and TV dramas.

Arashi started group activities in September 1999. They are one of the most popular Japanese boy groups, so last year they reached #1 at Oricons survey of the favorite music act of the year for the 8th time.