Arashi In J-Dramas

Arashi is one of the most famous idol groups within Johnny’s Entertainment, the Japanese entertainment company. Last year, they celebrated their 15-year anniversary of being in the entertainment industry. As idols, Arashi members have been involved in hosting variety programs, acting in dramas/movies/stage plays, and of course singing and dancing as a group. These idols have also widened their activities to casting news, holding art exhibitions, being magicians, and more.

Arashi has released 50 singles, many of them being used as opening or ending songs in dramas and anime. It's almost certain that when an Arashi member is cast for the main role of a drama, they’ll use their music, too. Arashi’s fanbase is constantly increasing. They are a group known around the world mainly thanks to J-Dramas.

If you are unfamiliar with Arashi, here are two dramas starring each member to get started. This list will be in order of age, not personal preference.

Ohno Satoshi


At 36, he's the oldest member of Arashi. He was also chosen (very objectively during a rock-paper-scissors game with the other members) as the leader of the group. He’s well known for his singing and dancing abilities and also a skilled artist. He is the only one within Johnny’s Entertainment to hold his own art exhibitions. Sometimes he choreographs for Arashi's performances.


Maou was Ohno’s first time acting as the leading role in a drama in 2008. He won several awards for his portrayal of Naruse Ryo. Ohno did an excellent job considering it was his first time shouldering a drama.

Maou is a revenge drama and one of the most well-known Japanese suspense dramas. Naruse is a lawyer known as the Angel Lawyer due to his kind heart in helping the poor and helpless. But there is a dark side he hides from the public eye which is related to the revenge he has been planning against the person responsible for his brother’s death. This is a very well thought out drama with twists at every corner. This drama is a remake of The Devil, a Korean drama from 2007.

Special mention to the drama’s opening song which of course is an Arashi song. It fits the dark theme of the drama and really gets you in the right mood for watching this genre.

Arashi Song: Truth

Sekaiichi Muzukashii Koi

This is Ohno’s first romance drama and his most recent one as it aired it 2016.

This drama is about the successful president of a chain of hotels, who has always been focused on his job and the expansion of his business until he meets a new employee at one of his hotels. He practically falls in love at first sight. Being inexperienced and clumsy in love, he starts to develop strategies together with his secretary and his chauffeur to win her heart. This is a romantic comedy so it’s pretty entertaining seeing Samejima’s relationship with his staff. Personally, I really liked his interaction with his archrival, Wada Hideo.

It was very refreshing seeing Ohno take a role like this, something very different from his previous roles.

Arashi Song: Seek

Sakurai Sho


He’s 35 years old and known as “Arashi’s Shadow Leader” because he is well known for keeping the group in order. He is also in charge of the raps in every Arashi song, being the first “rapper” among Johnny’s members. Aside from being a pioneer on rapping in his company, he was also the first Johnny to obtain a university degree and the first to work as a newscaster. 

The Quiz Show 2

This is a suspense and revenge drama and it’s supposed to be a season 2 of The Quiz Show but this is totally a remake.

Sho’s character has amnesia and he doesn’t remember anything about his life, but somehow he works as the MC of a TV show. The one controlling the MC’s actions is the show’s director, Honma. This TV show is a show where the contestants have to answer a certain amount of questions in order to get their ultimate wish fulfilled. The first couple of questions are pretty standard questions, but as the questions continue, the contestants discover that these are very personal questions about a dark secret they have been hiding. So would they reveal their secret in order to fulfill their wish?

Arashi song: Ashita no Kioku

Kazoku Game

Based on the novel by the same name, Kazoku Game is a psychological and mystery drama. The synopsis of this drama doesn't do it justice because you can’t really tell where the mystery in all this is. But let me assure you that this drama is definitely full of twists and unexpected developments. Every episode gets better and intrigues you as you want to know what the real intentions of the main character are.

Sho’s character, Yoshimoto, is a home tutor who has a very special way of teaching. He gets hired by a family to tutor their youngest son. While he starts his teaching, he starts getting involved with the other members of the family and suddenly secrets are being revealed.

At first, you think Yoshimoto is a good teacher, kind of Onizuka from GTO, but then you begin to think he is very twisted - only to start thinking he's good but a little mischievous. And at the end of the drama, you don't know what to think about his teaching and methods and whether he is a good teacher or a bad one. This is also quite a dark drama where they use a deep dark psychological approach on every character.

Arashi song: Endless Game

Aiba Masaki


Aiba Masaki is 34 years old and known as “the miracle boy”. He joined Johnny’s Entertainment because he wanted to meet fellow group SMAP. The other members have said that Aiba is a very honest person and that he hardly gets mad, he’s always positive and overall a nice guy.

Sadly, Aiba’s recent dramas hardly ever get subbed, so it’s a tough search for those who want to find subbed videos.

My Girl

This was Aiba’s first leading role in a drama in 2009. My Girl is a heartwarming drama about a photographer named Masamune who suddenly finds out he has a daughter (Koharu) and starts living with her. The story develops as they adapt to their new situation and start bonding as father and daughter. This is a very lovely drama to watch and the relationship and interaction between Masamune and Koharu are very cute and endearing. The little actress that plays Koharu, Ishii Momoka, is very sweet and does an excellent job.  Aiba's first leading role fits him very well and he has an excellent chemistry with Momoka.

Arashi song: My Girl

Youkoso Wagaya E

This drama is a suspense drama centered around a family that starts being harassed by a stalker. Aiba’s character is the oldest son of the family, Kenta. Kenta doesn’t like getting involved in problems so he never speaks up when he's being wronged. But one day he ends up getting into an argument with a man in the subway and when he’s about to get home he notices the man has been following him. And that’s how the family starts being harassed. It gradually gets worse so Kenta decides he’ll have to take charge of investigating who the culprit is (since he didn’t get to see the face of the man who followed him) and to stop him so he and his family can go back to their peaceful lives. But things won’t be easy and everything starts getting entangled and the family may be surprised when they finally find their stalker.

Arashi song: Aozora no Shita, Kimi no Tonari

Ninomiya Kazunari


He is 33 years old and called “Nino” by the other members. He is the one with the sharpest tongue among Arashi and is also known for managing his money in a very detailed manner, sometimes to the degree of being called a cheapskate. Nino is recognized especially for his acting abilities since he appeared on Hollywood movie Iwojima.

Ryusei no Kizuna

This is a suspense and revenge drama about three siblings whose parents were murdered when they were young. The culprit has never been found so they grow up with one goal in mind: Finding out who killed their parents before the statute of limitations ends.

This drama is very good on the suspense because it’s pretty hard to guess who the killer is and it has some shocking developments. Nino, Toda Erika and Nishikido Ryo make a very good combination and it’s interesting to watch them as swindlers.

Arashi song: Beautiful Days

Yowakutemo Katemasu

This is a story that focuses on a high school baseball club which is known for sending a good amount of students to Tokyo University, but also for being very weak at playing baseball and never winning a game.

Nino plays a high school teacher who used to study at that high school himself. Due to being a former member of the school’s baseball team, he gets assigned to be the team’s coach. He slowly starts getting involved with the team and the members. By using unusual strategies and ways of coaching he declares that “this team will win even if it’s weak”.

I think this character fits Nino’s real personality perfectly and that’s why his performance is such a delight to watch. This drama’s strongest point is its originality. There are other stories of underdog teams, but this one uses a new approach on how the team grows up. The young cast also gives us very good performances that make this drama very enjoyable.

Arashi song: GUTS!

Matsumoto Jun


The youngest of the members at 33 years old, he is called “MatsuJun” or “MJ” by his fellow members. He’s known as one of the “elites” among Johnny’s due to being personally invited by the president of Johnny’s Entertainment. MatsuJun is known for having a passionate personality and being hot-tempered.

Hana Yori Dango

The second adaption of the manga after the Taiwanese adaptation. It’s a classic Cinderella story where a rich heir falls in love with a poor hardworking girl.

Tsukushi is a high school student that enters Eitoku, a school for super rich kids, where she meets Tsukasa, the heir to Domyouji Corporation. Tsukasa, together with three other rich heirs, forms the F4, an elite group that rules over the school. Tsukushi decides to confront Tsukasa after seeing how he bullies one of her friends and that is how they first meet. The story continues as Tsukasa falls in love with Tsukushi and tries to win her heart.

This drama is a very good manga adaption, the story is very interesting and there’s no filler to it. The cast is very solid with Oguri ShunMatsuda ShotaAbe TsuyoshiInoue Mao, and MatsuJun. The character development is also very interesting to watch, especially during interactions of the F4 with Tsukushi. This is a very famous drama for its second lead syndrome. Watch the two seasons of this drama and wrap it up with the movie.

This story (Taiwanese, Korean, Chinese or Japanese version) is a must watch for any drama fan.

Arashi song: Season 1: Wish

                       Season 2: Love so sweet

                       Movie: One Love

99.9 Criminal Lawyer

A drama about quirky lawyer Hiroto who is very good at finding the truth. Because of this, he gets hired at a very prestigious law firm and becomes part of a new department in charge of criminal cases.

This is an episodic drama where they deal with one case per episode with the whole team getting involved in it, but nevertheless, it’s a fast-paced drama. The cases are pretty interesting to watch though there’s not much of suspense in them. The teamwork between the three main lawyers gradually develops until they have a very cohesive team.

Jun really enhances his character’s eccentricity and gives us an interesting Hiroto. I enjoyed watching this drama a lot. It was light-hearted, entertaining, and the quirkiness of Miyama's character was pretty amusing to watch.

 Arashi song: Daylight


You can also watch:

Saigo no Yakusokua drama special starring all five members. 

Yamada Taro Monogatari, an entertaining drama starring Nino and Sho.

Comments (31)

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  • Reply
    singing_jayne May 17, 2017 - edited

    Wow most of the ones you picked would not be my top pick for these guys except for maybe My Girl.

    Ok so my Arashi story: I saw HanaDan as my third ever drama and My Girl as my fifth. The song just spoke to me (not to mention the father/daughter plot cause it was about 8 months after my dad died) and the voices seemed familiar so I looked it up. And that was it, I am a fan and will be for life. Seriously, seeing them perform live is on my bucket list. More than just their individual talents, their talents as a working team are amazing. To stay together for 15 years as both solo and group performers is something I can't even imagine. And the best part is they are so incredibly talented as individuals that making them a team just creates something magical.

    Anyway my top picks would be:
    Ohno: Kagi no Kakatta Heya (Such a fun and weird character. Reminded me of an alternative Sherlock Holmes and I loved it.)
    Sakurai: Yoiko no Mikata (His character is so sweet even though I know the acting was more impressive in Kazoku Game. To the point where I was super uncomfortable with it and it took me like 6 months to force myself through it.)
    Aiba: My Girl (For exactly the reasons in this article.)
    Ninomiya: Yamata Taro Monogatari (But really I think he excels in movies more than dramas. Platina Data was jaw dropping.)
    Matsumoto: Smile (I cried for about 7 minutes in that scene in ep11 *no spoilers* and you will too. It was amazing.)

    • Reply
      fanitha May 19, 2017 - edited

      I did like Kagi no Kakatta Heya and actually was considering to write about it, but since I had Maou I didn't want to put 2 dramas kind of the same genre, so that's why I choose Sekai ichi muzukashii koi.
      I haven't watched Yoiko no Mikata nor Smile, I'll give them a try.
      And as you I was Jun baited to the fandom due to HYD.

  • Reply
    Heathenkitties Apr 26, 2017

    I LOVE Arashi! Thanks for this article!

  • Reply
    EmaChan Apr 14, 2017

    I love and respect Arashi from all my heart ♥ I am so proud of them TT ..

  • Reply
    mongji Apr 12, 2017 - edited

    aww.. my fellow arashi-lover.. *virtual high five XD

  • Reply
    loveanimeever Apr 12, 2017

    Love all of them, will continue watching them~ ;)

  • Reply
    SumiTheCat Apr 8, 2017 - edited

    - Fangirl mode activated -

    Thanks for this article. i've watched them all but I think it's a good start for those who want to try dramas with Arashi members. I like your choices of dramas and the fact that there are older and more recent ones.
    I can't help but to comment on any member (my apologizes in advance if 'i'm too long).
    Aiba is the one i'm watching the least, as you pointed out the lack of subs for his dramas. I'm looking forward to his very next one, (looks promising, hope it will be subbed).
    Matsumoto was the first Arashi memeber I ever watched, in HYD, and I hated him so much in it that I blacklisted him for around 2 years. Arashi shows, Gokusen and Lucky seven made me change my mind (and i'm glad i did).
    As you recall us, Ninomiya is probably the strongest actor of the band, he never disappoints me. I find him awsomly good at depicting the boy next door, the normal and annoying young man of the neighbourhood, and he makes it in such a natural way that he manage to make me fall for those guys. And I was really surprised to see he had such an important role in Iwojima (thought he would be a minor character before watching the movie). I'm surprised to see you've chosen Yowakutemo Katemasu, i thought his drama was not that appreciated, despite his nice cast. I really liked him in that show. Most of all, Nino is my favorite solo singer of the group, I've fallen for his heartwarming voice.
    Sakurai was my gateway to the group. I discovered him in Nazotoki wa, dinner no ato de, and his character there remains my favorite of its career (though i was amazed by his performance in Kazoku Game, i never thought he could do so well - so now I can't for next Miike's movie). I was also unexpectedly moved by his character in Tokio. He was my first "ichiban" and still has a special place in my heart.
    Last and not least, dear Ohno-san is definitely an interesting actor. I'd rather see him in recent shows (but Maou is awesome), like in Sekamuzu (and he even managed to move me), but i can't help thinking this drama is fanservice only (but people tend ot like it even if not Ohno biased). The drama that stroke me the most though was Kagi no kakatta Heya, where I discovered him, and Enomoto Kei is my favorite character in Dramaland. He was my favorite until not so long ago, now i cannot decide the one I like the most between Sakurai and him (Yama forever!!! - I said I was on a fangirl mode).

    Movies and specials where the five of them are starring are precious to me, even if there are not as good as some of their individual dramas, such as Pikanchi anor even the (maybe) less known Yellow tears.
    I liked that you added their drama songs. No one cares, but my personnal favorites are A day in our life, Face down and Tomadoi nagara (and many others in fact).

    • Reply
      fanitha Apr 10, 2017

      Sakurai is still my favorite member!! Thanks for your comment I really like reading your point of view as an Arashi fan. And I was torn between Sekaimuzu and Kagi no Kakkata Heya but since I wanted to put 2 total different genres I choose Sekamuzu. But still Face down is one of my favorite songs as well!!

  • Reply
    Fortuna Apr 7, 2017 - edited

    Arashi's great. I've watched all of them act except Aiba and I gather they're good actors. I've seen HYD (1, 2 and film) & Shitsuren Chocolatier (MatsuJun), The Quiz Show & some of Kazoku Game (Sakurai; I need to finish this...), Kagi na Kakatta Heya (Ohno, who's kawaii), and I've seen Nino somewhere...briefly. I plan to see more of their dramas. Although I haven't seen Maou yet (on my list),'Truth' is one of my favourite Arashi songs. Nice article as usual, fanitha. ^^

    • Reply
      fanitha Apr 10, 2017

      Thanks for commenting, and I'm glad you like the article. Do watcn Maou is an excelent drama!

  • Reply
    ken Apr 7, 2017

    I only know Jun

  • Reply
    Sutera116 Apr 7, 2017 - edited

    ok but they celebrated their 15 year anniversary in 2014 haha

    • Reply
      fanitha Apr 7, 2017

      You're right!! sorry for the mistake

  • Reply
    Tichan86 Apr 7, 2017


  • Reply
    Diefenbaker Apr 7, 2017

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Arashi!

  • Reply
    rosyprincess Apr 7, 2017


  • Reply
    Gulsan Apr 7, 2017

    I haven't watched any dramas with Ohno, Sho and Aiba. But Jun and especially Nino are great! Ryusei no Kizuna very recommended!

  • Reply
    mz4jun Apr 7, 2017 - edited

    I am a big fan of Jun. I watched him first in Gokusen and been a fan since.

  • Reply
    theairtwit Apr 6, 2017 - edited

    I have a big bias for matsujun & his dramas. stick him anything & I will probably love it.

    I think the first time I saw aiba's acting was in yokoso, which is a good drama to check out, IMO, but he also just fits the role perfectly. sekamuzu... I've been wanting to watch this since it first aired! I should pick it up as one of my next dramas.

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