|Sakurai Sho: every girl's dream senpai.|
|Oh the many things Sho gets up to with the appropriate prodding from Arashi.|
Born January 25, 1982, in Tokyo. Is the second oldest in Arashi and often referred to as the "Mama" of the group due to his motherly guardianship over the other members. His father is a politician and his mother a university professor as well as a heiress. Sho has one younger sister and one younger brother. He entered Johnny's in 1995 and was a very popular junior by the time Arashi was set to debut, earning the admiration of Matsumoto Jun and several of his other kouhais. He attended the prestigious Keio University and graduated with a degree in Economics in 2004, making him the one with the highest level of education in Arashi. At 171 cm, he is the third tallest in Arashi (after Aiba and Jun). Nicknames: "Sho-kun" is a common one, though Aiba and occasionally Nino will call him "Sho-chan" too. Arashi members usually do not use his surname when addressing him, but other people (like guests on the shows) will call him "Sakurai-san" or "Sakurai-kun." Apparently he is called "Keio boy" too, but I've only seen this in fandom. A recent nickname is "Candle Sho," which came up on VSA when the Nazodi cast members revealed that Sho liked to light candles in his dressing room during the shooting.
Sho is, as Ohno once said, an "ikemen." For those of you who don't know what an "ikemen" is, it basically means a good-looking guy, though usually not in the aggressively sexual sense. I tend to equate ikemen with "pretty boy" in my head, though I'm aware that's probably not the strictly accurate definition. Sho, though, is definitely an ikemen.
|18-year-old Sho. Just look at those beautiful features!|
|Sho in red with super sloping sholders!|
Picture credit from baidu forums
And yet another physical feature that is a much discussed topic is the amazing abdomen of Sakurai Sho. This guy has abs. Maybe not like the Calvin Klein model's chiseled abs, but certainly very noticeable nonetheless. We all saw those an.an. photos (see below if you haven't). Once again, heavens bless an. an.!
|Perhaps the most treasured issue of an an ever.|
|Sho in a tank top for "Love Situation" in the 2007 Time concert.|
|Sho & Jun, a beautifully enigmatic relationship in Arashi.|
I always find myself comparing Sho and Jun in my head when it comes to personality, because they have both changed so much since the early 2000's, and because they're both more on the serious mature side now. They are also both workaholics, and are known for going to great lengths to perfect their work. And of course, they both did the nude photoshoots in an an and are seen as manly sex symbols in Arashi
|Sho sported quite the "yanki" cut.|
|We wonder who Sho has on speed-dial in his private phone.|
|Sho (center) can't bend, so Arashi helps |
him loosen up for their yoga session.
Another thing the members love to make fun of Sho about is his utter failure when it comes to dating problems and women. Let' just say that he is not the smoothest person when trying to hit on someone. He is prone to give less than satisfactory responses in the Moteki Arashi, Dame Arashi segment on HnA (the one where one member falls into ice water at the end) when asked about what sorts of dates he'd go on, or how he would confess his feelings to a girl etc etc. But even before that, his lack of relationship savvy was exposed in Shukudai-kun whenever they had to do the corner where each member pretends to give a speech to a "girlfriend" on a given topic (e.g. how to make up after a fight? how to confess to the cute cashier girl? how to confess to a co-worker?). He pretty much fails at every turn. It's adorable to see his dejection at the audiences' many negative votes. But of course, I bet that our Sho-chan has no problem getting girls in real life; he frequently shows up on magazine polls as "the ideal husband" or "the ideal son-in-law." Interestingly enough, he and Ohno also usually score quite high on "most attractive Arashi member to transvestites/gays" too.
Sho is incredibly caring, and I mentioned earlier that he is sometimes referred to as the "mother" of the group. There was once on AnShiyagare when he was scooping rice into bowls for the members during the ending segment in a very motherly way, such that Nino starting calling him "Kaa-san." Indeed, there are times on arashi shows when the other four act like unruly kids and Sho becomes the sighing mother who has circles run around her as she tries to bring them to order. Sho takes care of the other members in more subtle ways too, and even if he doesn't hang out much with them in private, he nevertheless shares that unique Arashi bond of friendship that is in many ways stronger than conventional friendships.
Note that the captions under these two screencaps are figments of my overactive imagination!
The graphic below is not my best work, but I've watched this episode so many times, and maybe I've read too much into it, but I really believe that Sho and Jun were actively trying to cover for Ohno. I don't think the MC's were really intentionally being mean; they were just doing their jobs trying to get Ohno to advertise his new drama and play, but the Arashi members all knew that Ohno just needed more space, not more publicity. Anyways, this is what my brain comes up with at 2 AM...
Sho is, as I said earlier, a bridge between the serious Arashi and the frivolous Arashi. There's a reason Sakuraiba and Sakumoto are my favorite combis, and that's because Sho works so well with either of them! I love seeing his almost Aiba-like childish side come out, like when he does his "Chesuto!" cries to pump himself up, but I also love when he and MatsuJun are paired to do stuff in VSA together, because they both have this knowing smirk on their faces that tell us they know they're going to rock the socks off everyone.
|Sho (right) as a newscaster on NEWS ZERO.|
Sho may not be excellent at sports; he has neither stamina nor strength, to be absolutely honest. But there is one sport he is good at: soccer! He frequently scores perfects in the Kicking Sniper game on VSA and he's shown off some of his soccer skills on Arashi ni Shiyagare too! Surprisingly enough, he also seemed to be able to pick up fencing quite naturally on AnS when members of the Japanese Olympic fencing squad came to visit. So perhaps we shouldn't give up hope on Sakurai and his "perfect body."
In Arashi, Sho is the designated rapper, and since "Kotoba yori Daisetsu no Mono," he has personally penned all Arashi's rap lyrics, some of which are pretty sensitive and poetic. His rapping voice is very versatile. He can do the tough-guy rap, where he sounds rough and coarse and full of swagger. He can also do a smoother, more R&B style rap that's less in-your-face. Sometimes, you can catch him rapping closer to his speaking range (like in "Still...") in a more melodic style of rap. And Sho can sound like pure sex when he decides to give us some seductive rap, like in the newest "PARADOX". Whatever style of rap he chooses to do though, 'Sakurap' is one of the highlights of Arashi's music.
Compared to his rapping, Sho's singing is less scintillating and more... safe. His vocal range is not the widest, and he cannot reach powerful high notes like Ohno or Nino. Even though he can rap in very low ranges, he usually cannot sing in those ranges. But when he is in a comfortable pitch, his voice doesn't sound bad. He can pull off the standard pop songs as well as some sweeter sounding numbers like "Kono Mama Motto." But personally, I always look forward to the raps more than the singing in a Sho-solo. His dancing is also not particularly remarkable, because his body is just so stiff! He had trouble doing yoga on one episode of Shukudai-kun and even though Sho has an excellent sense of rhythm and swagger when it comes to dancing, he just does not have the same degree of control over his body as someone like Ohno does. But as I said, he is nothing if not professional, and when he dances, he somehow always manages to look incredibly good even if his technique is not all there. And as a bonus, Sho also plays the piano quite well, having learned it from a young age. On Kouhaku 2011, he played the accompaniment to "Furusato" on a piano that was rescued from the ruins of the earthquake in March and repaired for the stage. His bandmates sang the touching little song. You can often see Sho playing piano aristocratically in the dramas he stars in, like in Yamada Taro Monogatari, or in NazoDi.
|Sho (center) and Arashi in some rather characteristic poses during the 2007 Time Con.|
And to end, I can't resist putting in another graphic just to remind us how adorable of a fail our Keio-boy is.
|Clockise from Top Left: 1) Sakuraiba failing at criss-cross jump rope;|
2) Sho despairing at yoga; 3) Sho frantically running in the white goo
(he lasted about 5 seconds); 4) his god-awful confession scenario.