Monday, May 5, 2014

Correction about Nino's Family Background in the Ninomiya Member Post

So you were probably redirected here from the note in the Ninomiya Member Post regarding my error about his family background. I had previously written that Nino came from a single parent family, growing up with his mother and older sister "on the wrong side of the tracks," implying that he was from a less wealthy background. Someone kindly commented and brought to my attention that there is no definitive proof out there to suggest any of these things.

So I am extremely sorry about any false rumors I have been helping to spread around the internet. I know that the Nino post is one of the most-viewed posts on my blog, so I can only hope that everyone who was misinformed will click back here and read this correction.

To set all your minds at ease, I will assure you that when I write anecdotes or facts about our five boys, I generally know or have a memory of obtaining such information from a first-hand source like an interview or a show where the information comes from either the members themselves or other celebrities who know them. In this case, I remembered reading a magazine translation where Arashi reminisced on what their first days as a Johnny's Jr were like and that's where I got the tidbit about Nino feeling uncomfortable about being poor. But because of my sloppiness (of course), I now cannot find this translation again. Which really teaches me a lesson. So I have resolved to be more principled about internet misinformation, especially in the English J-pop fandom where first hand sources are not always readily available.

So if there is a fact or something that you read in this blog and are curious or dubious about, please feel free to leave a comment (you can comment anonymously even if you don't have a blogger account so anyone can comment!) to ask me about it and I will gladly provide whatever sources I used to get at that fact. And if I can't come up with a first-hand source, I will remove the offending fact and post a correction. Fair enough?

Now onto the details about Nino's family background... (honestly, I don't even care that much for probing into his family background, but I feel like I owe it to you all to do my research extra-properly since I misled you all before).

Right now, I'll just say that Nino doesn't talk about this matter very much, and to be honest, it's really none of our business. From my googling/LJing/Tumblring of the English-speaking fandom, I've determined so far that neither Nino nor anyone who knows him has ever stated that his parents are divorced or that he is estranged from his father or that he grew up poor. All I know about his family  for sure is the following:

He has an older sister and lived with his mother growing up (this is stated/implied in many of Arashi's shows, interviews, radio talks etc. so I won't bother posting a source since it's accepted). Whether his father lived with them is not stated.

In this magazine translation by Huxley, Nino (who was then still a Jr.) says that when his family gathers around, he's the only male around. I guess that implies that his father is not present at such gatherings, which suggests some estrangement of his father from the rest of the family. But still, estrangement does not equal divorce.

In this other magazine translation also by Huxley, Aiba (who was then still a Jr. also) actually says that he has visited Nino's house and met Nino's father. Aiba was surprised at how young Ninomiya Sr. was. So this kind of contradicts what Nino says himself in the first source, since Nino is obviously not the only male in his family! But then, who knows the full details of Nino's family life? There could obviously be many possible situations that accommodate both Nino and Aiba's accounts.

In the 2007.03.08 episode of 食わず嫌い, on which Nino guested, he talks about his family owning a windshield wiper factory, and says that on the day he was born, his Ojiisan (I don't know if that means maternal or paternal grandfather, but knowing the patriarchal Japanese culture, I'm guessing paternal) wrote a will that named Nino the heir of the factory. On the show, Nino ate an eggplant dish and remarked that it tasted like something he used to eat at the factory as a child. Now I won't pretend to know how much a windshield wiper manufacturer makes; it probably depends on the market, too, but I just thought I'd include this tidbit since it does shed some light on his family's financial situation, and if the Ojiisan Nino mentioned is the paternal grandfather, then obviously Nino had spent at least part of his childhood with the paternal side of his family. 

And then, there's Nino's famous 10000-word interview from Arashigoto, translated by say_it_again, where he talks quite in depth about his childhood and junior days. He touches on some pretty personal stuff, like being bullied and antisocial in elementary school, but he doesn't say anything about his father. (note: the link is to another LJ account who had posted this translation because say_it_again's account has a broken link for the part where he talks about his unsociable childhood. If you do want to check out say_it_again's account anyway, it's here; I like to credit/link to original translators/scanners whenever possible)

Thanks to bouncer78 for pointing out that in Ep. 31 of Mago Mago Arashi (aired 2005.11.26), around the 8:25 mark, Nino talks about how he used to poor and would eat scented/flavored tissue papers as food. The exact phrase he used was "昔, 本当にお金なくてね." My Japanese is not great, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that this could be taken many different ways. He uses "mukashi," which just means "in the past," so we can't really conclude that he was talking about his childhood when he made this statement about being poor. Also, as bouncer78 also pointed out, this was in a pretty informal environment, so Nino could totally just have been trolling everyone, too.

Thanks also to Jana Lott for telling us about the 2004.07.10 episode of Ai no Apron (愛のエプロン), on which Nino talked about his family. I haven't actually watched it because I couldn't find it, but I just thought I would list this as a source for anyone who is interested. Jana also provided this link to a tumblr post in which some fans talk about Nino's family based on the speculations from some Japanese forums (they link to those Japanese forum posts, too). Not a first-hand source, but it might be of some interest to some.

So far, this is all I have about Nino and his family background. Hope that clarifies some things for you. 

Most importantly though, I beg you to remember that there is no proof, as far as I can see, of what I had written before (i.e. Nino being from a poor single-parent home), so please be disabused of that! You can form whatever speculations or conclusions about this as you please. I think my job as a clarifier ends with the supplying of these raw sources. 

Lastly, my research into this matter was cursory, so if you have been active in the fandom for longer than me or you happen to know of other sources that shed some light onto Nino's family background, please let me know in the comments below so this matter can be clarified. 

Hontini sumimasen deshita! I will note my sources better in the future! If you see any more mistakes in any of my posts, please do not hesitate to let me know!

ETA: @lysanderpuck from Twitter has kindly provided this informal fan discussion concerning Nino's relationship with his father. No first-hand sources, but an interesting read if you're THAT obsessed with this topic. 


  1. Thanks for the corrections and the links. Love your sense of responsibility. Please keep up the good work. :)

    1. I guess I just feel the need to be more responsible than usual in this fandom since so many international fans depend on second hand sources like this blog for their Arashi information. Thanks for your support <3

  2. During an ep of mago mago rowing club saga, he said that he ate scented tissue paper when he was a kid. He said something along the line that his family didn't really have money growing up and he ate those paper because he thought it smell nice. I don't really remember the exact detail. I really need to dig that ep to confirm whether he did say that. But this is Nino we're talking about. He could be trolling us. Ohno (or J?) once said Nino is like a house full of mirror. Just when you thought you understand him, he dodged and do the exact opposite things. I always have this feeling that Nino calculated people's expectations and reactions and react according to that. So instead of showing empathy because he genuinely feels that way, he might do it because people expect him to be one. Despite that, I don't think he's a jerk. Maybe just a cold and closed human being XD

    Sorry for my long rant. I like to discuss these sort of things. It's intriguing. Hope you don't mind :)

    1. Don't worry about your "long rant." I don't even think of it as a rant, just a very detailed comment haha ;-)

      J was the one who said Nino was a house of mirrors in a Non-no interview from March 2009 ( It's on Post #6, you have to scroll down a bit to see it). That whole interview is actually pretty fun to read, so I've posted the link to a translation for you hehe, if you haven't already read it, that is.

      I don't actually remember that scene with the scented paper remark. Ah, but then again, it's been a while since I've watched the rowing club. It'd be great if you could let me know which episode that was from, and I'll add this little detail to this post haha. Nino really does present so many different faces to the public! It is insanely hard to keep track of these things! After reading his 10000 word interview though, I can kind of see why he might be colder and more closed off than his band mates. It makes me feel for him *heart tingles*

    2. He was bullied a lot when he was kid so I think that was one of the reasons for his coldness towards other people.

      Anyway, I checked the MAA rowing club. It's from ep 31

    3. I can understand the being cold due to bullying thing. Poor Neen <3
      Thanks for the MMA info. I'll update this post as needed :)

  3. You may want to look at the July 10th 2004 Ai no Apron, it's the most I've ever seen Nino's parents mentioned around him. They talk about the two of them being cooks and teachers for the Hattori Academy. Additionally one of the cooks mentions Nino's father being his senpai.

    There's also this post ( on tumblr that talks about what few things have been said about the situation with his father.

    1. Ah thank you so much!! I'll check that out and update this post as necessary. I have never come across this show in my Arashi obsession yet so it's much appreciated!!

  4. Probably not poor, but let's analyze ehehehehe I love to analyze them buahahha

    His parent divorced. He lived w his mother n sister.
    Probably, at that time, when they divorced his mother is a single mother who had have to worked and financed all of them. which for a child, seeing your mother worked very hard to raise you and your sister alone, must be something that was very very painful.
    He might feel, they're a bit 'poor' bcoz of that.
    And for a child as young and sensitive as him (who raised by women), this might lead to something called -uncomfortable' situation. Maybe, he did feel embarrassed. There's nothing wrong with that, right? it's normal. Even I felt that way, i my own problem when I was a child.

    After that, they lived with her mother's parents. His grandparents (from mother's side) is/was wealthy, a factory n all. She moved with her parents, the reason could anything, but in her case, I think we can imagine it.

    And in those kind of situation, it's a no wonder he got bullied.
    BUT, it's also a wonder the way he grew up (with all bully n all), how his kindness and bravery're still intact and grew stronger together with his loneliness ( T T ).

    I think we can say, it all depends on the person himself and people around you.

    Please forgive me, if I sounded a bit "boasting" ehehehe, I do Love boasting about them among Arashi fans ehehehe.

    1. So apparently, Nino's parents are actually not divorced. It seems that his father just happened to be away a lot for work, so that's why he never got to see him very often.

      I can't comment much on his financial situation (since I really don't know much), but I agree that not having a father figure around constantly may have contributed to his sensitive nature (because there is a period in childhood development where we all just want to fit in with everyone else and when something in life is not 'normal,' we feel ashamed or bad about it).

      I still don't understand why he got bullied. It sounds like maybe it was just because of his withdrawn personality and not because of his family. But either way, it doesn't sound too pleasant, and I'm glad Nino grew out of that and managed to find his own group of friends in the end =D

  5. Thank you for being responsible and a responsible fan. It's dearly appreciated since as also an International fan, I base all my findings on the band on other Arashians, particularly those who are far more advance at translating Japanese than me. I only got into the fandom last year and most of the information I find around the internet (which is everywhere) often contradicts each other or is very confusing (hence I take everything with a pinch of salt).

    Thanks for all the shares ^^ I was mainly baited by a number of people: Shun, Matsumoto and Ikuta Toma. I normally shorten it to Jun/Mao comb ;P

    1. Thank you for the encouragement <3 It always makes me glad to know that others out there find the information I provide useful. Being an Arashi fan, it is immensely useful to have at least a basic grasp of Japanese, because there are so many magazine interviews, little news WS clips, concert MC's and fan reports/tweets that go untranslated simply because there's just such a high volume of Arashi media out there. I'm sure that if you immerse yourself in fandom long enough, you'll get a slight grasp of the language and then it'll be easier to cross check the sources yourself, but it does take a lot of effort to get past that steep initial learning curve! And of course, not everyone has the time to learn a whole new language :( So I guess we're lucky that there are so many other fans out there who translate and share stuff in reliable English <33

      Thanks for reading <33

  6. I think it has also been mentioned time and again in their old shows that his dad was a Japanese chef. I can't remember all the sources but the one that I recalled rather vividly was during Mago Mago Arashi where Nino had to wear a sushi chef outfit. (maybe the SP where they went around distributing tuna sashimi to the broadcasting station staff?) And when he complained about it, Aiba(?) explained that it's because of his dad's job...