Ryuichi Kawamura

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Ryuichi Kawamura
Ryuichi & J 2013.jpg
Ryuichi (center) performing with Luna Sea in Singapore 2013
Background information
Native name 河村 隆一
Also known as ЯK, Rayla
Born (1970-05-20) May 20, 1970 (age 44)
Yamato, Kanagawa, Japan
Genres Rock, pop
Occupations Singer-songwriter, composer, record producer, actor, author, race car driver
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1986–present
Labels Columbia Music Entertainment, Avex Group
Associated acts Luna Sea, Tourbillon
Website www.kawamura-fc.com

Ryuichi Kawamura (河村 隆一 Kawamura Ryūichi?, born May 20, 1970 in Yamato, Kanagawa) is a Japanese singer-songwriter, actor and record producer. He is best known as lead singer of the rock band Luna Sea. After the group disbanded in 2000, Kawamura continued his successful solo career. In 2005 he formed Tourbillon with fellow Luna Sea member Inoran and Hiroaki Hayama. He has recently rejoined Luna Sea, as they reunited in August 2010.

Kawamura's second album Love topped the Oricon chart with sales of around 1,021,000 copies, making him the only male solo artist ever to have an album sell over one million copies within its initial week in Oricon charts history.[1] That same album sold over 2,788,000 copies, therefore it holds the record for best selling male solo album.[2] In 1997 alone, with his mini and full-length albums and four singles (of which "Glass" sold over one million itself), he sold over six million records.

Career[edit]

1989–2000: Luna Sea, Solo debut[edit]

Ryuichi Kawamura started his musical career as vocalist of the bands Cradle and Slaughter, while still in high school, under the name Rayla.[3] On May 6, 1989, he was invited by Inoran to join their band Lunacy.[3] In 1992, hide of X Japan found them on the indie circuit, he eventually got them signed to X Japan co-founder Yoshiki's Extasy Records.[3] They went on to become very successful, having sold more than 10 million certified units in Japan, and are considered one of the most influential bands in the visual kei movement. Ryuichi provided vocals for the B-side version of hide's 1994 song "Scanner".[4] During Luna Sea's temporary break in 1997, Ryuichi started his solo career. Going by his full name, Ryuichi Kawamura, he changed his vocals and music from the powerful rock sound to more of a pop idol sound. That year, he released four singles, one mini-album and his first full album, Love. The album includes his cover version of the song "Namida Iro," which was formerly sung by Japanese female singer Noriko Sakai with his songwriting. Love topped the Japanese Oricon charts with the sales of around 1,021,000 copies, making him the only solo male artist ever to have an album sold over one million copies within its initial week release in Oricon charts history.[1] In total, Love sold over 2,788,000 copies on the Oricon charts.[2] Kawamura later started his own production house titled "RK", and in 1999, he went on to produce many artists including Azumaya Toga, Hideki and Izam.

Following Luna Sea's disbandment in 2000, Kawamura started his first solo tour and created a subsidiary of "RK" intended for the production of film music. Shortly after, he composed music for the film So Faraway. In mid-2001, his fan-club "RKF" (Ryuichi Kawamura Family) opened. Later, Ryuichi released the singles "Shizuka na Yoru wa Futari Iyou" and "Julia". Kawamura started appearing on popular music shows including Music Station and Hey x3. Following the release of the single "Kimi no Mae de Paino wo Hikou", he landed a role in the film Picaresque based on the life of Osamu Dazai.

2002–2006: International tour, Tourbillon[edit]

His first international solo tour came in 2002 when he performed an exclusive concert in Seoul. When he returned to Japan, there were several meet and greet events at Zepp Fukuoka and Zepp Osaka, where he sold special merchandise (including manga he illustrated and figurines, etc.). Later, Kawamura starred as a lead role in the TV Asahi drama series Kowloon de Aimasho and also wrote the ending theme "Sugar Lady".

A special photobook was released in 2003 during his new tour. While putting his album and single releases on pause that year, he went on to produce artists such as Memory Cats and Kiyoshi. In 2004, Kawamura released the single "Spoon" and the album Vanilla, followed by a handful of tours. His fellow Luna Sea's bandmate Inoran was also a guest during his New Year's Eve live.

After taking a short vacation in Europe, Kawamura reunited with Inoran and Hiroaki Hayama to announce the formation of their band Tourbillon in 2005. Their first official concert was held at the Nippon Budokan on July 2 and it received good attendance and reviews. The band would release two albums, Heaven and A Tide of New Era in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In March 2008, Tourbillon's single "Break the Chain" was used as an opening theme of Kamen Rider Kiva.

2006–2008: 10th Anniversary, Chicago on Broadway[edit]

In 2006, Kawamura released his first cover album, titled Evergreen ~Anata no Wasuremono~. He covered songs by artists such as Yutaka Ozaki and Akiko Kobayashi, as well as Luna Sea's "I for You". A year later, he released a second cover album to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his solo career. The covered songs included his original solo works and songs by other classic Japanese artists, such as Dead End, Kenji Sawada, Tetsurō Oda, and Dreams Come True.

On December 24, 2007, Kawamura reunited with Luna Sea for the concert God Bless You ~One Night Dejavu~ at the Tokyo Dome. The band played again at the hide memorial summit on May 4, 2008 along with X Japan, T.M.Revolution, Versailles and others.

On February 3, 2008, Kawamura held a special concert at the Nippon Budokan titled Yuki no Budokan ~70 Stories~ sponsored by Sports Nippon. The show celebrated the 10th anniversary of his solo career where he performed half of every song recorded from each of his six original albums, amounting to a 70-song set. Inoran also appeared to perform with Kawamura during the concert, which lasted four and a half hours. Ryuichi also sang the Japanese National Anthem for the occasional sporting event, including the 7th Grand Prix D1 series and one of the J-League's Kashima Antlers soccer game in March 2008.

In October 2008, Kawamura co-starred in the Broadway musical Chicago, along with Takarazuka stars Yoka Wao and Ryoko Yonekura, in which he played the lawyer Billy Flynn. This event marked the first time ever that a Japanese production of a Broadway music has been performed on Broadway.[5]

2009–2010: Sora, Luna Sea reunion, Debut in Cambodia[edit]

Following an overseas performance in Hong Kong on March 2009, Kawamura released the single "Heroine" on February 4, which was a collaboration with Tetsurō Oda. He then released the album Piano on April 1, which included the environmental-conservation themed single "Midori no Uta".

In July, Kawamura released a photo book called Japanesque. He went on to perform an international tour in Taiwan in late August. On September 30, 2009, he released the single "Brilliant Stars", including a tie-up song with the jewellery brand GemCeree. With a new contract with Avex Group (after leaving Columbia Music Entertainment), Kawamura performed at the Hard na Yaon 2009 concert that same month along with many other artists from the company.

Following the single "Dakishimete" and the album Sora in February 2010, he would co-star in the second Broadway musical Chicago in June. Kawamura also performed the "No Mic, No Speakers Concert #003" tour from August through September, which, as the name suggests, was performed without a microphone or any type of electronic amplification.[6][7] On August 13 he performed at the Jack in the Box 2010 Summery festival.[8] Also in August, he appeared with the other members of Luna Sea at a press conference in Hong Kong, where they officially announced their reunion and their 20th Anniversary World Tour Reboot -to the New Moon-.

On October 17, Kawamura appeared in a television documentary, broadcast on BS Fuji, called Kawamura Ryuichi x Garyuu, in which he traveled to the famous Angkor Wat. Healso participated in South Korean R&B singer Bobby Kim's album My Soul, writing Japanese lyrics for the song "Tsuioku no Kaze".

2011: Breaking the Guinness World Record, Thailand debut[edit]

On January 7, Kawamura announced that he would give a special solo concert at the Nippon Budokan on March 13, 2011. At the concert, titled Genkai no Sono Saki e: 100 no Monogatari ~Epilogue~, he would perform a total of 100 songs over a span of more than 6 hours (back in February 2008, at a concert titled Yuki no Budokan ~70 Stories~, he sang 71 songs over a span of 4 hours at the same venue). However, due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, the concert was postponed. On May 3, he was successful, performing a total of 104 songs within 6 and a half hours and was awarded the Guinness World Record, beating the previous record of 100 songs within 8 hours.[9][10]

Kawamura and his fellow Luna Sea member Sugizo collaborated with the musical group M.o.v.e to provide a theme song for the movie Gakudori. The song was called "Overtakers", was released on March 9, 2011, and featured Kawamura on vocals and Sugizo on guitar. He also released another cover album, The Voice, on March 9 covering hit songs by western artists, including "How Deep is Your Love", "Ave Maria", "Amapola" and "Over The Rainbow".

On April 30, Kawamura held a charity concert in Thailand, titled Ryuichi Kawamura Exclusive One Night Only Charity Concert in Bangkok, in which he performed at the Royal Paragon Hall with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and special guest Pod (lead singer from Thai alternative rock band Modern Dog). Part of the proceeds were donated to the victims of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[11]

On May 29, Kawamura and the rest of Luna Sea gave an interview, at the premier of Luna Sea 3D in Los Angeles at Toho Cinema Roppongi Hills, which was broadcast live on Ustream.tv. They announced a concert at the 30,000-seat Saitama Super Arena titled Luna Sea for Japan A Promise to the Brave on October 22. The profits of the performance went to the Japanese Red Cross to support the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.[12]

Kawamura covered "Beauty and the Beast" for the cover album V-Rock Disney, which was released on September 7, 2011 and features visual kei artists covering Disney songs.[13] His own song "Beat" was covered by Zuck on the compilation Crush! 2 -90's V-Rock Best Hit Cover Songs-, that was released on November 23, 2011 and features current visual kei bands covering songs from bands that were important to the '90s visual kei movement.[14]

2012: Musical Acts/ Tour "Close to You"/ The Voice II[edit]

In April, Kawamura starred in the Legend of Galactic Heroes stage play Chapter 2: Free Planets Alliance Arc as the character Yang Wenli. Between June–July, Ryuichi had been performing Tour 2012: Close to You to celebrate the 15th year anniversary as a solo artist. In addition, on August 8, 2012, a fourth cover album "The Voice II" was released in Japan. The cover includes pop ballads originally sung by female singers which feature Masami Tsuchiya and Ryuichi's Tourbillon bandmate Hiroaki Hayama.

Musical style[edit]

Ryuichi Kawamura is best known for his unique and charismatic vocal ability during his work with Luna Sea. He was inspired both vocally and visually by Morrie, frontman of the influential Japanese metal band Dead End.[15] From the early to mid-90s, his style often included screamed singing during their hard rock songs. It then changed to more traditional pop techniques after starting his solo career. Since 2007, Kawamura has been singing in a more operatic style.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Kawamura was introduced to Kumi Sano (佐野公美?) by a mutual friend in early 2005, and several months later they began dating. Sano had been crowned Miss Nippon in 2002. Although the pair stated that they had no plans for a wedding ceremony or a reception, a representative visited the local city office to register their marriage on January 23, 2006. Kumi gave birth to their first child, a son, on June 18, 2009.[16]

He is good friends with his Luna Sea bandmate Inoran. Together, they are avid car racers. Kawamura also likes boxing and surfing, and says that he plans to open a surfing store once he retires from his singing career.[17]

Achievements and awards[edit]

  • Drama Academy Award - Best Newcomer (Spring 1997)
  • Best Japanese Male Singer (1997)
  • Oricon - Best Selling Male Solo Album - Love released in 1997
  • Guinness World Record - Solo Artist Who Sings 100 Songs In 8 Hours (May 3, 2011)

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Cranberry Soda (June 21, 1997), Oricon Albums Chart Peak Position: 1[18]
    • Sold approximately 724,000 copies[19]
  • Love (November 22, 1997) 1[18]
    • 1998 4# yearly best-selling album with 2,798,170 copies sold[20]
  • Shinai ~Only One~ (深愛 〜only one〜?) (December 19, 2001) 5[18]
  • Ningen Shikkaku (人間失格?) (July 17, 2002) 18[18]
  • Very Best of Songs... (September 26, 2002) 8[18]
  • Dear... (March 24, 2004) 53[18]
  • Vanilla (April 7, 2004) 12[18]
  • Orange (June 20, 2007) 18[18]
  • Piano (January 4, 2009) 17[18]
  • Sora (February 24, 2010) 21[18]
  • Fantasia (August 31, 2011) 20[18]
  • Life (September 11, 2013) 16[18]

Cover albums[edit]

  • Evergreen ~Anata no Wasuremono~ (evergreen 〜あなたの忘れ物〜?) (May 24, 2006) 10[18]
  • Evergreen ~Anniversary Edition~ (December 5, 2007) 23[18]
  • The Voice (March 9, 2011) 34[18]
  • The Voice 2 (August 8, 2012) 40[18]

Singles[edit]

  • "I Love You/Cielo" (February 21, 1997), Oricon Singles Chart Peak Position: 4[21]
    • 25# yearly best-selling single with 753,640 copies sold[22]
  • "Glass" (April 23, 1997) 2[21]
    • 15# yearly best-selling single with 1,011,350 copies sold[22]
  • "Beat/Ki•se•ki" (July 18, 1997) 4[21]
    • 21# yearly best-selling single with 778,470 copies sold[22]
  • "Love is/Xyz" (October 15, 1997) 4[21]
    • 44# yearly best-selling single with 617,940 copies sold[22]
  • "Ne" (April 25, 2001) 5[21]
  • "Shizukana Yoru wa Futari de Iyō" (静かな夜は二人でいよう?) (June 21, 2001) 6[21]
  • "Julia" (ジュリア?) (August 22, 2001) 6[21]
  • "Kimi no Mae de Piano wo Hikō" (君の前でピアノを弾こう?) (October 24, 2001) 9[21]
  • "Koi wo Shiyō yo" (恋をしようよ?) (November 21, 2001) 18[21]
  • "Sugar Lady" (April 24, 2002) 12[21]
  • "F114B" (March 3, 2004, official fan club members only)
  • "Spoon/Missing You" (March 3, 2004) 9[21]
  • "Dare no tame demo naku Kimi ni..." (誰のためでもなく君に...?) (April 18, 2007) 15[21]
  • "Once Again" (October 31, 2007) 27[21]
  • "Midori no Uta" (緑の詩?) (2008, available only at Ryuichi's official website)
  • "Heroine" (ヒロイン?) (February 4, 2009) 15[21]
  • "Brilliant Stars" (September 30, 2009) 9[21]
  • "Dakishimete" (抱きしめて?) (January 20, 2010) 17[21]
  • "Yo ga Yonara..." (July 20, 2011) 29[21]
  • "Nanairo" (七色?) (May 29, 2013) 26[21]

Home videos[edit]

  • Time of Legend 1997~2002, Oricon DVDs Chart Peak Position: 20[25]
  • Ryuichi Kawamura at Nippon Budokan "70 no Monogatari" Yuki no Budokan (May 16, 2008)
  • Ryuichi Kawamura x Garyu -Dai Issho Hibiki- (December 15, 2010)
  • Ryuichi Kawamura x Garyu -Dai Issho Private- (December 15, 2010)
  • No Mic, No Speakers Concert Sekai Isan Angkor Isekigun vs Ryuichi Kawamura Kamigami no Tasogare (May 28, 2011) 138[25]
  • Genkai no Sono Saki e 100 no Monogatari ~Epilogue~ (2011)

Books[edit]

  • Wave -Ryuichi Kawamura-
  • 1997 Ryuichi Kawamura ~Natural~ (January 30, 1998)
  • Diamond and Stones
  • Ryuichi Kawamura Works "Your Tears are like Silver" (poem book)
  • I Looked up at the Blue Sky (picture book)
  • Deai ~Kono Netsu ga Same Teshimau Mae ni~ (novel)
  • Glass Melody (novel)
  • Dakishimete (February 10, 2009, novel co-written with Izumi Tadashi)
  • Voices (December 24, 2010, autobiography)

Filmography[edit]

Movies[edit]

  • Buraikan
  • Picaresque Ningen Shikkaku (ピカレスク 人間失格?) (2002)

TV dramas[edit]

  • Futari (ふたり?) (1997)
  • Narita Rikon (成田離婚?) (1997)
  • Kowloon de Aimashou (九龍で会いましょう?) (2001)
  • Number One (ナンバーワン?) (2001)
  • Food Fight Hong Kong Special Edition (2001)
  • "Hakui no Namida" (白衣のなみだ?) (2013)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "平井堅ベスト盤が首位! 初動売上は男性ソロ史上3番目の大ヒット!" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2005-11-29. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  2. ^ a b "平井堅、男性ソロ史上3人目の快挙!べスト盤が200万枚突破!" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-04-10. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  3. ^ a b c "LUNA SEA: God Bless You". JRock Revolution. 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  4. ^ "TELL ME". amazon.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  5. ^ http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/ryoko-yonekura-kicks-off-musical-chicago
  6. ^ http://www.jame-world.com/us/news-61559-ryuichi-kawamura-new-album.html
  7. ^ "Episode 155: Kawamura - Beautiful skin at every age!!". Musicjapanplus. 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  8. ^ http://www.musicjapanplus.jp/news/1/5376/jack-in-the-box-2010-summer-and-the-performing-artists-are-increasing/
  9. ^ "Kawamura Ryuichi makes his mark in the Guinness World Records!". tokyohive.com. 2011-05-08. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  10. ^ "Kawamura Ryuichi Breaks World Record". jame-world.com. 2011-05-08. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  11. ^ "Kawamura Ryuichi Breaks World Record And Performs In Thailand". jpopasia.com. 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  12. ^ "LUNA SEA、10月に復興支援ライブ開催". eiga.com (in Japanese). 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  13. ^ "Visual kei bands to take on Disney songs for ‘V-ROCK Disney’!". tokyohive.com. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  14. ^ "Aoi, Moran, and more to release ’90s Visual Kei cover album". tokyohive.com. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  15. ^ "DEAD END JaME Profile". jame-world.com. 2011-06-013. 
  16. ^ "河村隆一に第1子男児誕生「彼の夢の始まりに感謝」". Oricon (in Japanese). 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  17. ^ http://www.japan-zone.com/news/archives/2006_01.shtml
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "河村隆一のアルバム売り上げランキング". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  19. ^ "河村隆一" (in Japanese). biglobe.ne.jp. Retrieved 2004-07-16. 
  20. ^ "What's This Year - Music 1998" (in Japanese). interq.or.jp. Retrieved 2004-07-16. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "河村隆一のシングル売り上げランキング". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-01-22. 
  22. ^ a b c d "What's This Year - Music 1997" (in Japanese). interq.or.jp. Retrieved 2004-07-16. 
  23. ^ ustar (2013-03-30). "BoA and Kawamura Ryuichi to sing theme songs for daytime drama, ‘Hakui no Namida’". tokyohive. 6Theory Media, LLC. Retrieved 2013-03-30. 
  24. ^ "BoA、河村隆一がフジ昼ドラ「白衣のなみだ」テーマ曲担当". Natalie (in Japanese). Natasha, Inc. 2013-03-29. Retrieved 2013-03-30. 
  25. ^ a b "河村隆一のDVD売り上げランキング". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-01-22. 

External links[edit]