Tokyo Jihen

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Tokyo Jihen
TokyoJihen-allmembers.jpg
A promotional photo from Hard Disk (2013) featuring all seven members of the band: (from left) HZM, Ukigumo, Seiji Kameda, Ringo Sheena, Ichiyo Izawa, Mikio Hirama and Toshiki Hata.
Background information
Also known as Tokyo Incidents
Origin Japan
Genres Rock, pop
Years active July 2003, September 2004 – February 2012
Labels EMI Music Japan (distributor)/Virgin Music (label)
(2004–2012)
Associated acts Uni Inoue (audio engineer/record producer)
Website www.tokyojihen.com
Members Ringo Sheena
Seiji Kameda
Toshiki Hata
Ichiyō Izawa
Ukigumo
Past members H Zetto M
Mikio Hirama

Tokyo Jihen or Tokyo Incidents (東京事変 Tōkyō Jihen?) was a Japanese band formed by Ringo Sheena (椎名 林檎?, Shiina Ringo), after leaving her solo career. The band's debut single "Gunjō Biyori" was released in September 2004.

History[edit]

Origins (2003)[edit]

Tokyo Jihen started as Ringo Sheena's backing band at first for her last concert tour before ending the first half of her solo career. Sheena was contemplating working with a band while working on her last solo album, Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana. She began looking for members of her backing band to support her solo tour "Sugoroku Ecstasy" in the Autumn of 2003. The tour band was introduced as Tokyo Jihen during the tour for the first time, featuring guitarist Hirama, pianist H ZETT M, drummer Hata, and familiar bassist Kameda. The musicians she selected became the core of what would become Tokyo Jihen.

After the tour, she announced that she would stop her solo career to join "Tokyo Jihen" as a full-fledged member.

"Phase 1" era and its end (2004–2005)[edit]

On May 31, 2004, the members of the Tokyo Jihen declared that they worked as a permanent band. On July 24, they appeared in the presence of fans at the live 0724 Yamabikari for the first time. They played some live sets during that year's Fuji Rock Festival, and made their major debut with the single "Gunjō Biyori" on September 8. Tokyo Jihen released one album and two singles, and held their first concert tour -Tokyo Jihen live tour 2005 "dynamite!"-.

On July 1, 2005, it was announced during the tour that keyboardist H ZETT M and guitarist Mikio Hirama would leave Tokyo Jihen. H ZETT M returned to his duties as pianist for PE'Z, and Hirama went back to being a solo singer. It was decided that they would withdraw from the band before the "dynamite!" tour started.

After the departure of the band's former guitarist and keyboardist, Sheena began a search for new members. She was going to have at least a keyboard player join because two people left the band at the same time. H ZETT M recommended his friend and former bandmate, Keitaro Izawa, as a substitute for him to Sheena, but she began visiting music clubs to look for other keyboardists.[1] In the end she found no one who was better than Izawa, and Sheena decided to invite him to join. He assumed the stage name of Ichiyō Izawa during his time with the band.

The search for a new guitarist proved more difficult. Sheena approached several guitarists as potential members,[2] but was turned down by all of them, possibly because they disliked the idea of being considered her "backing band".[citation needed] At worst, she planned to choose a different guitarist each time without having a regular guitarist. However, when the other members listened to the first Tokyo Jihen album "Kyōiku" demos, the situation changed. All of them were pleased with the demo session guitarist and asked Sheena his name. This guitarist was Ryosuke Nagaoka, who assumed the stage name of Ukigumo after joining Tokyo Jihen. Sheena and Ukigumo had been friends since her days as a soloist. He turned down the offer to join Tokyo Jihen at first, but finally accepted just before recording began for "Adult."

With so many members replaced, Sheena considered changing the name of the band, but decided against it in the end.

In September 2005, keyboardist Ichiyō Izawa and guitarist Ukigumo formally joined Tokyo Jihen. The lineup including the former members subsequently came to be called Dai-Ikki (第一期 Phase 1?), with the current one referred to as Dai-Niki (第二期 Phase 2?).

Beginning of "Phase 2" (2006–2007)[edit]

The band's second album "Adult", released on January 25, 2006, went to number one on the Oricon charts, a first for the band. They held two concerts, entitled "DOMESTIC!" Virgin LINE, at Nippon Budokan Hall and Osaka-jo Hall in February as the new members debut. A nationwide tour, "DOMESTIC!" Just can't help it followed later the same year.

In the latter half of 2006, Sheena produced the film score of the movie "Sakuran", on which three of the other four bandmembers (excluding Hata, who had broken his leg) collaborated.

Following the 2007 release of two singles, "O.S.C.A." and "Killer-tune", and an album, Variety, the first release not containing any compositions by Sheena, they embarked on the concert tour Tokyo Jihen live tour 2007 Spa & Treatment to promote the album.

Members' activities outside Tokyo Jihen (2008–2009)[edit]

The music video for "Killer-tune" won the Best Technical Works Video category in the March 15, 2008 Space Shower Music Video Awards 08 by Space Shower TV.

As 2008 marked the 10th anniversary of Sheena's professional debut, she resumed solo activities as "Ringo Sheena" for the first time since the formation of Tokyo Jihen. She participated in the summer Rising Sun Rock Festival both as a soloist and as a member of Tokyo Jihen. The activity of Tokyo Jihen was thus restricted during this period.

In 2009, Sheena continued her solo activity from the previous year with the release of a new solo album, her first since 2003's Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana, in June. During the same period, Ukigumo and Izawa resumed activities with their respective bands. Kameda returned to his work as a producer, overseeing several top ten releases, and Hata participated in the recording and subsequent tour for Fujifabric's new album. Sheena, Ukigumo, and Izawa were all involved in the production of Rie Tomosaka's album Toridori the same year. Ukigumo and Izawa joined Tomosaka's promotional tour as part of her backing band.

On May 25, 2009, it was announced that Izawa had joined "The Hiatus", a new band formed by former Ellegarden member Takeshi Hosomi. They defined The Hiatus as "a project of music, arts, and depicters" on the band's official site. Izawa was listed as a tour member on the site, and took part in their Trash We'd Love Tour 2009. Izawa also held some concerts with Hosomi as "Hosomi Ichiyō" (細美一葉?) from October to December.

On December 2, 2009, Tokyo Jihen released the single "Nōdōteki Sanpunkan", their first in two years, and resumed their activity as a band full-time. They appeared as part of the lineup of the December 30, 2009 Countdown Japan 09/10.

Final years and dissolution (2010–2012)[edit]

The fourth album Sports, released on February 24, 2010 won the 1st place in Oricon chart after an interval of four years. The nationwide tour Tokyo Incident live tour 2010 UltraC started in March.

The fifth album Dai Hakken was released on June 29, 2011, and the nationwide tour Tokyo Incident live tour 2011 Discovery started in September 30.

On January 11, 2012, Ringo Sheena announced their break up on their official site. Their last original release, a mini-album entitled "Color Bars", was released on January 18, 2012. A live best of album, "Tokyo Collection", and a concert DVD and Blu-ray release of their Discovery Tour went on sale on February 15th. Tokyo Jihen's embarked on a final tour, entitled Domestique Bon Voyage, which included Yokohama Arena (February 14–15), Osaka-jo Hall (February 21–22), and Tokyo's Nippon Budokan (February 28–29).

The band officially dissolved on February 29, 2012, after their sold-out final Budokan concert.[3] On June 15, an announcement on Sheena's official site, Kronekodow, revealed that Tokyo Jihen would release one final album, Shinyawaku (The Edge of Late Night), and DVD/Blu-ray video, Chin Play Kou Play (Strange Plays and Great Plays) in August of that year. The album, a collection of B-sides, included the previously unreleased-on-CD "Handsome Sugite" and one new song, "Tadaranu Kankei". The video contained highlights from the band's best live performances along with festival appearances and rare material.

Members[edit]

Phase 2 members[edit]

Ringo Sheena (椎名 林檎 Shiina Ringo?)

Sheena is an acclaimed singer-songwriter who has enjoyed enormous popularity since her debut at the age of 18.
She is the founder and the leader of the group, and initially wrote almost all their songs, but later shared songwriting duties with the other bandmembers.

Seiji Kameda (亀田 誠治 Kameda Seiji?)

Kameda is a music producer and music arranger for many Japanese musicians.
Kameda is also a famous session bassist. He participates in many musicians' recording, or plays a bass as a member of various solo singers' backing band. He is a bassist of Bank Band since 2005.
Kameda knew Ringo Sheena before her debut, and he has supported her since then. Ringo Sheena calls him "Shisho", meaning master or teacher. He rose to fame along with her and became a famous producer, but he concentrates on playing a bass guitar in Tokyo Jihen.
Musicians he has produced include Angela Aki, Yui Aragaki, Ayaka, Chara, Chatmonchy, Do As Infinity, Elephant Kashimashi, Flow, Fujifabric, Ayaka Hirahara, Ken Hirai, Ikimono-gakari, Juju, Nico Touches the Walls, Plastic Tree, Shota Shimizu, Spitz, Shikao Suga, Hiroshi Takano, The Boom, Λucifer, and Wise.

Toshiki Hata (刄田 綴色 Hata Toshiki?)

  • Active: 2003–2012
  • Instruments: Drums, Percussion
  • Real name: Toshiki Hata (畑 利樹 Hata Toshiki?)
Hata had drummed as session musician and tour musician for various artists, including Mika Nakashima (2002, 2004, 2005), Dreams Come True (2008 in recording), and Fujifabric (2009). He was also a member of a band headed by Junpei Shiina (椎名 純平 Shiina Junpei?), Sheena's elder brother.
Hata frequently plays as a support member of his former band scoop, as well as forming the band kotoho (コトホ?) with Hideaki Yamazaki, another ex-scoop member and current bassist for School Food Punishment).

Ukigumo (浮雲 The Drifting Cloud?)

  • Active: 2005–2012
  • Instruments: Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Rapping
  • Real name: Ryosuke Nagaoka (長岡 亮介 Nagaoka Ryosuke?)
Ukigumo is an old friend of Sheena's. He has also played music with Junpei Shiina before, as well as Hata and Tabu Zombie of Soil & "Pimp" Sessions; he also played on Sheena's fourth solo album, Sanmon Gossip. He gave Sheena advice when the former members of Tokyo Jihen left the band.
He has his own band, Petrolz (ペトロールズ?).

Ichiyō Izawa (伊澤 一葉 Izawa Ichiyō?)

  • Active: 2005–2012
  • Instruments: Piano, Electronic keyboards, Electric guitar, Background Vocals
  • Real name: Keitaro Izawa (伊澤 啓太郎 Izawa Keitaro?)
Izawa and former Tokyo Jihen pianist HZM are alumni of the Kunitachi College of Music, and have been in a band together before.
He has his own band, Appa (あっぱ?), and has more recently played with the band "the HIATUS" as a tour member.

Phase 1 members[edit]

HZM (H是都M H ZETT M?)

  • Active: 2003–2005
  • Instruments: Piano, Electronic keyboards, Background Vocals
  • Real name: Masayuki Hiizumi (ヒイズミ マサユ機 Hiizumi Masayuki?)
HZM is a core member of the Japanese instrumental jazz band "PE'Z", which made their major debut before the formation of Tokyo Jihen.
After the release of Tokyo Jihen's first album, he decided to leave to devote himself to PE'Z full-time.

Mikio Hirama (ヒラマ ミキオ (晝海 幹音) Hirama Mikio?)

  • Active: 2003–2005
  • Instruments: Guitars, Background Vocals
  • Real name: Mikio Hirama (平間 幹央 Hirama Mikio?)
  • Nickname: Micky
Hirama had released two mini-albums on indie labels as a solo musician, and was also was in the band "peppermints kiss cafe" as a guitarist at the time he joined Tokyo Jihen.
Sheena had met him before at an audition, and subsequently searched for him in hopes of adding him to the band.
After the release of Tokyo Jihen's first album, he decided to return to his career as a solo musician.

Timeline[edit]

Producers[edit]

Uni Inoue (井上 雨迩 Inoue Uni?)

Inoue has produced Sheena's works all the time since her second album. Sheena calls him "the sixth member".

Naming of members[edit]

The real names of Hirama and Hata are "平間 幹央" and "畑 利樹" respectively, but, Ringo Sheena gave them stage names, using Kanji which is not usually used for their names, but as they are the phonetic equivalent, the pronunciation is not changed. Since Ryosuke Nagaoka always drifted unsteadily and nobody knew where he would go, Sheena named Nagaoka "Ukigumo" which means the drifting cloud. Sheena planned to give Keitaro Izawa a stage name, but he refused and chose one for himself, Ichiyō Izawa.

Music production[edit]

Sheena and Izawa write a musical score. Kameda takes various means, recording a humming and using musical instruments or the PC. Since Ukigumo cannot write a score, Izawa or Sheena (mainly Izawa) copies down his tune in the studio.

Hata stubbornly kept refusing to write music, even declining to write lyrics when Sheena asked him to. However, he finally changed his mind.

Since Ukigumo writes music without considering a song, it is hard for Sheena to put the words to his music. That's why he often writes lyrics by himself.

List of Tokyo Jihen concert tours[edit]

Concert tours[edit]

Year Title Duration Number
of
Performances
Number
of
Venues
Promoting album Release format(s)
2005 Tokyo Jihen live tour 2005 "dynamite!" January 17 – February 16 14 10 Kyōiku Dynamite in & Dynamite out (DVD)
2006 Tokyo Jihen live tour 2005 "DOMESTIC!" Virgin LINE February 19 & February 21 2 2[4] Adult Broadcast on SKY PerfecTV! Fuji TV 721
Tokyo Jihen live tour 2005 "DOMESTIC!" Just can't help it. April 7 – May 30 21 17 Just can't help it. (DVD)
2007 Tokyo Jihen live tour 2007 "Spa & Treatment" October 18 – November 21 14 7 Variety Broadcast on SKY PerfecTV! Fuji TV 721,
Spa & Treatment (DVD)
2010 Tokyo Jihen live tour 2010 "Ultra C"[5] March 26 – May 23 22 18 Sports Ultra C (DVD, Blu-ray)
2011 Tokyo Jihen live tour 2011 "Discovery" September 30 – December 7 26 20 Dai Hakken Discovery (DVD, Blu-ray)
2012 Tokyo Jihen live tour 2012 "Domestique Bon Voyage" February 14 – February 29 6 3 All works Nationwide movie theater simulcast of the 2/29 finale concert (DVD, Blu-ray)[3]

Notable live performances[edit]

Year Title Dates Venues Notes
2004 Fuji Rock Festival ’04 July 30 Naeba Ski Resort (Yuzawa, Niigata)
Sunset Live 2004 September 3 Keya Campsite (Itoshima, Fukuoka) Collaborated with SOIL&"PIMP"SESSIONS.
2006 Society Of The Citizens vol.1 July 2 Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall (Hibiya Park, Chiyoda, Tokyo) The organizer: Tokyo Jihen. Yasuo Sano(佐野康夫) played the drums in place of Toshiki Hata who broke a bone.
Countdown Japan 06/07 -WEST- December 31 Intex Osaka (Suminoe-ku, Osaka)
2008 Rising Sun Rock Festival 2008 in EZO August 15 & August 16 at the Tarukawa Wharf Outdoors Specially Built Stage near the Ishikari Bay New Port of Otaru, Hokkaido Ringo Sheena appeared as solo on August 16.
Society Of The Citizens vol.2 August 23 & August 24 JCB Hall (Tokyo Dome City in Bunkyo, Tokyo) The organizer: Tokyo Jihen.
2009 Countdown Japan 09/10 December 30 Makuhari Messe (Chiba, Chiba)
2010 EMI Rocks November 6 Saitama Super Arena (Saitama, Saitama) Broadcast on SKY PerfecTV! Fuji TV NEXT
2011 TV Asahi Dream Festival 2011 September 24 Nippon Budokan (Chiyoda, Tokyo)
2012 EMI Rocks 2012 February 19 Saitama Super Arena (Saitama, Saitama)

Discography[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ She found Kiyoshi Hasegawa (長谷川 きよし Hasegawa Kiyoshi?) at a certain club at the time. His songs were in her mother's record collection, and she also liked them. The two of them would play together taking advantage of this opportunity.
  2. ^ Sheena said during the "Just can't help it" tour that she invited Tomotaka Imamichi (いまみち ともたか Imamichi Tomotaka?) of BARBEE BOYS, but he declined the offer.
  3. ^ a b After a reported 660,000 applicants for tickets to the tour, approximately 60 times the seating capacity of the Nippon Budokan, it was decided that the final concert would be simulcast live in 156 movie theaters across Japan, as well as in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
  4. ^ On February 19 in Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, on February 21 in Osaka-jo Hall in Osaka.
  5. ^ Ultra C is a word coined by a Japanese play-by-play announcer covering the artistic gymnastics events at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. It denotes a difficulty exceeding the score of C, the highest score at the time.

External links[edit]