Happy End (band)

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Happy End
Origin Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Genres Folk rock
Years active 1969–1972
1973 and 1985 (reunion shows)
Labels URC, Bellwood/King
Associated acts Tin Pan Alley, Apryl Fool
Past members Haruomi Hosono
Eiichi Ohtaki
Shigeru Suzuki
Takashi Matsumoto

Happy End (Japanese: はっぴいえんど Hepburn: Happī Endo?) was a Japanese folk rock band, which existed from 1969 to 1972. The band's pioneering avant-garde sound is highly revered and they are considered to be among the most influential artists in Japanese music.[1] They are credited as the first rock act to sing in the Japanese-language and have been called the "Japanese Beatles".[1][2][3] They were ranked by HMV Japan in 2003 as number 4 on their list of the 100 most important Japanese pop acts.[1] In September 2007, Rolling Stone Japan named Kazemachi Roman the greatest Japanese rock album of all time.[4]

The members were Haruomi Hosono, Takashi Matsumoto, Eiichi Ohtaki and Shigeru Suzuki. Hosono and Matsumoto were previously in the short-lived psychedelic rock band Apryl Fool. When Happy End disbanded, Hosono and Suzuki formed Tin Pan Alley with Masataka Matsutoya, Hosono then formed the Yellow Magic Orchestra while Suzuki continued work as a guitarist and solo musician. Matsumoto became a successful lyricist and Ohtaki worked as a songwriter and solo artist, releasing one of Japan's best-selling albums, A Long Vacation in 1981. Ohtaki died in 2013 from a dissecting aneurysm at the age of 65.[5]


In October 1969, Haruomi Hosono and Takashi Matsumoto formed a group named Blue Valentine (ヴァレンタイン・ブルー?) right after their previous band Apryl Fool disbanded. The group changed their name to Happy End in March 1970 and soon after began recording. Their self-titled debut album (written in Japanese as はっぴいえんど) was released in August on the experimental record label URC (Underground Record Club).[2] This album marked an important turning point in Japanese music history, as it sparked what would be known as the "Japanese-language Rock Controversy" (ja:日本語ロック論争 Nihongo Rokku Ronsō). There were highly publicized debates held between prominent figures in the rock industry, most notably the members of Happy End and Yuya Uchida, regarding whether Japanese rock music sung entirely in Japanese was sustainable (previously, almost all popular rock music in Japan was sung in English). The success of Happy End's debut album and their second, Kazemachi Roman released a year later, proved the sustainability of Japanese-language rock in Japan.[6]

For their third album, also titled Happy End (this time written in the Latin Alphabet), they signed with King Records and recorded in 1972 in Los Angeles with Van Dyke Parks producing.[2] Although Hosono later described the work with Parks as "productive," the album sessions were tenuous, and the members of Happy End were disenchanted with their vision of America they had anticipated.[7] A language barrier along with opposition between the Los Angeles studio personnel and Happy End was also apparent, which further frustrated the group.[8] These feelings were conveyed in the closing track "Sayonara America, Sayonara Nippon" (さよならアメリカ さよならニッポン, "Goodbye America, Goodbye Japan"), which received some contributions from Parks and Little Feat guitarist Lowell George.[9] As Matsumoto explained: "We had already given up on Japan, and with [that song], we were saying bye-bye to America too—we weren't going to belong to any place."[7] While the band officially disbanded on December 31, 1972, the album was released in February 1973.[1] They had their last concert on September 21, 1973 titled City -Last Time Around, with a live album of the show released as Live Happy End the following year.

They reunited for a one-off performance at the International Youth Anniversary All Together Now (国際青年年記念 ALL TOGETHER NOW) concert on June 15, 1985, which was released as the live album The Happy End later that same year. In 2003, their song "Kaze wo Atsumete" appeared in the American movie Lost In Translation and on its soundtrack.[10]



Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • Live Happy End (ライブ・はっぴいえんど Raibu Happī Endo, recorded 9/21/1973, released January 15, 1974)
  • The Happy End (recorded 6/15/1985, released September 5, 1985)
  • Happy End Greeeatest Live! On Stage (はっぴいえんど GREEEATEST LIVE! ON STAGE, recorded 4/12/70, 8/7/71, 4/14/71, released July 15, 1986)
  • Happy End Live On Stage (はっぴいえんど LIVE ON STAGE, recorded 8/9/70, 8/21/71, 4/14/71, 8/7/71, released August 25, 1989)


  • City - Happy End Best Album (CITY/はっぴいえんどベスト・アルバム City/Happī Endo Besuto Arubamu, 1973)
  • Singles (シングルス Shingurusu, 1974)
  • Happy End (はっぴいえんど〜HAPPY END, 1993, box set)
  • Happy End Box (はっぴいえんどBOX Happī Endo Box, 2004, box set)
  • Happy End Masterpiece (はっぴいえんどマスターピース Happī Endo Masutāpīsu, 2014, box set)


  • "Juuni Gatsu no Ame no hi" (12月の雨の日, April 1, 1971)
  • "Hana Ichi Monme" (花いちもんめ, December 10, 1971)
  • "Sayonara America Sayonara Nippon" (さよならアメリカさよならニッポン, February 25, 1973)
  • "Ashita Tenki ni Naare" (あしたてんきになあれ, released November 26, 1999)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists - No.4". HMV Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  2. ^ a b c "Happy End". Japrocksampler. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  3. ^ 究極のビートルズ来日賞味法! ビートルズが日本に与えたもの. Oricon (in Japanese). 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  4. ^ "Finally! "The 100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time" Listed". Exclaim!. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  5. ^ "大瀧詠一さん急死 65歳 「幸せな結末」などヒット曲". Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2013-12-31. Archived from the original on 2014-11-23. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  6. ^ TJ Mook Kike! Densetsu no Nihon Rokku 1969-79 TJ MOOK 聴け! 伝説の日本ロック1969-79 [TJ Mook Kike! Legendary Japanese Rock 1969-79]. Takarajima Press. 2004. p. 33. ISBN 4-7966-3862-8. 
  7. ^ a b Bourdaghs, Michael K. (2011-10-18). Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop. Columbia University Press. pp. 176–177. ISBN 978-0-231-53026-2. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  8. ^ Hayward, Philip (1999). Widening the Horizon: Exoticism in Post-War Popular Music. John Libbey Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-86462-047-4. 
  9. ^ Limnious, Michalis (2013-05-22). "Versalite artist Van Dyke Parks talks about the Beats, Horatius, Sinatra, Pythagoras, Ry Cooder; and 60s". Blues.gr. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  10. ^ "Bande originale : Lost in translation". EcranLarge. 2005-08-18. Retrieved 2008-03-23.