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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Years active1991–2000, 2011–present
MembersAkihiro Nanba
Ken Yokoyama
Past membersAtsuhiko Matsumoto
Akira Tsuneoka

Hi-Standard (stylized as Hi-STANDARD) is a Japanese punk rock band formed in 1991 by bassist and lead vocalist Akihiro Nanba, guitarist and vocalist Ken Yokoyama, and drummer Akira Tsuneoka. The release Making the Road sparked sold-out Japan shows and U.S./European tours with punk bands such as NOFX, No Use for a Name, and Wizo. Although the members of Hi-Standard are Japanese, all of their major releases are sung in English. Tsuneoka died in February 2023, with Nanba and Yokoyama continuing the band as a two-piece. In 2003, Hi-Standard was ranked by HMV Japan at number 64 on their list of the 100 most important Japanese pop acts.[3]


Formation and success: 1991–2000[edit]

Forming in August 1991 as a four-piece band,[3] the initial lineup of Hi-Standard contained lead vocalist Atsuhiko Matsumoto, bassist Akihiro Nanba, guitarist Ken Yokoyama, and drummer Akira Tsuneoka. They had their first concert that October at Kōenji 20000V in Kōenji, Tokyo.[3] Shortly after recording their first demo tape in 1992, Matsumoto left the group in September, with bassist Nanba taking over vocal duties, solidifying Hi-Standard's lineup as a power trio.[3][4] They provided the song "Selfish Girl" to the November 1992 omnibus album Shake a Move, and two tracks to the 1993 live omnibus BQ Jap.[3]

In 1994, Hi-Standard contributed two songs to the live omnibus Sokobi Jūatsu Hachiwari Pull Up from the Underground 80% and released their debut mini-album Last of Sunny Day.[3] It was released on their own record label, Pizza of Death Records.[3] Three months later, they released a 7" titled "In the Brightly Moonlight", and embarked on numerous tours across Japan throughout the mid-90s.[3]

In January 1995, the band performed with The Offspring and toured with Garlic Boys.[3] A Japanese tour with NOFX followed in May.[3] That August, Hi-Standard traveled to America to record their first full-length LP. Growing Up was produced by NOFX member Fat Mike and released by Toy's Factory that November.[3][1] 1996 saw the band accompany Green Day on a Japanese tour in January, and Rancid on a tour of Japan in February.[3] When Growing Up was released in North America by Fat Wreck Chords, Hi-Standard held a tour of the US and Canada in March 1996.[3]

In May 1997, their second full-length album, Angry Fist, was released, selling 500,000 copies worldwide.[3][5] In 1998, Hi-Standard and NOFX embarked on a US/Canada tour. Over the following months, they participated in the 1998 Warped Tour, headlined the '98 Air Jam to an audience of 30,000, and once again joined NOFX on a European tour.

Riding the wave of successes from their prior albums and touring, they released their third album, Making the Road, in 1999. It sold over one million copies.[6]

Hiatus: 2000–2011[edit]

After recording five albums, Hi-Standard entered a hiatus in August 2000, shortly after playing Air Jam 2000. Guitarist Ken Yokoyama began working on other projects, including solo work in a similar vein to Hi-Standard, as well as exploring a more traditional hardcore punk style with BBQ Chickens, fronted by longtime friend and artist, Daisuke Hongolian, who provided artwork for some of Hi-Standard's early releases. Yokoyama revisited the band's original label Pizza of Death Records, which has since signed many punk and alternative rock bands. Bassist Akihiro Nanba's newest project is Ultra Brain. According to CDJapan, Nanba proclaims their debut album, Neo Punk, to be the birth of neo-punk.[7] Akira Tsuneoka provided the drums for the group Cubismo Grafico Five.

Reformation and Tsuneoka's death: 2011–present[edit]

In 2011, it was announced that Hi-Standard would be reforming. The band played at 'Air Jam 2011', and 'Air Jam 2012', and headlined the Japanese edition of Fat Wreck Chords' 25th-anniversary show in Tokyo in November 2015. The single "Another Starting Line" was released on October 5, 2016 with no preceding PR campaign, and available exclusively in stores. In 2017, they released The Gift, their first album in over 15 years.

Akira Tsuneoka died suddenly on February 14, 2023, at the age of 51.[8] Later that month, Nanba and Yokoyama announced they would continue the band. Hi-Standard released the digital single "I'm a Rat", which features Tsuneoka, on April 19.[9]

Band members[edit]

  • Akihiro Nanba (難波章浩) – lead vocals, bass (1991–2000, 2011–present)
  • Ken Yokoyama (横山健) – guitar, backing vocals (1991–2000, 2011–present)
Former members
  • Atsuhiko Matsumoto (松本敦彦) – lead vocals (1991–1992)
  • Akira Tsuneoka (恒岡章) – drums (1991–2000, 2011–2023, His death)


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Label
1994 Last of Sunny Day Pizza of Death
1996 Growing Up Toy's Factory, Fat Wreck Chords
1997 Angry Fist Toy's Factory, Fat Wreck Chords
1999 Making the Road Pizza of Death, Fat Wreck Chords
2017 The Gift Pizza of Death


Year Title Label Notes
1994 "In the Brightly Moonlight" Snuffy Smile 7" vinyl
1996 "California Dreamin'" Fat Wreck Chords Overseas release
1996 "The Kids Are Alright" Toy's Factory
1997 "I Don't Need Trouble Because of... Money" Pizza of Death 7" vinyl
1997 "Weihnachten Stinkt!" Hulk Räckorz Overseas release, Split with Wizo
1997 "War is Over" Pizza of Death 7" vinyl
2000 "Love Is a Battlefield" Pizza of Death
2016 "Another Starting Line" Pizza of Death
2016 "Vintage & New, Gift Shits" Pizza of Death
2023 "I'm a Rat" Pizza of Death Digital only

Other albums[edit]

Year Title Label Notes
2020 Live at Yokohama Arena 20181222 Pizza of Death Live album, streaming only

Music videos[edit]

  • Maximum Overdrive
  • New Life
  • Growing Up
  • The Sound of Secret Minds
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Brand New Sunset
  • Stay Gold
  • Teenagers Are All Assholes
  • Another Starting Line
  • All Generations


  1. ^ a b "【連載】奇跡の再始動STORY 〜Hi-STANDARD編〜". Rockin'On (in Japanese). 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2023-04-20.
  2. ^ "Hi-Standard Biography, Songs & Albums". Retrieved August 31, 2021 – via AllMusic.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists - No.64". HMV Japan (in Japanese). 2003-09-28. Retrieved 2024-03-15.
  4. ^ "Biography". Hi-STANDARD | ハイスタンダード (in Japanese). 2017-06-16. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  5. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (1999-07-31). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  6. ^ "Hi-STANDARDのドラマー 恒岡章、51歳で死去 所属レーベル PIZZA OF DEATH RECORDSより発表". Real Sound (in Japanese). 2023-02-15. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  7. ^ "Ultra Brain - Neo Punk". cdjapan.co.jp.
  8. ^ "Hi-STANDARDドラム・恒岡章さん死去 享年51歳 所属レコードが発表 詳細は「現在確認中」". Sponichi (in Japanese). 2023-02-15. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  9. ^ "Hi-STANDARD「SATANIC CARNIVAL」出演決定!新曲「I'M A RAT」配信と同時にメンバー声明発表". Natalie (in Japanese). 2023-04-19. Retrieved 2023-04-19.

External links[edit]