Kōenji Hyakkei

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Kōenji Hyakkei
高円寺百景
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres Zeuhl
Years active 1991–present
Labels Magaibutsu (Japan)
Skin Graft Records (North America)
Website Kōenji Hyakkei's Official Site (English)
Members Yoshida Tatsuya (drums, vocals)
Sakamoto Kengo (bass, vocals)
Yabuki Taku (keyboards)
Yamamoto Kyoko (AH) (vocals)
Komori Keiko (reeds, vocals)
Past members Masada Ryuichi
Kuwahara Shigekazu
Harada Jin
Oguchi Kenichi
Sagara Nami
Kanazawa Miyako
Kubota Aki

Kōenji Hyakkei (高円寺百景, "Hundred Sights of Kōenji"), also known as Kōenjihyakkei, is a Japanese Zeuhl band led by Yoshida Tatsuya of Ruins fame. The band released their first (self-titled) album in 1994 with Aki Kubota from Bondage Fruit on vocals and keyboard. Though rhythmically not as complex as Ruins, Kōenji Hyakkei still evokes a feeling of unfamiliarity due to non-standard modes and chanting in a nonsensical language.

History[edit]

According to the official website of the band, maintained by Tatsuya Yoshida, the band was formed in 1991 with, names in the order of the given name preceding the family name, Tatsuya Yoshida (drums), Aki Kubota (vocals), Akio Izumi (guitar, ex-Aburadako), Chie Kitahara (keyboards, ex-Phaidia) and Kazuyoshi Kimoto (bass, ex-Ruins). The name Koenji Hyakkei derives from a district where the members lived in Tokyo (Koenji, Suginami-ku, Tokyo) except Kazuyoshi Kimoto. Also as the album cover art of the first album indicates, Hyakkei was borrowed from "Fugaku Hyakkei" (One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji) by novelist Osamu Dazai crossed with well-known series of Hokusai's ukiyoe wood prints, "Fugaku Sanjurokkei" (Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji). The album cover is a rendition of "Totomi sanchu" from the series.

Note on pronunciation[edit]

Japanese pronunciation of the band name is Ko-en-ji Hyak-kei, where "o" as in "orient", "e" as in "end", "i" as in "in", "ya" as in "yak", "ei" as in "eight" (US English). Oftentimes English speakers are found mispronouncing the name to what would sounds like "Kenji Hayaki" which resembles a man's name hence unrecognizable by Japanese language speakers. Refer to the first entry of "Japanese Pronunciation" for a near perfect pronunciation, where the "o" sound needs to be a long vowel.

Band members[edit]

Yoshida has been the only consistent member of the band, with Sakamoto Kengo playing bass from their second album onward. As the band has added new members, the band's sound changes, shifting from folk-influenced progressive rock to minimalism to jazz fusion with the inclusion of Komori Keiko on reeds (usually soprano saxophone) on their album Angherr Shisspa (2005).

Language[edit]

It is not clear what language is used for Kōenji Hyakkei lyrics. For the most part, lyrics are reminiscent of Christian Vander's Kobaïan language (a notable exception is the song "Zoltan" from their 1994 self-titled album Hundred Sights of Koenji, a Kyrie).[1] There are few words shorter than four letters, and almost no instances of words repeated in more than one phrase. In addition, spelling conventions and pronunciation vary between albums and songs.

There is no standard way of romanizing the name 高円寺百景. Official sources write it as Koenji Hyakkei or Koenjihyakkei and less commonly KoenjiHyakkei, Koenji-Hyakkei, and others.

Discography[edit]

Videography[edit]

  • 2002: Live at Star Pine's Cafe (DVD)
  • 2006: Live at Doors (DVD)
  • 2008: 070531 (DVD)
  • 2010: Live at Koenji High (DVD)

External links[edit]

References[edit]