Kenshi Yonezu

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Kenshi Yonezu
Also known asHachi
Born (1991-03-10) March 10, 1991 (age 27)[1]
Tokushima, Japan[1]
OriginJapan
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Record producer
  • Illustrator
Instruments
Years active2009–present
Labels
Associated actsHatsune Miku
Websitereissuerecords.net

Kenshi Yonezu (米津 玄師, Yonezu Kenshi, born March 10, 1991) is a Japanese musician, singer-songwriter, record producer and illustrator who began releasing Vocaloid music under the stage name Hachi (ハチ) in 2009. In 2012 he debuted under his real name, releasing music with his own voice.[2]

Biography[edit]

Early Childhood[edit]

Kenshi Yonezu was born on March 10, 1991 in the rural part of Tokushima, Japan to a poor family. As a child, Yonezu found it difficult to communicate with other people especially his father. Yonezu typically felt that his mother understood him. Due to his communication problems, Yonezu left Tokushima to live in Osaka to pursue his music dream by uploading to NicoNico Douga. He felt that he could achieve his dream working with music.

Early musical career[edit]

Yonezu's first foray into music was in 2006 during his second year of junior high school, where he formed a band with his friend Hiroshi Nakajima, called Late Rabbit Edda, to play for the school culture festival.[3][4][5][6] He worked as the vocalist, songwriter and occasional guitarist, while Nakajima was the guitarist. In late 2007, he set up a website for the band, posting song lyrics and short novels.[7] Yonezu wrote songs for the band, and between April 2008 and March 2009 uploaded 24 original songs to video sharing website Nico Nico Douga using the name Hachi.[2] None of the songs were widely viewed, with the greatest, "Beelzebub," receiving only 23,000 views.[8] Yonezu created his blog in this period, and called it Tekitō Edda (適当EDDA).[9][10]

Yonezu moved to Osaka after high school, and started attending a fine arts school.[11] While a student there, he started uploading songs using Vocaloid software Hatsune Miku instead, which were increasingly popular. His 2009 song "Musunde Hiraite Rasetsu to Mukuro" was his first song to receive over 1,000,000 views on the site.[12] Though Yonezu had uploaded over 30 songs sung by himself, he deleted them when his Vocaloid songs became more popular.[3] Yonezu renamed his blog Denshi-chō Hachibangai (電子帖八番, "Electronic Notebook 8th Avenue"), and it was one of five blogs awarded the Diamond Award at the 2009 WebMoney Awards.[13]

In December 2009, Yonezu's song "Clock Lock Works" was featured on an Exit Tunes compilation album, Supernova, the first time a song of his appeared on an album. In January, "Musunde Hiraite Rasetsu to Mukuro" was featured on Vocalolegend feat. Hatsune Miku, Exit Tunes' second Oricon top 10 compilation album.[14] Yonezu released two self-produced albums in 2010: Hanataba to Suisō in February, and Official Orange in November. In 2010 and 2011, Yonezu's songs were featured on many Exit Tunes albums, including Vocalonexus feat. Hatsune Miku, which was the second Vocaloid album to reach number one on Oricon's albums chart.[15] His songs were featured on the games Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Extend (2011) and Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F (2012), and in the Hatsune Miku concert Miku no Hi Dankanshasai (2012), which became the first number one DVD/Blu-ray for a virtual singer.[16] On Hachi's Nico Nico account, seven of his songs have been viewed more than 1,000,000 times,[17] including the song "Matryoshka," which had reached 5,000,000 views by 2012.[18]

In April 2010, Yonezu joined the animation collective Minakata Kenkyūjo (南方研究所, "Minakata Laboratory"), a group that he'd worked with since his "Clock Lock Works" video in November 2009.[19] On January 23, 2011, Yonezu uploaded his final Hachi Vocaloid video for approximately three years.[17]

Late Rabbit Edda remained active until 2010. They were renamed Ernst Eckman, and added a drummer called Sumimoto to their line up. As Ernst Eckman, they released a single song on MySpace, "Oborozuki to Sono Kōan" (オボロヅキとその考案, "Crescent Moon and that Plan").[20] Yonezu began to feel that he did not work well with other people, and decided to work alone on Vocaloid songs exclusively, giving up on being a part of a band.[21]

Balloom, major label debut[edit]

In March 2011, Yonezu and seven other musicians created Balloom, an independent music label for Internet musicians to widen their musical opportunities.[22] His debut album released in 2012, Diorama, debuted at number 6 and sold over 45,000 copies,[1][23] becoming the biggest release on the label to date. The album was one of the winners of the 5th CD Shop Awards, an award voted on by music store personnel.[24] Yonezu was picked up as a major label artist under Universal Sigma, and debuted in May 2013 with the single "Santa Maria."[25] He made the shift in order to work with musicians doing similar things as him.[26]

On October 28, 2013, Yonezu released his first Vocaloid song in two and a half years, "Donut Hole" (ドーナツホール, Dōnatsu Hōru), using a live band and the vocal Gumi.[27] Kenshi Yonezu released his second album, Yankee, on April 23, 2014,[28] followed by the first concert in his career on June 27.[29] Yonezu's song "Eine Kleine" was written for Tokyo Metro to be used in its 2014 commercial campaign.[30]

Artistry[edit]

Yonezu writes and composes all of his music. In his Vocaloid songs as well as his independent album Diorama, he also arranged, programmed, mixed and performed all of the instruments by himself.[1][18] When he moved to Universal, Yonezu began working with a band to perform his music.[26] Yonezu considers Japanese bands Bump of Chicken, Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Radwimps big influences on his work, and Japanese authors Kenji Miyazawa and Yukio Mishima on his lyrics.[4][11] As an illustrator, he feels inspired by Edward Gorey's illustrations.[4] Yonezu generally composes songs on the guitar, but also occasionally uses drums to work out a melody.[31]

Yonezu separates his musical career in two, releasing music using Vocaloids as Hachi, and music using his own voice as Kenshi Yonezu.[2] He feels that music made as Hachi was created for the Nico Nico Douga community, while songs under his real name do not have such a strong tie.[32] While he did not want to record covers of his Vocaloid songs during sessions for Diorama (2012), he felt the difference between Kenshi Yonezu songs and Hachi songs blur during sessions for Yankee (2014), and recorded a self-cover of "Donut Hole."[32][33]

"Suna no Wakusei" (砂の惑星) (officially "DUNE" in English) is a song composed and arranged by Hachi after his long absence in VOCALOID music scene since his previous work, "Donut Hole".[34] This is a theme song for Hatsune Miku Magical Mirai 2017 and featured on "Magical Mirai 2017 Official Album".[35] It has entered the Hall of Legend on Niconico and rapidly surpassed 1 million views on YouTube shortly after its upload.[36]

He has worked as a producer for other musicians several times. The first song he composed and arranged was Internet singer Lasah's "Nilgiri" (ニルギリ) in 2010.[37] He composed and produced the song "Escape Game" (エスケープゲーム) for anime singer LiSA on her mini-album Letters to U (2011).[38] He also worked on a remix for the ending theme song of the anime Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, "Secret Base (Kimi ga Kureta Mono) (Those Dizzy Days Ver.)," which was released in 2013.[39]

Despite holding an online live performance on Ustream every month, Yonezu does not perform live often. His high school band, Late Rabbit Edda, performed live once on August 26, 2008,[40] and applied to perform in the Senkō Riot teenage music contest. The band passed the demo tape round, but failed to make it through the studio live judging and onto the final live competition.[11] Yonezu also performed as Hachi in several Vocaloid events. Despite debuting his solo career in 2012, he did not hold any live performances for two years.[41] His first concert is planned for June 27, 2014, two months after the release of Yankee.[29]

Yonezu illustrated all of his early Nico Nico Douga videos, using a scanner or a pen tablet to draw imagery.[12] When his parents bought a computer when he was 10, Yonezu made and uploaded flash animation videos for Bump of Chicken songs on the Internet.[4] He continued to illustrate for his album Diorama, creating the music videos and the cover artwork by himself, and with the help of fellow members of Minakata Kenkyūjo.[1] His Universal releases have also featured his own artwork. Yonezu primarily uses Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe After Effects and Corel Painter Essentials for animation.[19] Yonezu's illustrations became a feature in music magazine Rockin' On Japan starting in the August 2013 issue. His piece, called Kaijū Zukan (かいじゅうずかん, "Monster Picture Index"), features fictional creatures Yonezu has drawn.[42]

For creating songs, Yonezu uses music software Cakewalk Sonar.[19] When he started to create Vocaloid music, he used Vocaloid 2 software, and Hatsune Miku vocals exclusively.[3][17][19] However, in 2010, Yonezu began using Megurine Luka and Gumi in his songs as well.[17] His album Hanataba to Suisō features Hatsune Miku only, whereas Official Orange features Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka, Gumi, as well as his own vocals on the song "Yūen Shigai (遊園市街, "Amusement City Streets").[4]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak positions Sales (JPN)[23] Certifications
JPN
Oricon

[43]
JPN
Billboard

[A]
Diorama 6 99[B] 57,000
Yankee
  • Released: April 23, 2014
  • Label: Universal Sigma
  • Formats: CD, CD/DVD, CD/art book, digital download
2 39[C] 129,000[50]
Bremen
  • Released: October 7, 2015
  • Label: Universal Sigma
  • Formats: CD, CD/DVD, CD/art book, digital download
1 1 117,637+[citation needed]
Bootleg 1 1 300,000[52]

Vocaloid albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak positions Sales (JPN)[23]
JPN
Oricon

[54]
JPN
Billboard

[D]
Hanataba to Suisō (花束と水葬, "Bouquets and Sea Burials")
  • Vocaloid album as Hachi
  • Released: February 7, 2010
  • Label: Self-produced (EQHR-0001)
  • Formats: CD, digital download
70 [E] 2,000
Official Orange
  • Vocaloid album as Hachi
  • Released: November 14, 2010
  • Label: Self-produced (EQHR-0002)
  • Formats: CD, digital download
72 [F] 2,000
"—" denotes items which were released before the creation of the Billboard Hot Albums chart in June 2015.

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak positions Sales Certifications Album
JPN
Oricon
[43]
JPN
Billboard
[D]
"Santa Maria" 2013 12 26
  • JPN: 14,000 (CD)[23]
Yankee
"Mad Head Love" 11 51
  • JPN: 10,000 (CD)[23]
"Poppin' Apathy" Non-album single
"Flowerwall" 2015 3 5
  • JPN: 28,000 (CD)[23]
  • JPN: 100,000+ (DL)[67]
  • RIAJ (download): Gold[67]
Bremen
"Unbelievers" (アンビリーバーズ, Anbirībāzu) 4 5
  • JPN: 32,000 (CD)[23]
"Loser" 2016 2 3
  • JPN: 48,000 (CD)[68]
  • JPN: 500,000+ (DL)[69]
  • RIAJ (download): 2x Platinum[67]
Bootleg
"Number Nine" (ナンバーナイン, Nanbā Nain) 29
  • JPN: 48,000 (CD)[68]
"Orion" 2017 3 3
  • JPN: 52,400 (CD)[70]
  • JPN: 250,000+ (DL)[69]
  • RIAJ (download): Platinum[67]
"Peace Sign" (ピースサイン, Pīsu Sain) 2 1
  • JPN: 74,00 (CD)[71]
  • JPN: 250,000+ (DL)[69]
  • RIAJ (download): Platinum[69]
"Lemon" 2018 2 1
  • JPN: 265,000 (CD)[72]
  • JPN: 1,700,000(DL)[73]
  • RIAJ (physical): Platinum[74]
  • RIAJ (download): Million[67]
"Flamingo" 1 1
"Teenage Riot" 4
"—" denotes items which were released before the creation of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 2008.

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak positions Sales Certifications Album
JPN
Oricon
[43]
JPN
Billboard
[D]
"Nanimono" ("Somebody")[75]
(Yasutaka Nakata featuring Kenshi Yonezu)
2016 11
  • JPN: 100,000+ (DL)[58]
  • RIAJ (download): Gold[76]
Digital Native
"Uchiage Hanabi"
(Daoko × Kenshi Yonezu)
2017 9 1
  • JPN: 30,000 (CD)
  • JPN: 500,000+ (DL)[69]
  • RIAJ (download): 2×Platinum[69]
Thank You Blue

Promotional singles[edit]

Title Year Peak
positions
Certifications Album
JPN
Billboard
[D]
"Wonderland to Hitsuji no Uta" (ワンダーランドと羊の歌, "Song of a Wonderland and Sheep")
(as Hachi)
2010 Official Orange
"Go Go Yūreisen" (ゴーゴー幽霊船, "Go Go Ghost Ship") 2012 Diorama
"Vivi"
"Koi to Byōnetsu" (恋と病熱, "Love and Fever")
"Living Dead Youth" (リビングデッド・ユース, Ribingudeddo Yūsu) 2014 Yankee
"Eine Kleine" (アイネクライネ, Aine Kuraine, "A Little") 19
  • RIAJ (download): Platinum[77]
"Fluorite" (フローライト, Furōraito) 2015 62 Bremen
"Hope Land" (ホープランド, Hōpu Rando) [G]
"Grey and Blue" (灰色と青, Haiiro to Ao)
(featuring Masaki Suda)
2017 3
  • RIAJ (download): Platinum[67]
Bootleg
"—" denotes items which did not chart.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee/work Result Ref.
2013 5th CD Shop Awards Finalist Award Diorama Won [79]
2015 7th CD Shop Awards Finalist Award Yankee Won [80]
57th Japan Record Awards Excellent Album Award Bremen Won [81]
2016 Space Shower Music Awards Best Male Artist Kenshi Yonezu Nominated [82]
8th CD Shop Awards Finalist Award Bremen Won [83]
2017 Space Shower Music Awards Best Male Artist Kenshi Yonezu Nominated [84]
The Anime Awards Best Opening "Peace Sign"
(from anime My Hero Academia Season 2)
Won [85]
2018 32nd Japan Gold Disc Award Song of the Year by Download "Uchiage Hanabi" (with Daoko) Won [86]
Space Shower Music Awards Song of the Year "Uchiage Hanabi" (with Daoko) Won [87]
Best Male Artist Kenshi Yonezu Won [87]
Best Collaboration "Haiiro to Ao" (with Masaki Suda) Won [87]
10th CD Shop Awards Grand Prize Bootleg Won [88]
96th Television Drama Academy Awards Best Theme Song "Lemon" Won [89]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sources for chart positions are as follows: Diorama,[44] Yankee,[45] Bremen,[44] Bootleg.[46]
  2. ^ 2015 position. In 2012, the album charted at number one on the Top Independent Albums and Singles chart,[47] and at number six on the Top Albums Sales chart.[48]
  3. ^ 2015 position. In 2014, the album charted at number two on the Top Albums Sales chart.[49]
  4. ^ a b c d Sources for chart positions are as follows: "Santa Maria",[56] "Mad Head Love",[57] "Eine Kleine",[58] "Flowerwall",[59] "Unbelievers",[60] "Fluorite",[61] "Loser",[62] "Number Nine",[62] "Nanimono",[58] "Orion",[63] "Peace Sign",[64] "Lemon",[65] "Flamingo"/"Teenage Riot".[66]
  5. ^ In 2013, the re-issued album charted at number 55 on the Top Albums Sales chart.[55]
  6. ^ In 2013, the re-issued album charted at number 57 on the Top Albums Sales chart.[55]
  7. ^ Charted at number 100 on the Radio Songs sub-chart.[78]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c "How Kenshi Yonezu rose from online prodigy to hitmaker in Japan". Billboard. August 7, 2017. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
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  27. ^ 米津玄師、2年9カ月ぶり「ハチ」名義でボカロ楽曲公開 [Kenshi Yonezu unveils first Vocaloid song as Hachi in two years and nine months] (in Japanese). Natalie. October 28, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  28. ^ 米津玄師、新作アルバムに"ハチ"曲「ドーナツホール」も [Kenshi Yonezu, new album features "Hachi" song Donut Hole too.] (in Japanese). Natalie. February 27, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
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  31. ^ Tomoko Imai (April 22, 2014). "米津玄師、居場所をなくした全ての人に贈る2ndアルバム『YANKEE』インタビュー" [Kenshi Yonezu 2nd album Yankee interview, dedicated to everyone who has lost their way.] (in Japanese). EMTG. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  32. ^ a b Koichi Kamiya (April 23, 2014). 「最近はネットコミュニティを俯瞰で見ている」米津玄師が振り返る、ネットと作り手の関わり方 ["I lurk a lot on net communities recently" says Kenshi Yonezu, explaining the link between the Internet and creation.] (in Japanese). RealSound. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  33. ^ Tomonori Shiba (April 23, 2014). "゛呪い゛を解く鍵「YANKEE」に込めた思い" [Thoughts put into Yankee, the key to removing a curse.] (in Japanese). Natalie. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  34. ^ http://magicalmirai.com/2017/index_en.html
  35. ^ http://www.mikufan.com/hatsune-miku-magical-mirai-2017-official-album-announced-preorders-now-open/
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