In 2008, as director of Kondo Racing
|Native name||近藤 真彦|
|Also known as||Matchy|
|Born||July 19, 1964|
|Origin||Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan|
|Genres||Pop, hard rock, kayōkyoku|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, actor, tarento, racing car driver, racing team manager, company executive|
|Labels||Sony Music (Ariola Japan)|
|Associated acts||Johnny & Associates|
1980–1987: Early recording career
As a part of the agency Johnny & Associates Kondō was signed to the record label RVC. His debut single "Sneaker Blues" debuted at number-one on the Oricon weekly single charts in December 1980. With the single he became the first artist to have a debut single to go straight in at number one on Oricon at release. As of 2008, he is the only solo male singer to have a debut single to debut at number one in his teens in Oricon history. The single topped the Oricon charts for five consecutive weeks, and eventually sold over one million copies.
On March 5, 1981, Kondō released his first studio album Thank Ai You. He wrote the lyrics of the songs "Gloria" and "Just A Dance" for the album. Thank Ai You topped the Oricon weekly charts making him the youngest solo male singer to have the debut album to reach number one on the charts at the age of 16 years 8 months.
1988–2004: Racing career and "Midnight Shuffle"
|24 Hours of Le Mans career|
|Participating years||1994–1996, 2000–2003|
|Teams||A.D.A. Engineering Ltd./Team Nippon, Team Kunimitsu Honda, NISMO, TV Asahi Team Dragon, Oreca, Kondo Racing|
|Best finish||8th (2000)|
Kondō learned to drive when he was already famous as a singer. Kondō had always had an interest in cars from an early age and driving on the track engendered his desire to drive race cars. He practiced and was accepted into a racing team when he was 19 in 1984 going on to having a moderately successful career on Japan's race circuit. In 1988 he took part in the All-Japan Formula Three Championship for the first time. On November 10, 1989, he released the single "Andalucia ni Akogarete", which was his cover version of the single by Masatoshi Mashima of Japanese punk rock band The Blue Hearts released on October 21, 1989. While Mashima's original version peaked at number thirteen, Kondō's cover version reached number nine in the Oricon charts.
In 1994, he took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time. His 1996 song "Midnight Shuffle" peaked at number four in the Oricon weekly single charts. The song was the theme of Japanese television drama Ginrō Kaiki File: Futatsu no Zunō o Motsu Shōnen, in which then-Johnny's Jr. Koichi Domoto played a main role. Kondō appeared on NHK's Kōhaku Uta Gassen annual TV show singing "Midnight Shuffle". From 1998 he went full-time into racing, rarely appearing on TV and not putting out any new songs. His occasional appearances on TV were as a racer or racing commentator. On May 22, 2002, he released a single but it was a cover for his 1985 song "Yoisho".
2005–present: Returning to the recording studio
In 2005 Kondō decided to make a full return as a singer for the 25th anniversary of his debut. On December 14, 2005, he released the single "Chōsensya", which means challenger. He appeared in many TV programs, held dinner shows and went on a limited concert tour. He joined many of his successors such as SMAP, KinKi Kids, V6 and Arashi on their TV shows.
On January 25, 2006, Sony released Kondō's tribute album Matchy Tribute, in which Hitomi Takahashi covered the song "Midnight Shuffle". He also released his greatest hits album Matchy Best on February 6, 2006. The album Matchy Best debuted at number fifteen on the Oricon album charts. On May 9, 2007, he released his first DVD work, Kondō Masahiko '07 Valentine's Day in Budokan, which was shot at his live concert at the Nippon Budokan on February 14, 2007. The DVD debuted at number one on the Oricon weekly music DVD charts.
In December 2007, it was announced that Kondō collaborated with Johnny's Jr., the five-member of rock band Question?, forming the temporary group "Matchy with Question?" and singing the song "Mezamero! Yasei". The song "Mezamero! Yasei" was used for the ending theme of anime series Naruto: Shippuden and was released as a CD single on January 23, 2008. The single debuted at number five on the Oricon charts and with the first week sales of around 40,000 copies.
Kondō released the single "Banka (Otokotachi no Banka)" on December 23, 2008, and the single "Motto" on December 13, 2009. On February 22, 2010, he released the single "Zanbara". The first track, "Kokoro Zanbara", and the second track, "Koi Zanbara", were composed by Hal and Tsukasa respectively. The lyrics of both songs were written by Kōhan Kawauchi. Kawauchi sent the lyrics of the song to Johnny & Associates in 1989 but it had never been released until Kawauchi's death in 2008. The reason given was that the song seemed to be too sad for Kondo whose mother died in 1986.
On April 10, 2010, Kondō started his first nationwide concert tour in Japan 21 years after his 1989 nation-wide tour.
Awards and nominations
Japan Record Awards
|Year||Recipient / Nominated work||Award||Result|
|2010||Masahiko Kondō||Best Singer Award||Won|
24 Hours of Le Mans results
|1994|| A.D.A. Engineering Ltd.
| Jun Harada
|Porsche 962C GTi||LMP1
|1995||NISMO|| Hideo Fukuyama
|Nissan Skyline GT-R LM||GT1||271||10th||5th|
|1996||NISMO|| Aguri Suzuki
|Nissan Skyline GT-R LM||GT1||209||DNF||DNF|
|2000||TV Asahi Team Dragon|| Keiichi Tsuchiya
|Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S||LMP900||330||8th||7th|
|2001||Viper Team Oreca|| Seiji Ara
|2002||Kondo Racing|| Ian McKellar, Jr.
|2003||Kondo Racing|| Ukyo Katayama
- ランキング特集『オリコン首位獲得シングル1000曲（1968～2007）』 (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- 平成元年生まれの清水翔太、デビュー作で新記録 (in Japanese). Oricon. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
- "KAT-TUN、00年代デビュー・アーティスト初の快挙達成！" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-04-10. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "ウォークマンとCD登場！音楽が若者に不可欠となった80年代！" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-06-07. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "清水翔太、平成生まれ初のアルバムTOP3入り" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- 【88年1月4日】悲痛！近藤真彦、母の遺骨盗んでも「心は絶対に盗めない！」 (in Japanese). Sports Nippon. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-04-18.[dead link]
- "Andalucia ni Akogarete/Masatoshi Mashima" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
- "Andalucia ni Akogarete/Masahiko Kondō" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
- ジャニーズ界の"アニキ"、近藤真彦デビュー25周年武道館ライブ開催！ (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-02-14. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- 近藤真彦、20年ぶりにオリコン1位獲得！ (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-05-16. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- マッチ後輩5人組と期間限定ユニット (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "マッチ、12年ぶりのオリコンTOP5入り" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- マッチ、デビュー３０周年新曲は故・川内康範氏作詞の未発表曲！ (in Japanese). Sports Hochi. 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- マッチ21年ぶり全国ツアー原点の岐阜から (in Japanese). Oricon. 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2010-04-19.