|Origin||Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan|
|Labels||Tokuma Japan Communications|
Ningen Isu (Japanese: 人間椅子 Hepburn: Ningen'isu, lit. "The Human Chair") is a Japanese hard rock band from Hirosaki, formed in 1987 by Shinji Wajima (guitars and vocal) and Ken-ichi Suzuki (bass and vocal). They took their name from the 1924 short story of the same name by Edogawa Rampo.
1970's – 1980's
Natives of Hirosaki, Wajima and Suzuki met in a local music salon when Suzuki lent Wajima a Kiss record around the time they entered junior high school. Wajima listened to The Beatles, King Crimson, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin, while Suzuki was into Kiss, Saxon and Judas Priest. The two became closer when in 1981, they entered the same high school, Hirosaki High School. Suzuki was impressed by Wajima's talent for composing music and wrote a song called "Demon", while Wajima wrote a song called "Tetsugōshi Mokushi-roku" (Apocalypse of Iron Grill), which was not taken well by the music salon but was liked by Suzuki. Two years later, Wajima and Suzuki joined Shine Shine Dan ('dead dead group'), a band formed by members of the salon, with whom they played hard rock songs at music festivals.
In 1985, after entering different universities (Wajima learned about Buddhism at Komazawa University and Suzuki learned about Russian literature at Sophia University), they formed a hard rock band, whose name was changed to Ningen'isu in 1987, the year when drummer Noriyoshi Kamidate joined the band. They first gained popularity when they played the song Injū (Strange Beast) on the Japanese Television program "Ikasu Band Tengoku" (which means "cool band heaven") in 1989. Their heavy sound, techniques and lyrics full of literature took the judges by surprise.
1990 – 2004
In 1990, they released their first album "Ningen Isu", followed two years later by "Ōgon no Yoake", after which Kamidate left the band. They kept heavy sound and lyrics full of literature.
Drummer Masuhiro Goto would support the recording of their fourth album "Rashōmon" in 1993. In 1995 and 1996, Iwao Tsuchiya served as the band's drummer, but was replaced by Goto as a permanent member until his leaving in 2003.
2004 – 2020
Ningen Isu has seen a significant increase in popularity in recent years. They spent years being little known outside Japan; the sales of CD didn't go well, but their talent, constant effort and charming personality made them popular gradually.
In 2019, their record "Shin Seinen" reached rank 14 in the Oricon music charts, their highest chart position of so far. Published on May 14, 2019, their song "Heartless Scat" on YouTube reached 1.5 million views on July 3, 2019.
The band will perform as their first world tour in Berlin, Bochum and London in February 2020.
The band often writes about Japanese classical literature, for example: Rampo Edogawa, Osamu Dazai, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Jun-ichiro Tanizaki, Yukio Mishima and also Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Friedrich Nietzsche, Georges Bataille and so on. They often take up topics such as hell, Buddhism, the universe, samurai and gambling. Wajima and Suzuki have a local accent called "Tsugaru dialect", which adds a unique and heavy atmosphere and rhythm to their songs. They, especially Wajima, often use difficult and old Japanese (words used in Edo period to Showa period, often hard to understand even for Japanese people). So the lyrics give listeners special and solemn feelings. They always wear Kimono and traditional underwear Fundoshi on stage.
Ningen Isu was strongly influenced by Black Sabbath. Other influences include Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Budgie, King Crimson, and similar artists.The play style of Wajima's guitar is influenced by guitarists such as Robert Fripp, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley, Michael Schenker, and also the sound of Tsugaru-jamisen.
- Shinji Wajima / Wazzy (和嶋慎治; born 25 December 1965) – guitars, vocals, theremin, main lyrics, composer (1987–present)
His costume has motifs of literary master of Meiji era. He loves the Beatles, blues and Japanese old-style pop song. So the sound he makes is melodious. He often uses the original effectors which he makes by himself. One of them called "Shocker"(the enemy of Kamen Rider Series) make fuzzy unique and mysterious sound. He sometimes uses theremin, which adds cosmic mood. He loves Rakugo (one of the Japanese verbal entertainments) and made a song "Shinagawa Shinju". He also loves camping.
- Ken-ichi Suzuki / Suzuken (鈴木研一; born 11 March 1966) – bass, vocals, lyrics, composer (1987–present)
He paints his face white and dresses like a Buddhist monk. Wears "Fundoshi", old Japanese underwear under the Kimono. In the band's early days, Suzuki often wore clothes like Nezumi-otoko, a rat man (a character of Ge-Ge-Ge no Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki), which made them impressive. He sometimes opens events called “Nazareth (band)” in which he plays DJ (only hard rock). He loves Neputa festival held in Hirosaki.
- Nobu Nakajima / Nobu (ナカジマノブ; born 20 September 1966) – drums, vocals, lyrics,composer (2004–present)
He wears Koikuchi shirt and sunglasses and looks like a Japanese gangster. He sometimes uses "Dora" (kind of Japanese gong). His powerful character and play make him called "Aniki", which means big brother. He is a big fan of Hideshi Hino and composed a song "Jigoku Kozo"(which means "a boy of hell", which is a comic written by Hino). He collects a lot of things, for example sneakers, dam cards, comics and so on.
- Noriyoshi Kamidate – drums (1987–1992)
- Masuhiro Goto – drums, vocals (1996–2003) as a support member (1993–1995)
- Iwao Tsuchiya – drums, vocals (1995–1996)
|1989||Ningen Isu (人間椅子; The Human Chair)
|1990||Ningen Shikkaku (人間失格; No Longer Human)
|1991||Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita (桜の森の満開の下; Under the Blooming Cherry Blossoms)
|1992||Ougon no Yoake (黄金の夜明け; Golden Dawn)
|1995||Odoru Issunboushi (踊る一寸法師; A Small Man Dance)
|1996||Mugen no Juunin (無限の住人; Blade of the Immortal)
|1998||Taihai Geijutsu Ten (頽廃芸術展; Degenerate Art Exhibition)
|1999||Nijusseiki Sousoukyoku (二十世紀葬送曲; Funeral for the 20th Century)
|2000||Kaijin Nijuu Mensou (怪人二十面相; The Fiend with Twenty Faces)
|2001||Mishiranu Sekai (見知らぬ世界; The Unknown World)
|2003||Shura bayashi (修羅囃子; The Asura Accompaniment)
|2004||San-aku Douchuu Hizakurige (三悪道中膝栗毛; Hiking to Hell)
|2006||Fu-chi-ku (瘋痴狂; Hoochie Koo)
|2007||Manatsu no Yo no Yume (真夏の夜の夢; The Midsummer Night's Dream)
|2009||Mirai Roman-ha (未来浪漫派; Future Romantic School)
|2011||Shigan Raisan (此岸礼讃; The Worship of this World)
|2013||Mandoro (萬燈籠; Full Moon)
|2014||Burai Houjou (無頼豊饒; Freedom and Luxuriance)
|2016||Kaidan Soshite Shi to Erosu (怪談 そして死とエロス; Ghost Stories; Death and Eroticism)
|2017||Ijigen kara no Houkou (異次元からの咆哮; The Roar From Another Dimension)
|2019||Shin Seinen (新青年; NewYouth)
|1994||Petenshi to Kuuki Otoko ~Ningen Isu Kessaku-sen~ (ペテン師と空気男〜人間椅子傑作選〜)|
|2002||Oshie to Tabi suru Otoko ~Ningen Isu Kessaku-sen vol.2~ (押絵と旅する男〜人間椅子傑作選 第2集〜)|
|2009||Ningen-Isu Kessaku-sen (人間椅子傑作選 二十周年記念ベスト盤)||160|
|2014||Utsushiyo wa Yume ~25th Anniversary Best Album~ (現世は夢 〜25周年記念ベストアルバム〜; This World is a Dream)
|2010||Shippuu Dotou ~Ningen Isu Live! Live!! (疾風怒濤〜人間椅子ライブ!ライブ!!)||2CD+DVD||180|
|2017||Ifuu Doudou ~Ningen Isu Live!! (威風堂々〜人間椅子ライブ!!)||2CD|
|1991||Yashaga-ike (夜叉ヶ池; Pond of Yaksha)
|1991||Koufuku no Neji (幸福のねじ; Happy Screw)
|1993||Motto Hikari wo! (もっと光を！; More Light!)
|1996||Katana to Saya (刀と鞘; Sword and Sheath)
|2015||Doro no Ame ~NINJA SLAYER Ver. (泥の雨～ニンジャスレイヤーVer. ; Mud Rain ~NINJA SLAYER Ver.)
|2015||Jigoku no Aloha (地獄のアロハ; Hell's Aloha) - by Kinniku Shōjo Tai with Ningen Isu||CD/DVD|
|2015||Doro no Ame (泥の雨; Mud Rain)
|2016||Hari no Yama (針の山; Spiny Mountain in Hell)
|1991||Yuigon-jou Housou (遺言状放送; Testament Broadcasting)
|2000||Kaijin Nijuu Mensou (怪人二十面相; The Fiend with Twenty Faces)
|2002||Mishiranu Sekai (見知らぬ世界; The Unknown World)
|2006||Yuigon-jou Housou (遺言状放送; Testament Broadcasting)
|2006||Mishiranu Sekai (見知らぬ世界; The Unknown World)
|2015||Kurushimi mo Yorokobi mo Yume nareba koso "Utsushiyo ha Yume - Band Seikatsu 25 Shuunen -" in Shibuya Koukaidou Kouen (苦しみも喜びも夢なればこそ「現世は夢～バンド生活二十五年～」渋谷公会堂公演; Pain and Joy is a Dream "This World is a Dream - Band Life 25th Anniversary -" in Shibuya Public Hall)
|2018||Odoro Mandara -Music Video Shu- (おどろ曼荼羅～ミュージックビデオ集～; Horrid Mandala -Music VIdeo Collection-)
- https://www.spirit-of-metal.com/en/band/Ningen-Isu. Missing or empty
- Angus Cargill Hang the DJ: An Alternative Book of Music Lists 2008 Page 75 "Ningen Isu The first Japanese band I ever saw and still the very best; Black Sabbath reborn in the Tohoku region of Japan. Fourteen albums to date and you need them all."
- Mark Driscoll Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead - 2010 p139 "In the short story "The Human Chair" (Ningen Isu) published in 1924, Rampo intuited this neuropolitical invasion of the body and the de- anthropomorphizing effects that ensue. In the story a worker in a small factory becomes so engrossed in."
- "Ningen Isu on Oricon". Oricon. 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "Japanese Metal Band Ningen Isu's Epic 'Heartless Scat' Video Nears 1.5 Million Views: Watch". Billboard Japan. 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "NINGEN ISU in europe for the first time!". Nine Lives Entertainment. 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
- "Ningen Isu explores death, lust on new album | The Japan Times". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- 人間椅子 来るOzzfestに向け、あふれる「サバス愛」を語りまくる (in Japanese)
- 週間 CDアルバムランキング 2019年06月17日付 [Weekly CD Album Ranking on June 17, 2019]. Oricon News (in Japanese). Retrieved June 12, 2019.