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OriginOsaka, Japan
Years active1999–present
Past membersTora

Onmyo-za (Japanese: 陰陽座, Hepburn: Onmyō-za, literally "gathering of yin and yang") are a Japanese heavy metal band from Osaka, who released their first album in 1999.[2]


They play quite orthodox heavy metal music, mixed with elements from Japanese folk and pop music, and play both fast, hard songs and slow ballads. Since their debut in 1999, they have appeared in traditional clothing characteristic of Japan's Heian period.

Their name refers to Onmyōdō and the gathering of yin and yang (Inyo in Japanese, formerly Onmyō), and the theme of opposites and cosmic dual forces are prevalent in their lyrics. This contrast is also represented by the female and male vocals and two guitarists.[3]

Band members[edit]

Support members
Former members
  • Atsushi "Tora" Kawatsuka - drums, percussion (1999–2009)

Stage names[edit]

Each of the band member's stage names feature a double entendre with a sense of humor and make references to cats.[4]

  • Matatabi (瞬火) means "flash fire", but it can also be read as silver vine (loved by cats, similar to catnip).
  • Kuroneko (黒猫) literally means "black cat", just symbolizing her personality.
  • Maneki (招鬼) practically means "summoning oni", but see also maneki neko.
  • Karukan (狩姦) is unclear. Karu (狩) independently means "attacking"/"hunting" and Kan (姦) is "adultery". The kanji 姦 and 奸, (the latter now meaning "wickedness") were the same in old times but have been changed. But it is also a brand of cat food.
  • Tora (斗羅) It's pronounced like the word "tiger", but its reading is the same as tabby. It also refers to him being a Hanshin Tigers fan.


Musically Matatabi was influenced by heavy metal bands such as Judas Priest,[5] Annihilator and Destruction,[6] and by Rush.[5] Osamu Tezuka and Futaro Yamada had a significant influence on him.[5] Matatabi also hailed Ningen Isu as the precedent playing heavy metal and singing in Japanese.[7] Kuroneko said she respects Ronnie James Dio as her eternal goal.[5] In addition to that, her inspirations included Kenji Miyazawa and Zdzisław Beksiński.[5] Karukan cites Jason Becker, Maneki and Paul Gilbert as his main influences.[5] He practiced songs by "Shrapnel" Artists back in the day such as Jason Becker, Richie Kotzen, Greg Howe and so on,[8] and covered Megadeth's songs along with Maneki.[5] Maneki listed Gary Moore's "Blues Alive" as his favorite album.[5]

Themes and inspiration[edit]

Their songs mainly deal with Japanese folklore, such as the oni, yōkai, and the dragons. However, some songs have more concrete themes and inspirations. For example, Onmyo-za have composed twelve songs related to "Ninpocho", or "ninja scrolls". These songs are a tribute to author Futaro Yamada and his ōchō series. The band's hit song, "Koga Ninpocho", was written for the Studio Gonzo TV animated series Basilisk, which was based on Yamada's novel, The Kouga Ninja Scrolls.

There are also some other songs inspired by Osamu Tezuka and Natsuhiko Kyogoku, and the Kumikyoku Yoshitsune trilogy is based on the legend of Japanese ancient tragic hero Minamoto no Yoshitsune. "Soukoku/Doukoku" was written for the Nintendo DS game The Inugami Clan which was based on Seishi Yokomizo's novel The Inugami Clan. "Aoki Dokugan" was written for the pachinko machine "CR Sengoku-ranbu Aoki Dokugan" which is based on the story of Date Masamune, a famous daimyō.



Title Album type Release date Peak Japanese Chart Position
Kikoku-Tenshou (鬼哭転生; Wailing Reincarnation) Studio album December 5, 1999 Did not chart
Hyakki-Ryouran (百鬼繚乱; Welter of Hundred Demons) Studio album December 24, 2000 Did not chart
Kojin-Rasetsu (煌神羅刹; Coruscating god Raksasa) Studio album January 10, 2002 49[9]
Fuuin-Kairan (封印廻濫; Circulating Seal) Studio album July 24, 2002 63[9]
Houyoku-Rindou (鳳翼麟瞳; Phoenix Wing, Unicorn's Eye) Studio album January 22, 2003 23[9]
Mugen-Houyou (夢幻泡影; Illusion of Vapor and Shadow) Studio album March 3, 2004 27[9]
Garyo-Tensei (臥龍點睛; Finishing Touch) Studio album June 22, 2005 20[9]
Maou-Taiten (魔王戴天; Evil Lord Takes Heaven) Studio album July 25, 2007 13[9]
Chimimouryou (魑魅魍魎; Evil River and Mountain Spirits) Studio album September 10, 2008 9[9]
Kongoukyuubi (金剛九尾; Sturdy Dazzling Ninetails) Studio album September 9, 2009 13[9]
Kishi Bojin (鬼子母神; Mother Of Devils) Studio album December 21, 2011 13[9]
Fuujin Kaikou (風神界逅; Fuujin Against the Realms) Studio album September 24, 2014 10[9]
Raijin Sousei (雷神創世; Genesis of Raijin) Studio album September 24, 2014 11[9]
Karyou Binga (迦陵頻伽; "Kalavinka") Studio album November 30, 2016 7[9]
Hadou Myouou (覇道明王; High-handed Wisdom King) Studio album June 06, 2018 11[9]


Title Album type Release date Peak Japanese Chart Position
Sekinetsu-Enbu (赤熱演舞; Red Hot Dance) Live album June 25, 2003 68
In'you-Shugyoku (陰陽珠玉; Jewel of Yin and Yang) "Best of" compilation album February 8, 2006 14
Onmyou-Live (陰陽雷舞; Onmyou Thunder Live) Live album June 7, 2006 35
Ryuuou-Shugyoku (龍凰珠玉; Jewel of Dragon and Phoenix) "Best of" compilation album December 4, 2013 18


Title Release date Peak Japanese Chart Position
Ouka no Kotowari (桜花ノ理; Logic of Cherry Blossoms) August 19, 2000 Did not chart
Tsuki ni Murakumo Hana ni Kaze (月に叢雲花に風; Moon in the Clouds, Flower in the Wind) December 16, 2001 Did not chart
Youka Ninpocho (妖花忍法帖; Ninja Magic Story of Voluptuous Flower) December 25, 2002 57[10]
Houyoku-Tenshou (鳳翼天翔; Soaring Phoenix Wing) June 4, 2003 66
Mezame (醒; Awakening) October 1, 2003 30[10]
Nemuri (睡; Sleep) January 7, 2004 40
Kumikyoku "Yoshitsune" - Akki Hogan (組曲『義経』~悪忌判官; "Yoshitsune" Musical Suite - The Abhorrer of Evil ) September 23, 2004 30[10]
Kumikyoku "Yoshitsune" - Muma Enjou (組曲『義経』~夢魔炎上; Blazing Nightmare ) October 27, 2004 32[10]
Kumikyoku "Yoshitsune" - Raise Kaikou (組曲『義経』~来世邂逅; Reunite in Afterworld ) November 26, 2004 33[10]
Kouga Ninpocho (甲賀忍法帖: Ninja Magic Story of the Kouga) April 27, 2005 31[10]
Kokui no Tennyo (黒衣の天女; Black-Robed Celestial Maiden ) June 27, 2007 14[10]
Kureha (紅葉; Kureha)
  • "Kureha" is a name of legendary female Oni.
August 6, 2008 15[10]
Soukoku/Doukoku (相剋/慟哭; Rivalry/Lament) January 21, 2009 13[10]
Aoki Dokugan (蒼き独眼; The Blue One-eyed ) August 26, 2009 17[10]
Konpeki no Soujin (紺碧の双刃; Azure twin blades )
  • Announced as a sequel to Aoki Dokugan
February 9, 2011 23[10]
Seiten no Mikazuki (青天の三日月; Crescent moon in the blue sky)
  • Announced as a sequel to Konpeki no Soujin
March 19, 2014 19[10]
Ouka Ninpouchou (桜花忍法帖; Ninja Scroll of Cherry Blossoms)
  • Theme song for Basilisk: The Ōka Ninja Scrolls, sequel to the 2005 animation
January 10, 2018 15[10]


Title Video type Release date Peak Japanese Chart Position
Hyakki-Korinden (百鬼降臨伝; The Legend of Descent of Hundred Demons) Live video January 10, 2002 (VHS)
February 14, 2004 (DVD)
Did not chart
Hakkou-Ranbu (白光乱舞; White Shining Boisterous Dance) Live video June 25, 2003 40[11]
Wagashikabane wo Koeteyuke (我屍越行; Go Beyond the Corpse of Mine) Live video March 2, 2005 28[11]
Yuugen-Reibu (幽玄霊舞; The Live for Profoundness and Sprits) Live video August 22, 2005 Fanclub only
Shugyoku-Enbu (珠玉宴舞; The Jewel of Feast and Dance) Live video June 21, 2006 40[11]
Tenkafubu (天下布舞; Conquer the World with Pagent) Live video January 23, 2008 44[11]
Ryuou Rinbu (龍凰輪舞; Rondo of Dragon and Phoenix) Live video April 21, 2010 24[11]
Shikigami Raibu (式神雷舞; Shikigami Thunder Live) Live video July 1, 2010 Fanclub only
Zekkai Enbu (絶界演舞; Hidden World Live) Live video September 5, 2012 6[11]
Shikigami Oubu (式神謳舞; Shikigami Celebration Live) Live video December 13, 2013 Fanclub only


  1. ^ http://www.spirit-of-metal.com/groupe-groupe-Onmyou*Za-l-en.html
  2. ^ Allmusic
  3. ^ "Official band biography". Onmyo-za.net. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  4. ^ "Official band biography". Onmyo-za.net. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h 土屋京輔 (2011-01-01). "迸る魂の生まるる理". FOOL'S MATE. FOOL'S MATE. No.315: 146-149.
  6. ^ "スラドミ!". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  7. ^ 陰陽座が明かす、妖怪をコンセプトに掲げる理由「海外のバンドが竜や魔法や騎士なら、こっちは妖怪だ」 - Real Sound|リアルサウンド・2017年11月12日閲覧。
  8. ^ "シュラプネル・シュレッド・ギター・レジェント・紙ジャケット・コレクション". キングレコード. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m www.oricon.co.jp 陰陽座のアルバム売り上げランキング Retrieved June 23, 2014
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m www.oricon.co.jp 陰陽座のシングル売り上げランキング Retrieved June 23, 2014
  11. ^ a b c d e f www.oricon.co.jp 陰陽座のシングル売り上げランキング Retrieved June 23, 2014

External links[edit]