Ikimono-gakari (いきものがかり?) is a Japanese pop-rock band that debuted in 1998. They record on Sony Music Entertainment Japan's Epic Records label.
The band was formed in Kanagawa Prefecture in February 1999 by Hotaka Yamashita and Yoshiki Mizuno, and was later joined by lead vocalist Kiyoe Yoshioka in December the same year. Ikimono-gakari (生き物係?) is a child who is responsible for looking after plants and animals in elementary school. As ikimono-gakari, Hotaka and Yoshiki shared experience of feeding goldfish in first grade.Contents [hide]
1.1 Formation and Trials
1.2 Rise to Fame
2 Musical style
3.1 Support Members
4.1.1 Indie albums
4.1.2 Major albums
4.3 Unreleased tracks
4.5 Theme songs and tie-ins
6 External links
Formation and Trials
In 1989, Mizuno and Yamashita, met by chance while they were in the first grade; they were both put in charge of being 'ikimono-gakari', an experience which later became the basis for the band's name. Yamashita later noted that he really wanted to be a "blackboard monitor".
On February 1, 1999, Yamashita and Mizuno formed a music group and began performing live on the street; not taking it too seriously, they named it 'ikimono-gakari' after their shared experience in first grade. At first, they did covers of Masayoshi Yamazaki.
In December 1999, Yoshioka joined the band. In those days, Mizuno and Yamashita planned to make a group with a female lead vocalist, an unusual sound for the street performances they were doing. Yoshioka was the younger sister of one of their classmates; she entered as the main singer and the band took on its present-day form. Now performing with three members, the band did a cover of Yuzu's single, "Natsu-iro" (The Colors of Summer?).
In September 2000, they suspended the band to focus on college entrance examination for Yamashita and Mizuno. After attending Meiji University while waiting to get into a better school, Mizuno was admitted to Hitotsubashi University. Meanwhile, Yamashita got into Hosei University.
In March 2002, the band came back together and resumed playing; however, Yoshioka experienced frustration and discouragement for a while because of the strict rehearsals required for her music school. Because of her emotional condition, she stopped having the will to perform with the band. Mizuno dedicated himself to persuading Yoshioka, and went through a difficult journey meeting each of these challenges head-on.
By March 2003, overcoming many hardships, Yoshioka recovered emotionally, and was determined to take this second chance to revive and grow as a person. Again, the band members re-formed, and now they were performing to support their increasing fame as their musical style was moving towards an acoustic focus; they planned to expand their scope to cover not only street performances but live house concerts as well. Moreover, they made a greater effort to compose more original music.
Rise to Fame
In April 2003, the band resumed playing with a live street performance in front of the Hon-Atsugi Station on the Odakyu Odawara Line. In June, they did a one-man-live performance at the Thunder Snake Atsugi live venue for the first time. A person who happened to be attending this performance became their manager, and this became the impetus to launch a major road tour. On August 25, they released their first indie album, Makoto ni Senetsu Nagara First Album wo Koshirae Mashita.... In March 26, 2005, for the first time doing a one-man-live show in a hall, the band held a show in the small hall at the Atsugi City Culture Building (Atsugishi Bunka Kaikan).
On March 15, 2006, the band released their first single, "Sakura", produced by Masanori Shimada. This was their major label debut with Epic Records Japan of Sony. Their second single "Hanabi" was released on May 31, 2006, earning the band their first appearance on the Oricon top 10 chart with a #5 debut. Between November 10 to November 30, their first live tour was held, entitled "Ikimonogakari no Minna-san, Konni-Tour! 2006".
On March 7, 2007, they released their first full-length studio album, Sakura Saku Machi Monogatari, debuting at #4 on the Oricon weekly album charts. Between May 24 to June 14, they went on a live tour to support this album. Their second major studio album, Life Album, came out on February 13, 2008, debuting at #2 on the Oricon weekly album charts. This album's live tour was from March 30 to May 23. On July 7, they came out with their tenth single, "Bluebird", cracking the Top 3 Oricon ranking for the first time with a #3 debut.
On December 24, they released their third studio album, My Song Your Song. This album topped the Oricon weekly charts, becoming their first work to achieve a first ranking on any chart. On December 31, they debuted in the 59th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen festival.
On March 4, 2009, their first-ever collection of video works, "Tottemo Ēzō", was released. That year, Mizuno was put in charge of writing the song "Yell" as the set piece for the junior high division of the 76th annual NHK Nationwide School Music Contest. Their 15th single "Yell / Joyful" came out September 23, taking the #1 single spot for the Oricon daily charts and the #2 spot for the weekly chart, the highest rankings so far for any of their singles. On December 23, they released their fourth studio album Hajimari no Uta, debuting as the #1 album on the Oricon weekly charts.
On November 26, the band won one of the Gold Artist awards at the 2009 Best Hit Song Festival, their first time winning one of the show's prizes, and on December 31, the band appeared again in the 60th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen festival.
Ikimono-gakari's musical style stems from their original lounge rock style found on their first indie albums. Their primary instruments were the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar, and the harmonica. Their indie music was considerably slower; "Natsu Koi" on Sakura Saku Machi Monogatari is considerably faster in tempo compared to the same song on Makoto ni Senetsu Nagara First Album wo Koshirae Mashita.... Guitarist and band leader Yoshiki Mizuno also sang considerably more on their indie albums.
With the release of their first major-label album, Sakura Saku Machi Monogatari, their style changed to a more conventional rock style, but still keeping with their traditional guitar-harmonica combination. They also began to add other elements to their songs, such as strings and tambourines, as evidenced by "Sakura" and "Kira Kira Train". They also began to songs with faster tempo, such as "Ryūsei Miracle" and "Hinageshi".
With their second and third albums, Life Album and My Song Your Song, Ikimono-gakari then began to shift to a more mainstream pop sound. Songs like "Kimagure Romantic" differed greatly from their songs during the Sakura Saku era. Life Album saw the revival of a couple of songs from their indie albums; "Hana wa Sakura Kimi wa Utsukushi" from Makoto ni Senetsu... and "Chikoku Shichau yo" from Jinsei Sugoroku Dabe. "Kuchidzuke", also from Jinsei Sugoroku Dabe. was revived on My Song Your Song.
Kiyoe Yoshioka (吉岡 聖恵 Yoshioka Kiyoe?) (born February 29, 1984) is the vocalist. She was born in the city of Shizuoka, and later moved to Atsugi, Kanagawa when she was five years old. Nicknamed "Kiyoe", "Kiyo-chan" "Se-Ki", "Las Kiyo", and "Ponyo Megumi". Education: Primary Education City Minami Mouri Atsugi, high school Ebina, Kanagawa Prefecture, Graduate School Musical courses Showa University College of Music (now four-year) graduation. Her brother was a high school classmate of Mizuno and Yamashita.
Yoshiki Mizuno (水野 良樹 Mizuno Yoshiki?) (born December 17, 1982) is the band's lead member and guitarist. He primarily uses the electric guitar. Born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, he moved to the city Ebina, Kanagawa Prefecture, at an early age. Education: Junior High School Otani Sugikubo City Ebina, high school Prefectural Atsugi, Kanagawa. After Ronin mask in Economics, Politics, Meiji University, graduated from Department of Sociology, Hitotsubashi University.
Hotaka Yamashita (山下 穂尊 Yamashita Hotaka?) (born August 27, 1982) is the guitarist and harmonicist of the band He was born in Ebina City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Education: Junior High School Otani Sugikubo Ebina City, schools of higher Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, graduated from Department of Sociology, Hosei University.
Takashi Adachi (安達 貴史 Adachi Takashi?) (born December 27, 1982).
Indie albums Release Title Label Serial number
1st 25 August 2003 Makoto ni Senetsu Nagara First Album wo Koshirae Mashita... (誠に僭越ながらファーストアルバムを拵えました・・・?) cubit club TSR-001
2nd 28 August 2004 Shichishoku Konnyaku (七色こんにゃく?) cubit club QBIX-11
3rd 25 May 2005 Jinsei Sugoroku Dabe. (人生すごろくだべ。?) cubit club QBIX-15
Major albumsAlbum Release Title Serial number Peak Position Sales
1st 7 March 2007 Sakura Saku Machi Monogatari ESCL-2910 4 249,183 copies
2nd 13 February 2008 Life Album ESCL-3046 2 251,703 copies
3rd 24 December 2008 My Song Your Song ESCL-3146 1 446,014 copies
4th 23 December 2009 Hajimari no Uta ESCL-3354
ESCL-3356 1 470,051 copies
Singles Release Title Serial number Peak position Sales
1st 15 March 2006 Sakura
"Sakura" (Cherry Blossoms)
"Hot Milk" (ホットミルク?)
"Sotsugyō Shashin" (卒業写真 Graduation Photo?)
"Sakura -Instrumental-" ESCL-2803 17 59,758 copies
2nd 31 May 2006 Hanabi
"Amai Nigai Jikan" (甘い苦い時間 Sweet and Bitter Time?)
"Momen no Handkerchief" (木綿のハンカチーフ Cotton Handkerchief?)
"Hanabi: Instrumental" ESCL-2823 5 56,584 copies
3rd 18 October 2006 Koisuru Otome (コイスルオトメ?)
"Koisuru Otome" (コイスルオトメ A Girl in Love?)
"Nirinka" (二輪花 Two Flowers?)
"Get Crazy! -Aki Mix Version-" (Get Crazy! -秋 Mix Version-?)
"Koisuru Otome: Instrumental" ESCL-2885 15 15,226 copies
4th 6 December 2006 Ryūsei Miracle (流星ミラクル?)
"Ryūsei Miracle" (流星ミラクル Shooting Star Miracle?)
"Yuki Yamanu Yoru Futari" (雪やまぬ夜二人 Two in the Night With Endless Snow?)
"Kaze ni Fukarete" (風に吹かれて Blown in the Wind?)
"Ryūsei Miracle: Instrumental" ESCL-2897 22 20,195 copies
5th 14 February 2007 Uruwashiki Hito / Seishun no Tobira (うるわしきひと / 青春のとびら?)
"Uruwashiki Hito" (うるわしきひと A Beautiful Person?)
"Seishun no Tobira" (青春のとびら The Door of Youth?)
"Haru Ichiban" (春一番 The Best Spring?)
"Uruwashiki Hito: Instrumental"
"Seishun no Tobira: Instrumental" ESCL-2925 17 18,695 copies
6th 8 August 2007 Natsuzora Graffiti / Seishun Line (夏空グラフィティ / 青春ライン?)
Natsuzora Graffiti (夏空グラフィティ Summer Sky Graffiti?)
"Seishun Line" (青春ライン Youth Line?)
"Aoi Fune" (蒼い舟 Blue Boat?)
"Natsuzora Graffiti: Instrumental"
"Seishun Line: Instrumental" ESCL-2975 10 37,754 copies
7th 24 October 2007 Akaneiro no Yakusoku (茜色の約束?)
"Akaneiro no Yakusoku" (茜色の約束 Crimson-Colored Promise?)
"Kokoro Hitotsu Aru ga Mama" (心一つあるがまま There Remains a Heart?)
"Tsukiyo Koi Kaze" (月夜恋風 The Moon's Night Wind of Love?)
"Akaneiro no Yakusoku: Instrumental" ESCL-3012 7 45,872 copies
8th 30 January 2008 Hana wa Sakura Kimi wa Utsukushi (花は桜 君は美し?)
"Hana wa Sakura Kimi wa Utsukushi" (花は桜 君は美し Flowers Are Cherry Blossoms; You're Beautiful?)
"Saigo no Hōkago" (最後の放課後 Last After School?)
"Hana wa Sakura Kimi wa Utsukushi: Instrumental" ESCL-3045 7 33,631 copies
9th 16 April 2008 Kaeritaku Natta yo (帰りたくなったよ?)
"Kaeritaku Natta yo" (帰りたくなったよ I Felt Like Going Home?)
"Nokori Kaze" (残り風 Remaining Wind?)
"Kaeritaku Natta yo: Instrumental"
"Nokori Kaze: Instrumental" ESCL-3058 7 59,975 copies
10th 9 July 2008 Bluebird (ブルーバード?)
Natsuiro Wakusei (夏色惑星 Summer Colored Planet?)
"Bluebird: Instrumental" ESCL-3083 3 90,267 copies
11th 15 October 2008 Planetarium (プラネタリウム?)
"Happy Smile Again"
"Kaeri Taku Natta yo Konnitsuā!! 2008 Live Ver."
"Planetarium: Instrumental" ESCL-3114 5 36,287 copies
12th 3 December 2008 Kimagure Romantic (気まぐれロマンティック?)
"Kimagure Romantic (気まぐれロマンティック Capricious Romantic?)
"Kimagure Romantic: Instrumental" ESCL-3139 4 44,790 copies
13th 27 May 2009 Futari (ふたり?)
"Futari" (ふたりTwo of Us?)
"Kokoro no Hana wo Sakaseyou (Live)" (心の花を咲かせよう Let's Make the Flowers of Our Hearts Bloom?)
"Futari: Instrumental" ESCL-3200 7 58,180 copies
14th 15 July 2009 Hotaru no Hikari (ホタルノヒカリ?)
"Hotaru no Hikari" (ホタルノヒカリ Light of the Fireflies?)
"Omoide no Sukima" (おもいでのすきま Opening to Memories?)
"Hotaru no Hikari: Instrumental" ESCL-3253 5 47,964 copies
15th 23 September 2009 Yell/Joyful (YELL/じょいふる?)
"Joyful: Instrumental" ESCL-3280 2 121,934 copies
16th 11 November 2009 Naku Monka (なくもんか?)
"Naku Monka" (なくもんか I Won't Cry?)
"Naku Monka: Instrumental" ESCL-3299 6 39,132 copies
17th 10 March 2010 Nostalgia (ノスタルジア?)
"Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo" (時をかける少女 Girl Who Leapt Through Time?)
"Yell -with chorus" (YELL-合唱付-?)
"Nostalgia: Instrumental" ESCL-3385 TBA TBA
Futari no Ai land (ふたりの愛ランド?) (Online sales was started on 1 August 2006 by Sony Music Online Japan) - It is a cover version of a song by Yūko Ishikawa (石川優子 Ishikawa Yūko?) and Chage.
14 Princess: Princess Princess Children (14プリンセス
Princess Princess Children?) (released on 8 March 2006 on SME Records): #10 Get Crazy!
Theme songs and tie-ins
"Hanabi" – used as the seventh ending theme for Bleach.
"Seishun Line" – used as the second opening theme for Ookiku Furikabutte.
"Kaeritaku Natta yo" – used as the theme song for the movie Sunadokei.
"Bluebird" – used as the third title opening for Naruto: Shippuden.
"Ryūsei Miracle" – used as a title opening for the first 12 episodes of Ayakashi Ayashi.
"Nokori Kaze" – main theme for the Nintendo DS video game Bleach: The 3rd Phantom.
"Planetarium" – used as the ending theme in the drama Cat Street.
"Kimagure Romantic" – used as the ending theme in the drama Celeb and Poor Taro (セレブと貧乏太郎 Serebu to Binbotarō?).
"Futari" – used as the theme song for the drama series Boku no Imouto.
"Hotaru no Hikari" – used as the fifth title opening of Naruto: Shippuden.
"Naku Monka" - used as the theme song for the eponymous movie Naku Monka.
"Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo" - used as the insert song for the eponymous movie "Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo" otherwise known as "Girl Who Leapt Through Time"