Given that this is an anime forum, I’m sure most of you have heard of a few songs (“Haruka Kanata”, “Rewrite”, “After Dark”), but that isn’t what this is about. So if you’re just going to post “I love Rewrite and Naruto!”…don’t. This is about music.
Masafumi Gotoh: Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Kensuke Kita: Lead guitar, back vocals
Takahiro Yamada: Bass, back vocals
Kiyoshi Ichiji: Drums, Piano
Asian Kung-Fu Generation was founded by Masafumi Gotoh (he signs his name with the h) in 1996, while all the members attended Kanto Gakuin University. Initially it consisted only of Masafumi, Kensuke, and Takahiro, until they were able to recruit Kiyoshi, who was a member of another band at the time, several months later.
After graduating, the group performed at local clubs in the Yokohama area, and eventually made their first release in 2000, as collaboration with a group called Caramelman, entitled Caramelman and Asian Kung-Fu Generation. Later this year their released their first independent solo EP, The Time Past And I Could Not See You Again written mostly in english. The track “Konayuki” (Powder Snow) received repeated radio play by a popular radio DJ by demand of listeners. In 2001 the band released their second independent EP, I’m Standing Here, which was recorded entirely in Japanese. With this, the band began performing around Tokyo.
After getting signed to Under Flower records in 2002, the band released their first major-label EP, Houkai Amplifier. The EP proved successful, and the band was signed to Ki/oon Records, a part of Sony Music Japan. In the summer of 2003 the band held their first miniature festival called Nano-Mugen Festival at Shinjuku Loft, with several other bands they had come to know who were still independent. At the end of the year they released their first full album, Kimi Tsunagi Five M, headed by the singles “Mirai no Kakera” (Fragments of the Future) and “Kimi to iu Hana” (“A Flower called You”).
In the summer of 2004, the band held their third Nano-Mugen Festival, this time at the famed Nippon Budokon. Afterward the band released the singles “Siren”, “Rewrite”, and “Kimi no Machi Made” (“To Your Town”), before releasing their 2nd album, Sol-fa, at the end of the year. The album received critical acclaim for having a sound that “broke the language barrier”, a problem which has held down a great number of Japanese bands from succeeding outside the nation’s borders. Sony Music Japan was successfully petitioned by foreign listeners to release the album outside of Japan (Tofu Records released the album in the United States in 2005, before shutting down several years later). At the end of 2004, the band released its first DVD, Eizo Sakuhinshu 1kan, a collection of their music videos up until that point.
At the beginning of 2005 the band released their second DVD, Eizo Sakuhinshu 2kan, encompassing two concerts held at the Budokon that winter. The held their 4th Nano-Mugen Festival that summer at Yokohama Arena, this time inviting several UK bands to perform, and writing the song “Blackout” for the show. The band ended 2005 with the release of the single “Blue Train”.
They opened 2006 with the single “World Apart”, which is their first and only song to reach #1 on Japanese charts, despite the overwhelming success of all their other singles. The band was able to purchase its own studio, in which they recorded their third full album, Fanclub, released that spring. In the summer they held their 6th Nano-Mugen Festival, featuring bands from Japan, the US, and England. For this year they wrote the song “Jyuni Shinhou no Yukei” (“Evening Glow of the Analog Clock”)
2007 saw the released of Feedback File, composed of the B-side from all of their singles, and their third DVD, Eizo Sakuhinshu 3kan, another compilation of live performances.. The band was hired to write a theme song for the upcoming film “Tekkon Kinkreet”, for which the band produced the single “Aru Machi no Gunjou” (“A Certain Town in Cerulean”). They skipped putting on another Nano-Mugen Festival this year in favor of performing at other Festivals during the summer. In the fall they released the single “After Dark”.
The beginning of 2008 saw the release of the single “Korogaru Iwa, Kimi ni Asa ga Furu” (“Rolling Stone, the Moring Light Falls On You”), followed by the album World World World. Three months later the band released their second major-label EP, Mada Minu Ashita Ni (“Into an Unseen Tomorrow”). The band held Nano-Mugen Festival once again, again feature bands from the Japan, the US, and the UK. This year they wrote the song “Natsuzemi” (“The Summer Cicada”). The end of the year saw the release of the long in production album Surf Bungaku Kamakura, headed by b-side songs released on earlier singles, and the new single “Fujisawa Loser[/i]. Each song was titled with cities at stops along the Enoshima Electric Railway. Their fourth DVD Eizo Sakuhinshu 4kan was released at the end of the year, another music video compilation.
The beginning of 2009 saw the release of their 5th DVD, Eizo Sakuhinshu 5kan, another collection of live performances. The summer Nano-Mugen Festival produced the song “Yoru no Call” (“Night’s Call”). The band has announced another live concert DVD for October, and has said they will begin recording in the studio again this fall.
Asian Kung-Fu Generation’s style has changed greatly over the years. Their independent releases and Houkai Amplifier reflect a Weezer-styled punk influence, with lyrics about finding a way in life. Kimi Tsunagi Five M showed a more independent style of rock music, lyrically having a fairly negative standpoint. Sol-fa maintained much of the rock stylings of the prior album, but had considerably more pop influences. The lyrics of the album, while similar to the prior album, view things in a more positive light, and focus on making things better. Fanclub showed itself to be a pure pop album with classical overtones, with lyrics focusing around hopelessness. World World World showed a much more balanced alternative pop feeling, with lyrics reflecting changing our world for the better, and making progress as a species.
"Kaiga Kyoushitsu" ("Class Picture")
"Jyunni Shinhou no Yukei" ("Evening Glow of the Analog Clock")