29 October 2011

TOKIO, From Spaceships to the Over 30s World

Members: Joshima Shigeru (guitar), Kokubun Taichi (keyboard), Yamaguchi Tatsuya (bass), Matsuoka Masahiro (drums) & Nagase Tomoya (lead vocals, guitar)

Top (left to right) Yamaguchi Tatsuya, Joshima Shigeru & Kokubun Taichi
Bottom (left to right) Nagase Tomoya & Matsuoka Masahiro

With the unexpected end to Otokogumi in 1994 Johnny’s decided to debut a new band group and TOKIO had their debut. Their debut concert was held at Nippon Budokan, which is a goal for many Japanese rock bands.

TOKIO was a Junior group for a while and played the same role current Junior bands, like FiVe and Question?, do today by being the live backing band for other groups at concerts. Nagase was not originally in the line-up but for a while was a support member of the group until one of the original members of the group quit shortly before the band’s debut.

Their first single was Love Only You which has remained a personal favorite song of the group and their fans. Their second single, Ashita no Kimi wo Mamoritai, was a tie in the Spaceship Yamato 2025 anime series which began their anime tie-ins for their singles that their early singles had. Their most successful single is 2006’s Sorafune which was used for the TV drama series My Boss, My Hero, which starred Nagase Tomoya.

Like Otokogumi TOKIO do write their own songs, though mainly the B-sides and album tracks but sometimes their singles as well. Unlike Otokogumi they are more pop than rock when it comes to their music.

They have changed music labels a couple times in their career. They began on Sony Music Japan’s label before switching to Universal Music Japan. Then in 2008 they made their last switch to an agency owned music label, J-Storm.

Like most post-SMAP groups TOKIO have their own variety programs, currently 5LDK and Tetsuwan DASH. Joshima, Taichi and Yamaguchi individually host several different programs on top of those two group shows.

Not only is Joshima Shigeru the oldest of the group he’s also the leader of it and is often just called Leader by just about everyone, even members of other groups. His life is suffering (gets forgotten, has a tendency to be uncoordinated, is thought of to be an old man even when he was young) but he suffers it well. Which makes it all the more surprising to see him play guitar, especially in concerts, since he seems just so happy and energetic when he plays.

Kokubun Taichi is rather energetic and a big soccer fan. He’s also a runner and participated and finished the Tokyo Marathon in 2011. Taichi co-starred in a movie with Domoto Tsuyoshi and together they released a single for the theme song, Fantastipo, under the name Toraji to Haiji.

Yamaguchi Tatsuya is the only member of the group to be married so far. He also has two sons with his wife who he married in 2008. He loves surfing and has even taken other members of the agency with him to surf.

Matsuoka Masahiro is the quiet one of the group. He has directed the PVs for the band since their 2002 single ding-dong. He also is known for being a good cook and will bring food he made in for the band when they’re doing concerts.

Nagase Tomoya is the youngest of the group and probably the most popular because of his drama roles. A couple of popular dramas he has starred in are My Boss, My Hero and Tiger and Dragon. Even though he’s the main vocalist of the group he also plays guitar. Nagase is the only Johnny’s artist to ever be featured on MTV Unplugged (Japan only of course).

Top (left to right) Joshima Shigeru & Yamaguchi Tatsuya
Bottom (left to right) Matsuoka Masahiro, Nagase Tomoya & Kokubun Taichi

Trivia: All members but Nagase were in the same Junior group with the members of SMAP, Skate Boys.

TOKIO has had others from Johnny’s star in their PVs, Nakajima Yuto in Jibun no Tame ni and Ikuta Toma in NaNaNa (Taiyou Nante Irane).

Next Entry > Victory, Volleyball, Vegetable, Vicylce? V6

Directory >
Johnny’s Juniors, full of rising stars and heartbreak
The Early and Rocky Path to Fame
Kondo Masahiko: Singer, Dancer, Actor, Professional Race Car Driver
Giving a New Meaning to Playzone, Shounentai
Hikaru Genji, Shining the Brightest and Crashing the Hardest
Otokogumi, Rocking It Old School
The Living Legend of SMAP
TOKIO, From Spaceships to the Over 30s World
Victory, Volleyball, Vegetable, Vicylce? V6
KinKi Kids, It's Not What You Think
Arashi, Storming to the Top
The Inseparable Duo, Tackey & Tsubasa
North, East, West, South ... It's big NEWS
Kansai Underdogs,  Kanjani∞
Cartoon? KAT-TUN!
Jumping to Their Dreams, Hey! Say! JUMP
Johnny's Black Sheep, Akanishi Jin
How to Debut Without Even Trying, Ikuta Toma
Kis-My-Ft2, Everybody Go (Roller Skating)!
Yamashita Tomohisa, Johnny’s Golden Boy
Entering the Sexy Zone
The 5Stars A.B.C-Z
International Ventures
Johnny's and Charity 
Odds & Ends


Jackie said...

When I think of TOKIO, I always see Nagase in my mind. He´s simply the most popular I think.
I´ve seen several dramas of him and I loved "My Boss my Hero", it´s just hilarious !
And I love TOKIO´s "Sorafune" a lot.
Anyway, thanks for this entry!

Thennary Nak said...

He does seem the most recognizable of the group and of course all the dramas he does help with that.

My Boss My Hero seems to be a big hit overall, I've even known people who normally like J-dramas love it.

And you're welcome as always.

kyun said...

The most underatted JE group IMO...
Mabo isn't the quiet one tho... He is the one who talk the most aside from Taichi.. xDD