major - active (1994 - )
TOKIO make slightly untypical music considering they were put together as a unit under the management of Johnny's Entertainment. In comparison to their colleagues, the members of TOKIO still know how to rock. The five members are all skilled with their instruments, and seem to lay more value on musical diversity than for example KinKi Kids or SMAP do. Despite the fact they don't avoid ballads, the number of cuddle-songs is kept to a limit.

Next to their typical 'boygroup'-cliché-pop on their albums, you find several harder songs with metal-like riffs (e.g. daybreak), after which could follow an a capella song like Lion Heart.

They offer fairly diverse music that shouldn't lead to boredom in particular for pop fans.
author: Yoosh - translation: Sefs (2009-03-14)
line up
TOKIO is a boy group that started their carreer under Johnny's label. To begin with, like their colleagues from SMAP, they were background dancers for the 80s idol group, Hikaru Genji. After their career ended, the members of SMAP as well as the five dancers who would later form TOKIO began their careers as singers.

While SMAP had their debut in 1991, TOKIO still had to wait several years for their future 'leader' Joushima Shigeru. During that time, the individual members performed in different combinations. For example, Joushima Shigeru and Yamaguchi Tatsuya formed the duo Joushima Band, before Johnny Kitagawa (the owner of Johnnys Entertainment) brought them together in the final project, TOKIO in 1990.

It took a few more years before they could release their first single LOVE YOU ONLY in 1994. Before the release, Kojima Hiromu left the band and was replaced by Nagase Tomoya. That same year they had their first performance at the annual NHK Kouhakutagassen (annual show at New Year's Eve).

With the appearance of the single doitsu mo koitsu mo in 2001, followed the switch from Sony Music Entertainment to the label of Universal Music. Their single Transistor G Girl released in early 2004 became the promotional song for the JR NOZOMI Shinkansen. (the fastest Shinkansen in Japan) Meanwhile, the single released in February 2006, Mr. Traveling Man was chosen as the theme song for the TBS dorama "Yaoh".

Like many of their genre-collegues, the quintet received their own TV show, or rather two: Gachinko and Za! Testuwan! Dash!!. Besides that, Masahiro Matsuoka and Tomoya Nagase played roles in various doramas.

In 2004, the group celebrated their tenth anniversary with the release of a best-of album, TOK10 and lives in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo's Budoukan. The 11th started with the release of more stirringly anthemnic rock songs such as Jibun no tame ni and Ashita wo mezashite. That year, Kokubun Taichi took some time to pursue a solo project along with Domoto Tsuyoshi of the KinKi Kids. Together they formed Toraji Haiji, singing the theme for the movie Fantastipo, in which the pair appeared. The group followed this up with the success of the single, Sorafune which provided the theme tune to the drama series My Boss, My Hero starring Nagase Tomoya. Sorafune had very impressive sales with over 400,000 copies sold and still charting in the Top 50, 4 and a half months after its release.

Now entering their 15th year as a unit, the band has released 15 albums and 39 singles. Most recent was another drama tie-in, to accompany Matsuoka Masahiro appearing in Yasuko to Kenji. Aigasa was released in August 2008 and while apart from their 15th successive appearance on Kouhaku on New Years Eve, the band had been quiet. Nonetheless, TOKIO will surely be back soon with more of their catchy pop-rock.
author: Yoosh - translation: Sefs (2009-03-14)

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