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Japanese Rock Band Goes English

Japanese Rock Band Goes English
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​It took 10 years for a popular Japanese rock band to release a music album in both English and Japanese.

"This is my dream," said Takahiro Moriuchi, one member of One OK Rock.

Two of the band's four members spent time in VOA's music studios last week. They were tired after a long trip from Japan. But they spent some time talking with Larry London on (VOA's) Border Crossings.

Moriuchi and Toru Yamashita say they hope to spread the band's message in both languages to fans around the world.

Singer Moriuchi, 27, told VOA their message is that everyone should try their best to succeed.

"That's my opinion, but it's really simple. Just … never give up, dream come true."

One OK Rock joined together in 2005. In the past 10 years they have released seven albums. Their seventh album, 35xxxv, reached the No. 1 spot on the weekly Oricon albums chart in February. Oricon measures the success of albums in the Japanese music industry.

In July the band signed a contract with Warner Brothers Records, an international record company.

This most recent work is the band's first attempt to record two different versions of the same music. The Japanese recording was released in February. The album was recorded a second time in English. This version came to the US in September.

In the past, however, the band often wrote the words to its songs in a mix of both Japanese and English.

Mr. Moriuchi says that English is very difficult for him. But, he hopes the band's Japanese audience will improve their language skills by listening. He also says that writing in English adds something special to their music.

"I love English ... Yeah. Sounds, like, really beautiful, for me. And then, when I was kid, I always listening... you know, English music."

Guitar player Toru Yamashita, 26, formed the band with high school friend and bass player Ryota Kohama, 26. Mr. Yamashita then asked Mr. Moriuchi to join. When the original drummer left the band, Tomoya Kanki, 28, officially joined in 2007.

Rock is a type of music with roots in U.S. culture. It has influences from country and blues music going back to the 1940s. There are many types of rock music, but it is usually focused around electric guitar and an amplifier.

Mr. Moriuchi says that American music is an important influence for One OK Rock. He lists Foo Fighters and Linkin Park among the bands that shape their music. He also says that music is like a language everyone understands.

"The most important thing is feeling, like… passion."

The band will begin performing across the U.S. on October 9 with the groups "All Time Low" and "Sleeping with Sirens." On December 2, they will begin performing across Europe with the groups "We Came As Romans" and "Dead!"

I'm Pete Musto.

Pete Musto reported and wrote this story for VOA news. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

The website for One OK Rock is located here.


Words in This Story

chartn. a list that shows which music recordings have sold the most during a recent period of time

guitarn. a musical instrument that is held against the front of your body and that has usually six strings which are played with your fingers or with a pick

bassn. a kind of guitar that usually has four strings and that makes low sounds

drummern. a person who plays a drum or a set of drums

countryn. a style of music that developed in the southern and western U.S. and that often contains lyrics relating to the lives of people who live in the country

bluesn. a style of music that was created by African-Americans in the southern U.S. and that often expresses feelings of sadness

band(s) – n. a usually small group of musicians who play popular music together

Now it’s your turn. How often do you listen to music with English words? Are there popular musical acts in your country that write in English as well as your language? Let us know in the comments section.