Ikimono Gakari Profile and History

Posted by Ami chan on Saturday, 8 October 2011



Kiyoe Yoshioka (吉岡聖恵, Yoshioka Kiyoe)
Position: Vocal
Birthplace: Kanagawa Prefecture, Atsugi
Date of birth: 29-2-1984
Blood type: A
Height: 165cm

nickname: きよえちゃん(Kiyoe-chan)、よっしぃ(yoshi)^O^
Favorite color: Yellow Favorite
Expertise: Singing
Personality: outgoing, lively

Born February 29, 1984 from Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture. She is a graduate of Ebina High School and the Showa Academia Musicae Junior College.
She is the band's lead vocalist, and has written lyrics to some of the band's songs. Her older brother was a classmate of both Hotaka and Yoshiki at high school. Her nicknames are Yosshie and Kiyoe-chan.


Hotaka Yamashita (山下穂尊, Yamashita Hotaka)
Position: Guitar & Harmonica
Birthplace: Ebina City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Date of birth: 1982.8.27
Blood type: O
Height: 174cm

Nickname: Mizuho っ ち (Hocchi), や ま ん ち ゃ (Yama-chan)
Favorite color : green
Expertise : mouth organ, acoustic guitar, composer / word
Personality : gentle and courteous, pragmatic and calm

Born August 27, 1982 from Ebina-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture. He is a graduate of Atsugi High School and the Faculty of Social Sciences, Hosei University. He plays the guitar and harmonica, and has written lyrics and melodies to some of the band's songs. His nicknames are Hocchi and Yama-chan.


Yoshiki Mizuno (水野良樹, Mizuno Yoshiki)
Position: Guitar & Leader
Birthplace: Ebina City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Date of Birth: 17-12-1982
Blood type: A
Height: 168cm

nickname: よ ん っ ち ゃ (Yocchan)
Favorite color: blue
Good: electric guitar, composer / word
Personality : approachable, black humor

Born December 17, 1982 from Ebina-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture. He is a graduate of Atsugi High School and the Faculty of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University. He is the leader of the band, and plays the guitar and vocals. He has also written lyrics and melodies to some of the band's songs. His nickname is Yocchan.


Formation of Ikimono Gakari
      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. Yamashita later noted that he really wanted to be a "blackboard monitor". Yamashita and Mizuno formed their band on February 1, 1999, 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, which would be 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, "Natsuiro" (夏色, "The Colors of Summer").

      In September 2000, they suspended the band to focus on college entrance examinations for Yamashita and Mizuno. After attending Meiji University and hoping to transfer to a better school, Mizuno was admitted to Hitotsubashi University. Meanwhile, Yamashita got into Hosei University. In March 2002, the band resumed playing together; however, Yoshioka became discouraged for a while due to the strict regimen of rehearsals required by her music school. However, Mizuno dedicated himself to persuading Yoshioka, and to meeting the emotional challenges she faced.

      By March 2003, after a difficult journey, Yoshioka recovered, she saw this as a second chance to grow as a person. Again, the band re-formed, but now, they were performing with the intent of supporting their increasing fame. As their style of music was moving more 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 and rely less on covers.

Music Style
      Ikimono-gakari's musical style stems from their original lounge rock  style found on their first three mini albums under Cubit Club. Their primary instruments were the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar, and the harmonica. Their initial 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". Additionally, they recorded songs with faster tempos, such as "Ryūsei Miracle" and "Hinageshi".

      Ikimono-gakari began to shift to a more mainstream pop sound with their second and third albums, Life Album and My Song Your Song. 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.

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