|Origin||Kansai region, Japan|
|Genres||Pop, enka, rock|
|Labels||Teichiku Records (2004-2007)|
Imperial Records (2007-present)
Kanjani Eight (関ジャニ∞ Kanjani Eito , Kanjani∞) is a seven member Japanese music and entertainment group hailing from Japan's Kansai region. They are managed by the multimedia talent agency, Johnny & Associates, and signed to Imperial Records. The group was formed in 2002 and made their CD debut in 2004 as "Johnny's modern enka group", though after the year 2006, their sound and style has became a generic mix of pop and rock.
Like the rest of the acts managed under Johnny's & Associates, Kanjani Eight also perform in various others spectrums of the Japanese entertainment industry such as variety show hosting, television, movie, and stage acting, and radio talk show hosting.
The key point to the group's appeal is their stereotypical approach as men from Kansai. Loud, blunt, fast talking, and funny is the market appeal that the band is portrayed in the media. Majority of their songs carry a carefree, goofy sound with upbeat cheerful lyrics and catchy tunes, though the group is also known to have a serious side that shows when they write their own material.
Combination of two groups: 2002 – 2003
Kanjani Eight was the combination of the four top leading Kansai Juniors of the "Junior golden age" and the newly popular V. West (Five West), a rock band Kansai Junior unit. Prior to the creation of the group, Subaru Shibutani, Yuu Yokoyama, Shingo Murakami, and Ryo Nishikido were one of the top leading juniors of the time, headlining many Junior hosted programs and acting in dramas. After the debuts of Arashi and Tackey and Tsubasa, the golden era was suddenly coming to an end and so was their popularity. By the year 2001 all their activity had slowed down to magazine photoshoots.
On the contrary, a new Kansai Junior unit named V. West was taking off in popularity, more so than their eastern counterpart FiVe. The group consisted of Ryuhei Maruyama, Shota Yasuda, Hiroki Uchi, Kiyohito Mizuno, and Tooru Imayama. The group became so popular that by 2001 they had their own television show, Weekly V. West. But, when Mizuno and Imayama left Johnny's & Associates, worry had begun to creep within unit as to their fate within the talent agency. Suddenly, Tadayoshi Ohkura had been added to the group as a support drummer and then a member soon after.
In 2002, after the end of Weekly V. West, a new program was created to replace it on Kansai TV Channel 8 entitled J3Kansai (prounced as J Cube Kansai). This show brought together the top leading Kansai Juniors of the golden age and V. West creating the new Junior group, Kanjani, a portmanteau of the words Kansai Johnny's. With the success of the stage play, Another, the group became official garnering the name Kanjani Eight. The "8" stood for the channel that the show J3Kansai aired on. Tadayoshi Ohkura was added as an official member in the 9th episode finalizing the group as an eight-member group.
Kanjani Eight, as a newly formed group, held their first concert in December of 2002, titled " Kanjani Eight Xmas Party 2002 ". This concert ended up becoming a yearly tradition before ending in 2005. It was also the birthplace of the group's signature act, Kanjani Sentai Eight Ranger.
But, things had shifted again to uncertainty for the group in 2003. Things weren't going great for many of the members and talks of leaving the agency were becoming commonplace. Tension and anxiety grew more within the group when Ryo Nishikido and Hiroki Uchi were called to go to Tokyo to form the new boyband fronted by Tomohisa Yamashita (Yamapi by fans) called NEWS. With NEWS' debut, Kanjani Eight's future had become a blank page.
Debut: 2004 – 2005
The debut of NEWS put a major dent in the morale of the majority of members of Kanjani Eight. The members were now considering leaving the agency believing that a debut wasn't going to happen since NEWS had made their debut and two of their members were apart of the 9-member group.
In August of 2004, the group had released their debut single titled "Naniwa Iroha Bushi" in the Kansai area. The single had became a local hit, capturing the traditional feel of their hometown region through the pop-enka tune. Despite the release of the CD, their debut was lack luster leaving many to question if the debut actually was real. The members themselves had found out of the debut through a newspaper article; Shibutani had said that he was " Very surprised " when he found out.
Even though there was questions about the group's debut, "Naniwa Iroha Bushi" had rose to the number one spot on the Oricon's Enka charts and reaching #8 on the Oricon's generic music charts. When the single made its nationwide debut on September 22nd (Shibutani's birthday), it had hit #1 on both the Oricon Enka and General Music charts.
Much of 2004 activities were Kansai region focused in comparison their fellow acts who had the luxuries of nationwide exposure. Kanjani Eight had become hometown idols with majority of their popularity within the region but outside the area they were almost unknown. The release of their second single, "Osaka Rainy Blues", further exemplified the fact with the CD single debuting #9 on the Oricon. To this date, "Osaka Rainy Blues" is the group's lowest single in sales.
2005 had marked the launch of Kanjani Eight's popularity even though it had opened up with the lackluster sales of their second single, "Osaka Rainy Blues." The group had been starring in three regular programs, now being aired nation wide, and were starting to get recognition as a debut Johnny's act. But with growing success came a scandal and in 2005 Hiroki Uchi was arrested for disorderly conduct and underage drinking, being 19 at the time.
The scandal had a significant impact on Kanjani Eight as well as NEWS, the other group he was active in. Johnny's & Associates removed Uchi from both units and put him under an indefinite hiatus from all activities. Also, the drama special about the WWII Kamikaze pilots starring the group, Yakusoku, was canceled. Kanjani Eight continued on that year to do their first Osaka-jō Hall performance with one member less in the summer of 2005.
KJ1 F.T.O: 2006
After the nationwide exposure and scandal in 2005, Kanjani Eight were pushing forward without looking back. Their late 2005 single, "Sukiyanen, Osaka/Sakura Enka (Oh! Enka)/Mugendai" had shown signs of the group's growing success opening at #2 on the Weekly Oricon charts and in March of 2006, the group had released their first nationwide debut album, KJ1 F.T.O, the title standing for Kanjani 1: Funky Town Osaka. The album had hit #2 on the Oricon on it's debut.
Now known nationally and having an official album release under their belts, Kanjani Eight had begun their first tour. Named after the album's title, the F.T.O.N, Funky Tokyo Osaka Nagoya, concert tour spanned the three cities for six days and tweny performances in total. Soon after the small spring concert tour, the band launched their first nationwide tour, entitled Nationwide 1-St Tour 2006 followed up with a part two winter concert which was appropriately named after the release of their first #1 single, "Kanfuu Fighting". Both tours were a total of 46 performances.
As with all Johnny's, music and television appearances were not the only thing on the group's active schedule. 2006 had also marked the acting debut leads for Ohkura, Maruyama, and Yasuda. By the end of 2006, the group had been in more than four dramas including the Kansai TV Drama Special showcasing the entire band in three separate stories.
Kanjani Eight had also be active in several stage plays, returning once again for the third year in a row to headline the popular Johnny's & Associates produced play, Dream Boys, with KAT-TUN. This year also marked the end of their Summer Special stage play series with the return of Another as "Another's ANOTHER". Their final Summer Special stage play had a total of 58 performances and marked the last time Kanjani Eight would ever perform at Osaka Shochiku-za Theater, a place in which many fans had considered home for the group.
KJ2 Zukkoke Dai Dassō: 2007
2007 would be marked as the year of Kanjani Eight's success as a group and as a Johnny. The year had opened up with the chart toping single, "Kanfuu Fighting", which was then followed by the release of their second single, "Zukkoke Otoko Michi" (The Foolish Manly Road). This single debuted at #1 on the Weekly Charts and #3 for the month of April. The single went later on to be the #18 top selling single of 2007. Despite the popularity of the song, it still wasn't as substantial as the success of "Kanfuu Fighting" which had been #9 on the 2007 yearly charts.
The release of "Zukkoke Otoko Michi" also marked the change of labels from Teichiku Records to its subsidiary, Imperial Records partly due to the change of sound that the band had. Teichiku is an Enka label and the change to Imperial allowed the band to be on a label with a broader sound as Imperial is Teichiku Entertainment's pop/rock label.
June 2007 was the release of their second full-length album, KJ2 Zukkoke Dai Dassō (KJ2 The Foolish Great Escape). The album was a significant departure in sound from their first release, focusing the funk and rock side of things, but still didn't stop record sales as it had debut #1 on the Oricon and #2 overall for the month of June.
Majority of 2007 was spent on the road as the group had opened up 2007 holding a concert series as Kyocera Dome entitled Eh?! Honma?! Bikkuri!! Dome Concert in Osaka (Eh? Really?! Shocking!!). The concert tour was extended to a full-length nation wide tour of the same name, breaking records of being the first pop group ever to perform in all 47 prefectures in the same concert tour. The Eh! Honma! Bikkuri!! Tour 2007 had lasted five months and was a total of 113 performances.
In between all the concert activities, many members in Kanjani Eight were involved in other side projects. Yokoyama had starred in the FujiTV drama, Haikei, Chihiue (Dear, Father) as well as the drama adaptation of the manga, Yuukan Club (Leisure Club). Nishikido had stared in the Attention Please drama special and in 1 Liter of Tears. Ohkura had a role in the franchise revival of Hissatsu Shigotonin as well as a supporting role in the TBS Drama, Utahime (Songstress). Maruyama also held a role in the TBS Special, Wachigaiya Itosato ~ Onnatachi no Shinsengumi (Wachigaiya Itosato ~ The Women of the Shinsengumi).
Directly following up the concert was the release of their 7th single, "It's My Soul". The song had followed the style of its preceding single and album, and managed to hit #1 on the Oricon in its debut week and #2 overall for the month of October. The single managed to hit 22nd most sold single of 2007.
2007 had ended with the release of the documentary photobook and the concert DVD, 47, which was from the Tokyo Dome performance of their nation wide 2007 tour. 47 ended up becoming the top selling music DVD of 2008 on the Oricon charts, staying on for a solid 56 weeks.
Puzzle: 2008 – Present
2008 continued the flow of the band's high-speed activity for the first half of the year. The release of their 8th single, "Wahaha!!", met with success reaching #1 on the Weekly Oricon charts, Billboard Japan Hot 100, Billboard Japan Hot Single Sales, and reaching #27 on the top singles of 2008 (Oricon).
Right after their 4 city, 24 performance spring tour, Kanjani Eight hosted the NTV Special, Touch! Eco: Ashita no Tame ni… 55 no Chousen? Special (Touch! Eco: For the sake of tomorrow… 55 challenges? Special), a 13 hour television special spreading the awareness of ecology and the impact of energy waste and littering to the planet. Soon after, they hosted the sequel to their variety special, Sore Yuke! Daidaman, Daidaman Z.
Much of 2008 after June was spent with mild activities from the group. After the successful Summer Tour, the group released their 9th single, "Musekinin Hero." The single marked a milestone in the group's rising stardom by breaking over 300,000 units sold. The single had reached #1 on the charts and #11 on the 2008 yearly charts.
In 2009, Kanjani Eight had released their third album Puzzle after nearly 2 years since the release of Zukkoke Dai Dassou. Puzzle was a complete departure in sound compared to their previous two albums, containing more of mixture of R&B, rock, and pop songs. The album took only three months to complete and was released in April instantly garnering the #1 spot on the Oricon. The album ended up the #11 most sold album in the first half 2009. After a very successful concert tour, a DVD was released from their Tokyo Dome performance. The DVD had reached #1 on the General and Music DVD Oricon charts.
Their 10th single, "Kyū☆Jō☆Show!!", was released in November after nearly a year since their last single. The CD single hit #1 on the Oricon weekly charts and #2 overall for the month of November, despite the #1 spot, it did not beat the success of "Musekinin Hero."
In December 2009, Kanjani Eight released their 11th, 12th, and 13th single. "Gift" was released as three separate singles, white, red and green, with different songs on each one. The single release is the band's first Christmas themed song and is said by the group to be a "Gift to the fans". It was released on the day before Christmas Eve (White), Christmas Eve (Red), and Christmas Day (Green). With these releases, Kanjani Eight became the first (and so far only) group to occupy the top three spots in the Oricon singles chart at once.
In a news article concerning Hiroki Uchi becoming involved with the Japanese production of Guys and Dolls, Johnny Kitagawa stated that Uchi has been permanently removed from both Kanjani Eight and NEWS and will instead focus on solo work and acting.
Within Kanjani Eight are several subunits created by the members for various reasons, either for a creative outlet or for other special reasons such as concerts. Out of all the units created between them, only SanKyouDai and SubaruBAND have made it onto actual albums.
SubaruBAND – A rock band that is composed of Shibutani (vo), Maruyama (ba), Yasuda (g), and Ohkura (dr). The group made its first appearance in 2002 at the Kanjani Eight Xmas Party. The songs are composed by Yasuda, lyrics written by Shibutani, and arranged by the band. Notable songs are "One", "High Position", and "Down up ↑"
SanKyouDai – An acoustic band as well as a full sounding band with Maruyama and Ohkura on support. Its main members are Yuu (Yokoyama), Chipa (Yasuda), and Haru (Shibutani) and their first appearance was at the 2003 Kajani8 Xmas Party. Up until the Christmas 2005 show, SanKyoudai had released new song, these songs being, "Purin" (Pudding), "Amechan" (Candy), "Mikan" (Oranges), and "Onigishi" (Onigiri). Lyrics are written by Yuu and songs composed by Chipa.
There are also other lesser known subunits that the group has created such as OhYamaDa (band), SanBaka (Shibutani, Yokoyama, Murakami), Yasuba (Yasuda and Shibutani), and others.
Kanjani Sentai Eight Ranger
- X-mas Party [Christmas concerts] (2002 – 2005) at Osaka Shochiku-za
- Osaka-jo Hall Zenyasai 1st live (Summer 2005)
- F.T.O.N. (Funky Tokyo Osaka Nagoya) 1st tour (Summer 2006)
- 1st Nationwide tour (Fall/Autumn 2006)
- 2nd Nationwide tour (Winter 2006)
- KANJANI∞ Dome Concert in OSAKA "Eh?Honma?!Bikkuri!"("What! Really!? What a surprise!!") (February 24–25, 2007) at Kyocera Dome Osaka
- KKANJANI∞ Nationwide 47 Prefecture Tour "Eh?Honma?!Bikkuri! Tour 2007" (May 3 to September 30, 2007)
- KANJANI∞ LIVE TOUR 2008! "8 Da Yo! Zenin Shugo!" (April 3 to May 18, 2008)
- KANJANI∞ LIVE TOUR 2008 "Natsu Da! Tsuua Da! Wahaha!" (It's Summer! It's a tour! Wahaha!) (July 6 to August 31, 2008)
- KANJANI∞ TOUR 2009 PUZZLE (May 10 to July 30, 2009)
- KANJANI∞ DOME CONCERT 2009-2010 (Dec. 30, 2009 to Jan. 1, 2010)at Kyocera Dome Osaka
Weekly Variety Shows
- Kanpani (TV Asahi, 2009.10.07 – present)
- Ariehen Sekai (TV Tokyo, 2008.04.15 - present)
- Jani-Ben (Kansai TV, 2007.05.02 – present)
- -ended – Can!Jani (TV Asahi, 2008.10.04 – 2009.09.26)
- -ended – Mucha Buri (TV Tokyo, 2007.04.03 – 2008.03.25)
- -ended – Oishinsuke (TV Asahi, 2007.04.23 – 2007.09.10)
- -ended – Honjani (Kansai TV & Fuji TV, 2003.06.10 – 2007.04.25)
- -ended – Suka J (TV Tokyo, 2005.10.04 – 2007.03.27)
- -ended – Mugendai no Gimon (TV Tokyo, 2005.04.05 – 2005.09.27)
- -ended – Urajani (TV Tokyo, 2004.04.06 – 2005.03.29)
- -ended – J³Kansai (Kansai TV, 2002.10.02 – 2003.03.26)
Weekly radio shows
- Kanjani Eight Yokoyama You – Murakami Shingo no Recomen! (JOQR 1134, Thursdays 22:00–01:00)
- Kikujani8 (MBS 1179, Saturdays 23:30–24:00)
- Murakami Shingo no Jyukan! Kanjani Tsushin (ABC 1008, Sundays 24:00–24:30)
- Yakusoku (Kansai TV, production ended – Fall 2005; Screening undetermined)
- Dive to the Future (Kansai TV, 2006)
- Double (Kansai TV, 2006)
- Kemarishi (Kansai TV, 2006)
- Jitensha Shonenki Jitensha Shonenki (TV Tokyo, 2006)
- Summer Specials:
- Another (2002)
- Douton Boys (2003)
- Summer Storm (2004)
- Magical Summer (2005)
- Another's Another (2006)
- Magical Musical Dream Boy (2004)
- Hey!Say!Dream Boy(2005)
- Dream Boys (2006)
- Sukiyanen Instant Ramen
- Oronamin C (Nishikido Ryo & Okura Tadayoshi only)
- UFO Nissin Ramen
- U.F.O NEXT GENERATION
- TV Guide
- "Mugendai" for Robots (film) OST (Japan release)
- "Oh! Enka" for Nintama Rantarou (Ending theme)
- "Ai ni Mukatte" (愛に向かって) for Nintama Rantarou (Ending theme)
- Kanjani Eight "E! Honma!? Bikkuri!! TOUR 2007 Close-up Document Photobook - release: November 22, 2007
- Honma ni Kanjani 8!! Volumes 1-4
- ↑ "関ジャニ∞、動きまくった怒涛の1年！". 2007.12.26. http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/music/50747/. Retrieved 2009.12.14.
- ↑ "【年間映像ランキング】関ジャニ∞、ミュージックDVD全部門制覇". 2008.12.18. http://contents.oricon.co.jp/news/rankmusic/61310/full/. Retrieved 2009.12.14.
- ↑ "ジャニーズ、ジャパン・チャート４週連続で１位独占、山下達郎、桑田佳祐も上位に登場". 2008.03.20. http://listen.jp/store/musicnews_23248_all.htm. Retrieved 2009.12.14.
- ↑ "2008年11月第2週のシングルランキング情報". 2008.11.02. http://www.oricon.co.jp/search/result.php?kbn=js&types=rnk&year=2008&month=11&week=2&submit4.x=15&submit4.y=11. Retrieved 2009.12.14.
- ↑ "2009年11月第3週のシングルランキング情報". 2009.11.04. http://www.oricon.co.jp/search/result.php?kbn=js&types=rnk&year=2009&month=11&week=3&submit4.x=13&submit4.y=13. Retrieved 2009.12.14.
- ↑ "内初座長、再出発から３年「頑張った」 - 芸能ニュース : nikkansports.com". 2010-01-10. http://www.nikkansports.com/entertainment/news/p-et-tp0-20100110-584255.html.
- Teichiku official site
- Official Johnny & Associates site
- Johnny's J-Web Translations
- 関パニ Official Website