Last year I introduced you to Osaka based idol group Osaka Shunkashuto, at that time they were getting their foot in the J-pop door, and slowly pushing it open. One year later, that door has been slammed off it’s hinges as Osaka Shunkashuto are quickly becoming the hottest idol group to come out of Osaka.
When we looked at Osaka Shunkashuto last year, they were fresh out of Soezimax’s “CampFire” (similar to KickStarter in the West) campaign to help fund his vision of producing a female idol group with a fusion of rock and roll and idol group elements, including music videos featuring a lot of military hardware. Since then, the girls underwent vigorous military weaponry training so their movements in the music videos would seem authentic. Soezimax held a mini-audition to help decide which of the girls handled their weapon in the most authentic manner. That accolade went to my favourite member, Yuna!
Weapon handling audition for PV
There’s an extensive list of videos on Soezimax’s channel documenting the recording of the E.P and the music video. Some awesome Japanese actors were used (森崎正弘、大澤竜、松本大貴、市原厚樹、前田耕陽) and from the behind the scenes videos it’s easy to see everyone had a great time filming. The girls (along with Soezimax and his crew) worked incredibly hard around that time as they produced not one, but two main music videos. On top of that, inbetween shooting, they also made cover versions of popular songs too! Talk about having no days off! Here are the two music videos which were produced for the E.P. The first being a slow love ballad (Moshimo Aetanara), while the second is slightly heavier (Dawn of My Lifetime)…
もしも逢えたなら – 大阪★春夏秋冬
DAWN OF MY LIFETIME – 大阪★春夏秋冬
If you have time to watch some of the behind the scenes footage (links are provided after each music video) you’ll see lead vocalist Maina practicing her English. Maina is known to be a huge fan of ONE OK ROCK and her inspiration is clear in each music video. She’s constantly trying to improve, and for a 17 year old, her English ability is outstanding, I can only imagine where she will go from here.
As some of you know, in April last year I was able to visit Japan for three weeks. During this time I was able to check out many musicians in the Tokyo area such as Outside Dandy, BARBARS, and Sugar ‘n’ Spice. While I was in Kyoto, Osaka Shunkashuto announced they’d be playing a show at Yao shopping centre (their usual performance venue) in Osaka, however I wasn’t scheduled to go to Osaka until the following day. My friend Bob (whom I was traveling with) questioned my sanity when I put forward the idea of traveling from Kyoto, to Osaka for a few hours, see Osaka Shunkashuto, return to Kyoto, only to return to Osaka the following morning…
So off we went…
Osaka Shunkashuto – I Want You Back (cover) performance from Yao, April 5th 2014
Here I am, meeting Mana, Anna, Yuna and Eon. Unfortunately Maina and Rina had to leave for a radio broadcast which is hosted inside the Yao shopping centre. If you get the chance to visit Yao, then do so. It’s an incredible structure which is home to hundreds of shops, a huge arcade, and event stages. They have their own radio station which broadcasts live via U-Stream too.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the managing team behind Osaka Shunkashuto, who are an adorable married couple who also speak fantastic English. They were kind enough to allow me to spend a little more time with the girls than other patreons, and gave me some goodies, along with this (somewhat blurry) photo of me with Mana, Anna, Yuna and Eon.
I was also lucky enough to meet Yuna, my favourite member of the group. She’s just as funny as she is in the videos, and just as sweet. I took some Omiyage for the girls in the form of Cadbury’s chocolate (very British) and an adorable Kumamon teddy which I’d won in Kyoto the previous night during my outing with fellow J-Blogger “Sakura Panda Tea Time“. The girls were very grateful that I’d traveled to see them.
Yuna signed a photo of herself for me (in English too) while Eon practiced her English speaking skills with me, informing me “I study English, because I am smart”. Very cute and equally as funny.
Here, the girls share their experiences of the music video filming and E.P recording. If you listen around the 3:00 mark, (English subtitles are available) I get a special mention for attending one of their live shows, which they seem to be very grateful for. I felt very privileged that Soezimax included this in the video.
New member of Osaka Shunkashuto, Runaちゃん！
In November 2014, Soezimax made a huge announcement via YouTube. It would be the addition of a new member called Runa who would become the youngest member of the group at just 14 years old. I imagine this must be terrifying for her, to join an already established group, however judging from recent videos and Twitter posts, she seems to be settling in just fine.
Since the start of 2015, both Soezimax and Osaka Shunkashuto have worked tirelessly for the next chapter in their careers. Not only have they been producing more music videos featuring cover versions of popular songs, but also they’ve finished yet another E.P bringing the number of recordings up to three!
カメレオン少女 – 大阪☆春夏秋冬
Osaka Shunkashuto continue to expand their live shows as more recently they’ve started moving away from Yao, and into smaller live houses. There are a number of new videos showing the girls performing in Tokyo to substantial audiences which a very energetic vibe to them. With the direction of their music constantly evolving, the girls seem to be focusing on the rock and roll elements with catchy guitar hooks, galloping bass lines, and uptempo drum beats. This energy spills over into their dancing and performances.
Osaka Shunkashuto performing live in Tokyo
It’s been an amazing 12 months for the girls. I’ll continue to support them in any way that I can, from retweeting tweets, to writing articles such as this. The girls were recently enrolled in a competition to support ONE OK ROCK, based on the number of votes gained determined the winner of the support slot. The girls finished 7th out of hundreds of entrants, which was very impressive! I can only imagine their ranking if we could get them more supporters here in the west.
So come on everyone, let’s help these girls continue their growth in popularity and maturity. You can follow them on Twitter by checking out their profile page here. Don’t forget to subscribe to Soezimax’s YouTube channel as he releases videos on a regular basis