left to right: Yamada, Gotoh, Kiyoshi, and Kita.
Asian Kung-Fu Generation is a Japanese band formed in 1996
by Masafumi Gotoh (lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist), Kensuke Kita (lead guitarist and backing vocalist), Takahiro Yamada (bassist and backing vocalist), and Kiyoshi Ijichi (drummer). The band is critically acclaimed and commercially successful in Japan. Their popularity peaked around 2004-2007, but they are still doing well. Fans call them Ajikan, AKG, or AFKG for short.
They host the Nano-Mugen Festival each summer. Musicians and bands from Japan, America, and the UK come to perform; each act contributes one song to make up a compilation album released to advertise the festival. Some previous acts include Spitz, Chatmonchy, Beat Crusaders, Ellegarden, Third Eye Blind, Unicorn, and Ben Folds.
Outside of Japan, they are best known for their songs "Haruka Kanata
", "Rewrite", and "After Dark", which were used as opening songs for the Naruto
, Fullmetal Alchemist
, and Bleach
The band has released six studio albums and five EPs.
- Independent period:
- Caramelman and Asian Kung-Fu Generation (2000)
- The Time Past And I Could Not See You Again (2000)
- I'm standing here. (2001)
- After getting signed by Ki/oon Records:
- Houkai Amplifier* (2002)
- Kimi Tsunagi Five M* (2003)
- Sol-fa (2004)
- Fanclub (2006)
- Feedback File (2006): A collection of B-sides and Cut Songs.
- World World World (2008)
- Mada Minu Ashita ni* (2008)
- Surf Bungaku Kamakura* (2008)
- Magic Disk (2010)
- Landmark (2012)
Asian Kung-Fu Generation contains examples of:
- Animated Music Video: "Atarashii Sekai".
- Anime Theme Song: One of the things that gained them renown.
- Big "YES!": Most famously at the beginning of "Understand", though there are many others.
- Concept Album: World World World is supposed to tell a story; Gotoh says that you should listen to it at least once in order. Also, Surf Bungaku Kamakura's songs are each named after notable stops along the famous Enoshima Electric Railway in order starting from Fujisawa and ending with Kamakura.
- Concept Video: A few, especially "Shinseiki no Love Song".
- Call Back / Continuity Nod: "All Right Part2" makes references to "Blue Train", "Tightrope", "Mafuyu no Dance", and "Maigo Inu To Ame no Beat". In addition, Yusuke Nakamura occasionally does this with their album art:
- The wire on the cover of Houkai Amplifier connects to the string on Kimi Tsunagi Five M.
- The guy on the cover of "Solanin" is wearing a Fanclub T-shirt.
- There's a doll dressed up as the girl on Sol-fa on the cover of "Maigo Inu To Ame no Beat".
- There's a Houkai Amplifier CD on Magic Disk's album art. If you squint, you can tell that the boy on the cover has been replaced with Gotoh.
- Cut Song: "Kaiga Kyoushitsu" and "Dōdōmeguri no Yoru" were cut out of Sol-fa and Fanclub, respectively. Luckily, they got put on Feedback File.
- A Day in the Limelight: "Uso to Wonderland", where Kita is the lead singer.
- Emo Kid: Subverted. Many of the songs have emo-sounding lyrics, but they almost always have happy or hopeful endings.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: "Siren", "Siren 2", and "Gekkou".
- Fading into the Next Song: "Tabidatsu Kimi e" → "Neoteny" and "World World" → "Aru Machi no Gunjou".
- Fake Band: "Kiyostie Boys", which is really just them wearing sunglasses, with Gotoh playing the drums and Kiyoshi singing.
- Fan Disservice: Kita crossdressing. He wore a pink frilly shirt, a short skirt, make-up, and hair clips.
- Gainax Ending: The "Fujisawa Loser" video starts out as a weird metaphor for the difficulties of either entering a company or being in a famous band...as obstacle courses. Pretty straightforward. Then the big fancy house and the supermodel at the end of the course get up and elope in a yacht.
- Gratuitous English: Most of their early independently released music. Gotoh is actually trying to change this into Surprisingly Good English by taking weekly English lessons.
- Improv: "Road Movie" was originally an improvised song that changed depending on the location they were preforming. The "Whoaaaaa"s at the beginning of "Laika" were also improvised by Gotoh.
- Japanese Christian: Kiyoshi.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Laika". It's so upbeat and happy sounding, you'd never guess that it's about a dog who's doomed to die alone in space.
- Long Runner Line Up: Type 1 taken to the Logical Extreme - 16 years and counting with only the one original line-up.
- Lyrics Video Mismatch: "Kimi No Machi Made" is about a guy who wants to fly over to his lover's town like a bird. The music video, on the other hand, is about a synchronized swimming duo persevering despite getting attacked by a giant lobster in the middle of a competition.
- Megane: Gotoh is the first type.
- Metal Scream: Gotoh screams certain words in some songs. However, this is becoming rare recently as his voice is changing.
- Non Appearing Title: Many, such as "Solanin", "Blue Train", and "Re:Re:".
- One Hit Wonder: "Haruka Kanata" to most Americans. Believe It!
- One of Us: Gotoh's written in his blog about accidentally breaking his PSP multiple times. He also has a Gameboy SP.
- The lyrics of "Mustang" were inspired by the manga Solanin. They later made the theme song for the movie.
- Power Ballad: "Gekkou" and "Tightrope".
- Protest Song: "No.9", "Wakusei", and "N2".
- Rock Me, Amadeus!: "Gekkou" opens with a snippet of "Clair de lune".
- Shrinking Violet: Yamada.
- Smoking Is Cool: In the music video for "Solanin", Kita is randomly shown smoking.
- Studio Chatter: "Maigo Inu to Ame no Beat" starts with Gotoh's count-off ("Check, check, check...One, two, two"). Also, "Yuigahama Kite" ends with the members' laughter.
- Surreal Music Video: "Atarashii Sekai".
- Tender Tears: Gotoh is a sensitive guy...He cried when watching This Is It despite not being a fan of Michael Jackson.
- Gotoh and Kita both looked like they were on the verge of tears when Gotoh made a speech about the Akihabara massacre at Nano-Mugen Festival 2008.