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Music / Sakanaction

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Sakanaction are a Japanese rock band from Sapporo, Hokkaido. They consist of Ichirō Yamaguchi (vocals and guitar) , Motoharu Iwadera (guitar), Ami Kusakari (bass and keyboards), Emi Okazaki (keyboards) and Keiichi Ejima (drums), and their style is somewhere between alternative rock, electronica and new wave. Their name is a portmanteau of sakana (Japanese for "fish") and action, and reflects their desire to act quickly - like a fish in the water - without fearing changes in the music scene.

Between 1998 and 2004, Ichirō Yamaguchi and his fellow schoolmate Motoharu Iwadera were in an indie rock band called Dutchman, and when the group disbanded Yamaguchi decided to keep using the name for his solo project, performing as a DJ at night clubs and working in a record store. A couple of years later he decided to form another band with Iwadera, soon joined by the other members: Kusakari had just left another band, Ejima was introduced by a friend and Okazaki was Yamaguchi's colleague from the record store. When Yamaguchi proposed the name Sakanaction Iwadera hated it, but it eventually stuck. After a couple of albums they decided to move from Sapporo to Tokyo to reach out to more people, and quickly gained popularity, with their first major label album debuting at number 8 on the Oricon weekly charts, and the following album peaking at number 2. In April 2012 the band started to host their own radio show, Sakana Locks!! on the popular radio station Tokyo FM.

  • Go to the Future (2007)
  • Night Fishing (2008)
  • Shinshironote  (2009)
  • Kikuuikinote  (2010)
  • DocumentaLy (2011)
  • Sakanaction (2013)
  • 834.194 (2019)

This band provides examples of:

  • Album Intro Track: Kikuuiki, DocumentaLy and Sakanaction open with one.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Yamaguchi seems quite fond of mentioning rain and wind in his lyrics.
  • Broken Record: Some notable examples are the beginning of "Inner World", and the first word in each verse of "Aldebaran".
  • Catapult Nightmare: Lead singer Yamaguchi has a recurring one in the video for "Rookie".
  • Deaf Composer: Not entirely, but after sudden hearing loss in 2010, Yamaguchi is deaf in his right ear.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Go To The Future does have noticeable keyboards, but its overall sound is much less electronic than that of their following albums.
  • Echoing Acoustics: They often use echoing guitars and synths.
  • Epic Rocking: "Mekaaku Aoiiro" is just one second shorter than 7:00.
  • Faceless Eye: The band members wear giant eyeball masks covering their heads in the video for "Endless".
  • Funk Rock: "Mikazuki Sunset", the opener of their first album, is pretty funky.
  • Melancholy Moon: In "Bach no Senritsu o Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu" the singer is gazing at the moon melancholically while listening to Bach sonatas.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Hard to tell if you don't translate it, but "Ame(B)" is about soaking your left shoulder under the rain.
  • Ominous Japanese Chanting: The verses in "Aoi" are sung like this, but it's more epic than ominous.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Intentionally in "Monochrome Tokyo".
  • Punny Name: Sakanaction and DocumentaLy, a pun on "documentary" and "mental", also doubling as intentional Engrish.
  • Rearrange the Song: "Mikazuki Sunset" and "Inner World" were originally from Dutchman, the band Yamaguchi and Iwadera were in before forming Sakanaction. They were rearranged for Sakanaction's debut album.
  • Regional Riff: "Lightdance" plays around with asian-sounding riffs quite a bit, especially in the solo.
  • Rock Me, Amadeus!: "Bach no Senritsu o Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu" incorporates a snippet of a Bach piano piece.
  • Shout-Out: "Bach no Senritsu o Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu" is one to Bach, and in the video for "Rookie" Yamaguchi is wearing a Pink Floyd shirt.
  • Self-Titled Album
  • Surreal Music Video: "Rookie".
  • The Something Song: "Asa no Uta" ("The Morning Song").