Not long after my wife and daughter introduced me to Arashi, they got me interested in another band in the Johnny’s lineup of bands: Kanjani Eight (関ジャニ∞). The band name is a clever word-play: 関 (kan) refers to Kansai, the area they’re from (Osaka and such), while ジャニ (jani) is the Japanese pronunciation of Johnny’s and Associates, their talent agency. The “eight” (∞) refers to the channel number (i.e. channel 8) of their original TV show, not the number of band members.
Compared to Arashi, the other Johnny’s group I like, Kanjani Eight is less pop/hip-hop and more of a rock band. I was surprised to hear some good Ska riffs in their music too, which is something I haven’t heard since high-school. 🙂 Naturally, being from the Kansai area, they’re proud of their local culture and when you see them on TV,1 they’re often talking in Kansai dialect with one another. The lead singer, Subaru Shibutani, also definitely has that “rocker” attitude, and is not surprisingly very popular.
I have heard of them previously, but when I saw them on TV, it seemed like their performance was a little too silly so I was not interested. But then my wife got their latest album, 8UPPERS (pronounced pacchappazu パッチアッパーズ) and was greatly impressed. The lead singer, Subaru Shibutani, is really quite and definitely projects the rocker image. The opening instrumental, Oriental Surfer, is a pretty darn cool song and sets the pace for the rest of the album. This is one of those albums that sounds really good while driving, peaking from experience. 🙂
Anyhow, definitely check them out if you can.
1 Their own TV show, Kanjani Map, follows the the format of many Japanese TV shows: they travel to different places, eat good food, have some good laughs, etc. Kanjani makes it particularly fun though because of their outgoing attitude, and they avoid raunchy jokes like some Japanese comedians, so my daughter can watch it too.