Top 10 Most Popular Japanese Boy Bands
Choosing the best and most popular Japanese boy bands is one tough job. There are hundreds of them just waiting around to hit the charts. Some are popular on social media, whereas others have become famous for their catchy songs and insightful lyrics. Our list includes names that managed to rise to the top through hard work, great looks, and amazing talent. Have a closer look and make your pick. Which of the 10 Japanese boy bands we’ve chosen do you like the most?
Arashi is known to be one of Japan’s most famous and appreciated boy bands. The group is made up of 5 key members: Satoshi Ohno, Masaki Aiba, Sho Sakurai, Jun Matsumoto, and Kazunari Ninomiya. The reason why they’re grown to be so popular is that they’ve been around since 1999. Arashi was formed in Hawaii and in the beginning of their career, they had a contract signed with Pony Canyon. Six singles and one debut album helped the boy band rose to stardom. A second contract with J Storm in 2001 turned Arashi into the Japanese boy band of the decade. Two of their singles – “Believe” and “One Love” (2008) maintained a top position on the Oricon Singles Chart for 2 consecutive years.
2. Hey! Say! JUMP
Launched in 2007, Hey! Say! JUMP is a diverse, interesting, and talented boy band with 9 amazing members: Ryosuke Yamada, Yuri Chinen, Yuto Nakajima, Daiki Arioka, Keito Okamoto, Yuya Takaki, Kei Inoo, Kota Yabu and Hikaru Yaotome. The boys came together to form a band back in 2007. Their first single, “Hey!Stay!” opened the famous anime series Lovely Complex, boosting the band’s recognition and persuading over 120,000 fans to but the album in the first 2 weeks from release. In 2012, Hey! Say! JUMP had their first Asian tour, with concerts in countries like Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. S3ART, the band’s 3rd album smashed the charts, reaching No. 1 the same week it was released.
SMAP is one of Japan’s oldest and most solid boy bands. The group was formed in 1991, and since then they’ve released over 50 singles and 20 music albums. Five talented members make up the band: Takuya Kimura, Masahiro Nakai, Shingo Katori, Goro Inagaki, and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi. The name of the group is actually an acronym, and it means “Sports Music Assemble People”. Over the years, SMAP topped the Japanese music charts with their insightful, catchy songs. Some of the group’s members have gotten involved in a wide variety of movie, TV shows, commercials, and dramas, thus preserving the long-time reputation of the band.
KAT-UN debuted in 2006 with 6 core members. The group’s name comes from the family name of each member: Kamenashi (Kazuya), Akanishi (Jin), Taguchi (Junnosuke), Tanaka (Koki), Ueda (Tatsuya), and Nakamaru (Yuichi).When the band made its grand entrance in 2006, J-One Record, their record label, released a whole album, CD single, and music DVD. Over the years, several of KAT-UN songs topped the charts in both DVD and Oricon music categories. Although Akanishi left the band in 2010, the group preserved the name and continued to carry the legacy. To this day, KAT-UN is known as one of Japan’s most influential boy band groups of the 20s.
Suchmos juggled with several different music genres since its inception in 2013. Their core style was rock with hip-hop and jazz influences. The name of the band is an homage brought to the king of jazz music, Jouis Amstrong. Suchmos used to be his nickname. Unlike traditional boy bands in Japan, Suchmos brought R&B flair to their music only to set themselves apart. Two of their albums brought blues, rock, and funk influences, thus completely changing the J-pop music scenario. At the beginning of 2017, they released a studio album titled “The Kids”, which instantly topped the Oricon chart landing on the 2nd position.
Exile is one of Japan’s oldest and most diverse boy bands. It debuted with 19 members in 2001, and although some of the members are retired, they did manage to make a huge impact on the music industry over the years. The group’s leader is Hero, and all of their albums and singles were launched under the label Rythm Zone. For the past 20 years, Exile sold more than 20 million records all over Japan, one of their most memorable being “The Next Door” which was also a theme song in Street Fighter IV, the Japanese edition.
7. Bullet Train
Bullet Train was formed by Stardust Promotion in 2011. The Japanese boy band debuted with back vocalists and main dancers to make the whole group more dynamic, and give a band a fresh, cool vibe. Their identity and music genre focuses on electronic dance music, J-pop, and electro-pop. Over the years, they’ve managed to appeal to their fans with several mainstream appearances, including a music video for GreeeN group in “Color”. “Bloody Night” one of Bullet Train’s most successful singles appeared in the acclaimed Japanese drama “Vampire Heaven”. “RING” and “Dramatic Seven” are two of the band’s most appreciated albums.
Visual rock band SID debuted back in 2003 with bassist Aki and vocalist Mao. Later on, they were joined by Shinji (guitarist) and Yuuya (drummer). Soon after releasing their first CD demo, the group signed off their first contract with Danger Crue Records. In 2004, SID launched “Kaijou-Ban”, their first single as an official Japanese boy band. After traveling overseas to Anime Central in the US, they had managed to make quite an impact, boosting their fan base and compelling them to come up with a full album entitled “Renai”. Diverse in style and motivate to reach national recognition, SID grew rapidly in popularity among the younger generation, gaining notoriety and a hard-earned title of “a monster boy band of indie music” in Japan.
B’z is one of Japan’s oldest and most successful boy bands. Made of two members, composer and vocalist Koshi Inaba and guitarist Takahiro “Tak” Matsumoto, the band is well-known for their upbeat, lively and energetic pop ballads and hard-rock tracks. In Japan, B’z is best-selling music band with 46 consecutive singles hitting No. 1 music charts. With more than 100 million records sold at global scale, B’z got their albums on No.1 charts 25 times along their career. HMV Japan ranked them at the 30th most influential Japanese pop acts of the decade in 2003.
10. Mr. Children
Popularly known as Misu-Chiru, Mr. Children was formed in 1989, with a major debut in 1992. Made up of 4 members, the boy band is regarded as one of the most successful in Japan, with over 50 million records sold. Their music genre focuses on progressive pop, power pop, and pop rock. Over the years, Mr. Children led to the creation of the “Mic-chil” phenomenon. Their “Namonaki Uta” single sold in 1.2 million copies, managing to get 30 other consecutive singles to No. 1 music charts. In 1995, they won the Japan Record Award with their “Innocent World” single, and in 2012 with “Sign”.
J-pop has had the greatest impact on the music industry in Japan, with some of the bands managing to attain worldwide recognition by releasing the most innovative lyrics and unique rhythms. Our list includes the 10 boy bands that had the biggest contribution to the people throughout the years. Do you have a favorite in mind that we may have omitted? Let us know in the comment section below.