In Japan, there are plenty of Japanese acts and bands. However, only a handful of those acts actually make it big time. Some acts may have taken years before they made their major debut while others hit it big with their first time.
With that said, it’s also uncommon for Japanese acts to make it big outside of Japan. There are however a few exceptions this. Enter: ONE OK ROCK, a Japanese Rock band that is slowly making themselves known around the world.
ONE OK ROCK is a Japanese rock band formed in 2005 and currently consists of 4 members: Taka, Toru, Tomoya and Ryota. The idea of forming a band came from Toru Yamashita, who then was just a high school student. He then invited his friend, Ryota Kohama who played the bass and also invited Alex Onizawa, who was a senior at the time in their school. Toru had also asked a classmate, Tomo to play the drums. Taka Moriuchi was currently part of another band back then but didn’t enjoy the group so Toru insisted he join One Ok Rock.
The band’s name is derived from “one o’clock”, which was the time that the band used to practice on the weekends. They used to play at One O’Clock in the morning because it was cheaper to use the space after hours. Since the Japanese language has a difficult time pronouncing l’s, “o’clock” became “o’krock” which then gave them the name ok rock. Hence their name, One Ok Rock.
One Ok Rock signed with Amuse Agency, who is known to manage a variety of different talents. It was during this time their current drummer then, Tomo had left the group due to the reason that his parents did not want him to pursue that kind of work. In 2006, Tomoya Kanki joined the group but only became an official member when the band made their debut in 2007. One Ok Rock released their debut single “Naihishinsho” in 2007 which reached 47th on the charts and later released an album, “Zeitakubyo” the same year. After that they released a second album in 2008 called “Beam of Light” which they don’t count as an album but rather as a part of maturing as a band. In November 2008, they released “Kanjou Effects” in which they were able to get more experience through more recording.
Alex was arrested on April 5, 2009 for groping of a 21-year-old female student on a train, to which he admitted to and the case was settled outside of court. At this point, the band was in turmoil having a single and tour cancelled. In 2009, One Ok Rock stated that they would continue without Alex while Toru took his place as lead guitar.
With their new four-member formation, they released a new single “Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer” in February 2010 and released another studio album in June 2010. The band then toured in Zepp Music Halls starting in Sendai and ending in a two-day concert in Tokyo. This was the rise of their fame and popularity.
One Ok Rock is well-known as well for singing the main soundtrack for all three live-movie adaptations of the Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X as it is known in English) manga. The first song for the first movie, “The Beginning” was released in August of 2012 and peaked number 5 on the Oricon charts. This single is currently the most popular song the band has ever produced.
In July 2014, they released “Mighty Long Fall/Decision”, “Mighty Long Fall” being the theme song for the sequel of Rurouni Kenshin and “Decision” being the main song for their documentary film “FOOL COOL ROCK”. The third song for the movie series, “Heartache” which was released alongside their newest album 35xxxv. In late 2014, One Ok Rock toured USA, South America and Europe.
With the rising of One Ok Rock gradually in the international scene, the group recently re-released their latest album 35xxxv after they had signed with Warner Bros. Records. The re-released album would a deluxe album featuring all the songs recorded in English and featuring two new songs “Last Dance” and “The Way Back”. “Decision” was re-recorded featuring American singer-songwriter, Tyler Carter.