Sakanaction (サカナクション) is a Japanese rock band hailing from Sapporo, Japan. Formed in 2005, their music is a mix of alt rock, electro pop, and sometimes – a little bit of everything. I actually just discovered these guys recently, and instantly fell in love. Their music is pretty unique and some of their music videos are really cool. I hope you enjoy them too.
The band consists of five members: Ichiro Yamaguchi (vocals & guitar), Motoharu Iwadera (guitar), Ami Kusakari (bass), Emi Okazaki (keyboard), and Keiichi Ejima (drums). Sakanaction is a combination of the Japanese word for fish, sakana, and the English word, action. Together we have Sakanaction. Or just Fish Action, but no not really – no one calls them that – that’s just silly name. Fish Action, psh.
The band claims the fish symbolism in their name reflects their wish to act quickly and lightly, like a fearless fish in the sea not fearing changes in the music industry. Sakanaction has been enjoying increased popularity lately, and has even achieved some mainstream success by appearing on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 charts.
Ichiro Yamaguchi, Sakanaction’s creator, was originally from a band by the name of Dutchman, which he started in 1998 with a few of his friends from high school including Motoharu Iwadera (the guitarist of Sakanaction). From 2000 to 2003, they released one maxi single titled Fly, one album titled Demonstration, and a single titled Mikazuki Sunset that was only sold at their live performances.
Unfortunately however, the band did not gain much recognition. In 2004, the members of Dutchman disbanded, leaving Yamaguchi to continue on alone with the project. Wanting to try his hand at something different, Yamaguchi then began performing as a live DJ at night clubs.
One year later, Sakanaction was born in 2005. When Yamaguchi was working at a record store, he heard the song Owari no Kisetsu by Rei Harakami and it inspired him to create a new, totally awesome band. Enter Sakanaction. Yamaguchi founded Sakanaction together with Iwadera, while Kusakari left another band to join the ranks of Sakanaction. Ejima was introduced by a mutual friend, and Okazaki was one of the other people working at the record store with Yamaguchi.
We made a new band together and named it “Sakanaction”. When I first suggested “What do you think of the name Sakanaction?”, he said “I hate it”, but I forced.
Sakanaction first started to gain mass appeal during the 2006 Rising Sun Rock Festival and the band’s first physical release was Go to the Future in 2007. Three songs originally from Dutchman were also rereleased as Sakanaction releases. Mikazuki Sunset and Inner World were included in Go to the Future while Word was part of a digital download release, and later made it to the NIGHT FISHING album.
On August 9, 2008, Sakanaction performed as one of the main acts on one of Japan’s top music stations, “Music On!” in an event called Summer Sonic ’08. Sakanaction performed alongside Paul Weller, The Fratellis, Death Cab for Cutie, Cajun Dance Party, Band of Horses, Blood Red Shoes, and These New Puritans. Not too bad.
On December 26, 2008, Sakanaction made it to #9 on Billboard’s Japan Hot 100 list with their single Sentorei. The song moved from #91 to #9 in just four weeks. This was a big accomplishment for Sakanaction.
In December of 2008 the band announced their third album, Shinshiro, which ended up being released in January of 2009. The album debuted at #8 on the Oricon weekly charts. Sakanaction held a national promotional tour, Sakanquarium2009, in February and March of 2009. On January 13, 2010, the band released the single Aruku Around, which hit #3 on the Oricon weekly charts.
On August 8, 2010 they made appearances at both the Summer Sonic and the World Happiness 2010 rock festivals in Tokyo. I don’t know about you, but any rock festival by the name of World Happiness sounds like a pretty good time to me.
So far they have 5 full length albums and 3 EPs. I for one am very much looking forward to hearing whatever they have to offer in the future. I think my favorite song and video is the last one included on this page (I really like that one man dance line). What’s your favorite?