Upcoming Release: Shiina Ringo – Menuki Dōri

Shiina Ringo has announced the release of a new single to be released on April 20, titled “Menuki Dōri” (“Main Street”). The new song will be a duet with the singer Tortoise Matsumoto, and serve as the theme song for the new 19-story shopping shopping, Ginza Six, which will also open on April 20.

Tortoise Matsumoto has been the lead vocalist for rock group Ulfuls since 1992, and has also worked as a solo artist. Shiina Ringo has worked as a singer-songwriter and performer since her debut in 1998.

Read more about the song and shopping center on Shiina Ringo’s website here.


Album artwork from Shiina Ringo’s website, kronekodow.com

Upcoming Release: Shiina Ringo – Menuki Dōri

Shiina Ringo – Heisei Fuuzoku – 10 Years Later


Image courtesy of Amazon.co.uk.

Shiina Ringo‘s Heisei Fuuzoku came out in 2007 and served as the soundtrack to Ninagawa Mika’s movie adaptation of Anno Moyoco’s manga Sakuran. A collaboration with violinist and conductor Saitou Neko, who worked with Shiina on her debut album (playing violin on “Onaji Yoru”), the disc features re-arrangements of Shiina’s earlier tracks, a cover, and six new songs.

Ten years later, the album stands as a testament to the musical possibilities alive in the liminal space between the traditional and the experimental, the orchestra and the synthesizer, and the real and the otherworldly.

Heisei came out one year after Shiina released her second album with Tokyo Jihen: the mature, fully realized funk-rock LP Adult. It had been three years since she had released her critically acclaimed double platinum third solo record Kalk Samen Kuri No Hana. Shiina’s work with Tokyo Jihen had begun to move away from the sprawling pop experiments of her solo material to something more about genre and cohesion: creating more within limits. Heisei Fuuzoku lives in a space between the two. It is both sprawling and specific, eclectic and timeless.

The genre of Heisei is amorphous and multiplicitous. While “Gamble” and “Kuki” center the orchestra’s strings, other songs flirt with swing and electronica.

Perhaps the most impressive blending of classical and new, experimental and orchestral, is “Hatsukoi Shoujo.” On first listen it sounds unperformable (despite evidence to the contrary – Shiina opened Ringo Expo 08 with this song). Syllables stretch out and layer on top of each other. A single voice sings different sections of the same words, harmonizing with itself. Violins echo and reality warps.

“I want to know your name/Ah, so that I can call for you someday”

The self-covers, from Kalk Samen Kuri No Hana, Shouso Strip (Shiina’s sophomore album), and Tokyo Jihen’s debut, Kyouiku, deconstruct the originals while painting certain elements in contrast.

Take “Poltergeist.” It is an unsettling waltz on Kalk Samen, with ticking music boxes that swung into an orchestra by the second verse, and is performed by Shiina with a sense of steady assuredness. It is a song of love affairs and ghosts wedded with her frequent themes of uncertainty and dichotomy (real/unreal, joy/misery). On Fuuzoku, “Poltergeist” is orchestral from the beginning: slower, even more gentle, and swings not into steadiness, but a kind of uncertain sweetness. “I sing this for your sake alone,” Shiina sings, not in full voice like on Kalk Samen, but in a lilt that allows room for ambiguity. Perhaps the love she sings of is only a phantom.

On the other hand, the swing of “Meisai,” which on Kalk Samen was a skittering rumble anchored by Inoue Uni’s bass and a single violin, played by Saitou and descending into wailing chaos, is here oomph-ed into a fully-formed jazz number with masterfully quick delivery from Shiina. Now Saitou, as conductor, can craft his chaos more directly into the composition – and yes the dance does descend into perfectly orchestrated pandemonium, and yes, it is beautiful.

The ballad “Yume No Ato,” originally the closer on Tokyo Jihen’s debut, is a tender, dissonant step onto the threshold of the last track: Shiina’s duet with her brother, Shiina Junpei, titled “Kono Yo No Kagiri.”

The cheerful number is both Technicolor and fear. It is a joyful approach to the end of the world. But the song itself, enormous and orchestral, serves as a statement on what Heisei Fuuzoku is. The two harmonize, “I’ll make a song for you/Nothing too old and nothing too new.”

At the threshold of old and new stands something previously unheard. It comes from the violinist and the vocalist. The cat (neko) and the apple (ringo).

The real and the otherworldly, encapsulated within a single disc.

Shiina Ringo – Heisei Fuuzoku – 10 Years Later

New Shiina Ringo Single, Fall Tour 2015

Photo courtesy of kronekodow.com

Shiina Ringo has announced a new two-track single, Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri / Kamisama, Hotokesama [The Long and Short Festival / God, Buddha] to be released on CD on August 5. Both of the new songs are used in short form in two recent commercials: “Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri” in the new Coca-Cola ad, and “Kamisama, Hotokesama” in the isai vivid phone commercial.

The artist also announced a fall tour in Japan starting in October. The tour title is “Shiina Ringo To Aitsura Ga Yuku – Hyakki Yagyou 2015″ [“Shiina Ringo and the Others Will Go – Night Parade of One Hundred Demons 2015″]. There is a members-only presale for members of the Shiina Ringo fan club. Those who purchase the new single will also receive a guide to the presale. Dates and venues can be found on the official website.

New Shiina Ringo Single, Fall Tour 2015

Japanese Music News & Links – 1/26/15

Upcoming Concerts

Slap guitarist and singer Miyavi announced a newly-rescheduled Los Angeles concert for February 18. Tickets are $27.50.

Visual kei artist Kamijo (formerly of Lareine, New Sodmy, and Versailles) announced two North American dates for his 2015 world tour: one in Los Angeles on June 4, and one in New York City on June 6. Tickets go on sale February 1.

Upcoming Releases

Shiina Ringo is releasing a new single on February 25, to be used as the theme song for the drama series ○○Tsuma. The two-track disc will include the new song, “Shijou No Jinsei” (A Life Supreme), and the b-side “Donzoku Made” (To the Very Bottom). A 90-second preview for the new single can be heard on YouTube. The CD can be pre-ordered on websites like HMV. The CD is 1080 yen, including tax.

Momoiro Clover Z and Kiss’s will release their collaboration, “Yume No Ukiyo Ni Saite Mi Na” (Try To Bloom in a Dream of the Floating World), on January 29. The CD can be pre-ordered on websites like HMV. The CD is 1350 yen, including tax. There is also a special edition available, which includes a Blu-Ray of the music video but excludes the third track, “Samurai Son.”

Japanese Music News & Links – 1/26/15

New Shiina Ringo single – Arikitari Na Onna


Photo courtesy of www.kronekodow.com.


The first single from Shiina Ringo’s upcoming album, “Hi Izuru Tokoro,” was released this week. Entitled “Arikitari Na Onna” (Ordinary Woman), the official Universal Music Japan announcement reads:

The “Ordinary Woman” who is unexpectedly made to stand on that empty stage called “life.” From girl to lady, to becoming a mother, this is a song that energetically, vibrantly cuts the ties that bind life together. [Rough translation; please comment if you have a better understanding of this phrase.] Delicately and powerfully, the band ensemble releases a maddening array of glitter and produces a heroine.

As the song begins, it resembles the fairly slow songs Shiina has performed recently (such as “Ima” and especially the ballad “IT WAS YOU“), but soon reveals it is something else entirely – “Arikitari Na Onna” is punchy, with sharp piano matched with masterful percussion and a solid band, while Shiina’s vocals are stronger and more versatile than ever.

It is available for download from the Japanese iTunes store. It can also be heard on Tumblr.

UPDATE 10/9/14:

The short version of the music video is posted below.

New Shiina Ringo single – Arikitari Na Onna

New Shiina Ringo Album Announced – Hi Izuru Tokoro

Yesterday on her official website, it was announced that Shiina Ringo would release a new album on November 5.

What follows is a rough translation of the official announcement.


Photo courtesy of www.kronekodow.com.


Shiina Ringo is currently preparing for a November-December arena tour, entitled “Ringo Baku ’14 – Toshionna No Gyakushuu –,” [Roughly, “Ringo Expo ’14 – The Woman of the Year’s Counterattack –”] but has decided before that, on November 5, to release a brand new original album, long-awaited by music fans. The title is “Hi Izuru Tokoro.” [“Land of the Rising Sun,” i.e., Japan.]

Along with seven newly-written songs, the album will include “Ariamaru Tomo” and “Carnation,” “Jiyuu E Michuzure” and “NIPPON,” which gave color to this year’s World Cup, and, to tie everything up, a total of 6 songs released after 2009 that were never collected on an album, resulting in 13 tracks.

For the first press edition, newly-collected bonus footage will be included (DVD, Blu-Ray). Along with music videos (MV) that hadn’t been collected until now, a new video for “Arikitari Na Onna” (Ordinary Woman) will be included.

After 5 years, this is Shiina Ringo’s fully realized album, “Hi Izuru Tokoro.” Please look forward to it.


First press edition with Blu-Ray – 4,968 yen

First press edition with DVD – 4,212 yen

Normal edition (CD only) – 3,240 yen

The Blu-Ray/DVD will include 6 music videos: “Ariamaru Tomo,” “Carnation,” “Jiyuu E Michuzure,” “NIPPON,” “Irohanihoheto” and “Arikitari Na Onna”



  1. Shizuka Naru Gyakushuu (A Quiet Counterattack)
  2. Jiyuu E Michizure (TBS drama “Ataru” Theme Song – 2012)
  3. Hashirewa Number (Number, Run!) [Tentative romanization – the wa in “Hashirewa” is in smaller font, and may be pronounced differently]
  4. Sekidou O Koetara (If You Cross the Equator)
  5. JL005 Bin De (On Flight JL005) [JL005 is a New York to Tokyo flight]
  6. Chichin Puipui [A magic word” in Japanese, like “abracadabra.” Also the name of a popular news show on MBS TV]
  7. Ima (This Moment)
  8. Irohanihoheto (Fuji TV drama “Kamo, Kyouto E Iku. – Shinise Ryokan No Okami Nikki –” Theme Song – 2013)
  9. Arikitari Na Onna (Ordinary Woman)
  10. Carnation (NHK series “Carnation” Theme Song – 2012)
  11. Kodoku No Akatsuki (Shinnekohan) (Lonely Dawn (Shinneko Version)) (NHK E TV “SWITCH Interview – Tatsujintachi (Experts)” Theme Music – 2013)
  12. NIPPON (2014 NHK Soccer Theme – 2014)
  13. Ariamaru Tomo – (TBS Drama “Smile” Theme – 2009)


Photo courtesy of www.kronekodow.com.


The new single “Arikitari Na Onna” will be released on October 1.

To precede the release of the new album “Hi Izuru Tokoro,” the new song “Arikitari Na Onna” will be released on October 1 (Wednesday). You may be able to hear the fragments of the world that is present in “Hiizuru Tokoro.” It’s a certain hit.

New Shiina Ringo Album Announced – Hi Izuru Tokoro