Good day everyone! I hope everybody is doing well today even though some parts of the Philippines is experiencing rain. So here I am again writing while on the road. The weather is cool and it’s very tempting for me to listen to music while staring out the window. It makes me want to listen to the songs of this very awesome band I will be writing about today.
Guess who they are? If you are reading this blog, then you are lucky to have this opportunity to get to know this rock band from Japan who is now making their name known across the globe. They are—ONE OK ROCK!
(image source: oneokrock.com)
ONE OK ROCK members (left to right) Tomoya, Toru, Taka, and Ryota.
ONE OK ROCK or ワンオクロク (pronounced as “wan oku roku” in Nihongo) is a popular rock band from Japan formed by Toru Yamashita last 2005. The band has four members (formerly five) and is under the entertainment company Amuse, Inc. They're signed under the Japanese record label A-Sketch, then also later on signed to Fueled by Ramen for their international label.
ONE OK ROCK is known for their energetic and entertaining performances of rock songs with varying emotions like hate, love, sorrow, friendship, family and motivational. Their songs have mostly a mix of Japanese and English lyrics making it easy for them to attract listeners not only in their home country but also around the world. Their increasing popularity had pushed them to release two versions, Japanese version and English version, for their most recent two albums 35xxxv and Ambitions. Their music style was inspired by bands like Linkin Park, Good Charlotte, Foo Fighters, and Ellegarden.
Their band name ONE OK ROCK is coined from their rehearsal time (one o'clock a.m.) when the band was still beginning. They said, studio rents at midnight was cheaper. One o'clock when pronounced in Japanese is “wan oku roku” and so it became ONE OK ROCK. Although most international fans pronounce the name of the band as ONE “OKAY” ROCK.
If you follow the four band members on Instagram, you'll surely notice the numbers "10969" on their usernames. (Except for Ryota.) Well, 10969 also means ONE OK ROCK. How? 1 ("one"), 0 ( letter "o"), 9 ("ku" Japanese term for 9), 6 ("ro" from the Japanese term for 6 "roku"), and 9 ("ku".)
Before moving further, here's a survey about your favorite singer. Enjoy!
● Takahiro Moriuchi (vocals)
(image source: giphy.com)
Taka's old look. Curly black hair and his trademark pink microphone.
Birthdate: April 17, 1988
Takahiro Moriuchi popularly known as "Taka", is ONE OK ROCK’S vocalist. He is the eldest son of Japan's popular enka singers, Masako Mori and Shinichi Mori. His younger brother Tomohiro works on a prominent television company in Japan while his youngest brother Hiroki followed Taka's steps and is also now a vocalist of a band called My First Story.
Before becoming a rockstar and vocalist of ONE OK ROCK, Taka was first a member of the boy group NEWS on 2003 which was under Johnny's Entertainment. However, he left the group at 2004 to concentrate on his studies but later on joined a band named Chivalry of Music. At 2005, he became the vocalist of ONE OK ROCK after Toru Yamashita persistently persuaded him to join the band. (It's funny how the band members had a bad first impression on Taka like he is sort of a show off because of the shiny accessories all over his body during his first meeting with the band. This was confessed by Ryota on a show called Monster Rock. I can't find the exact video so let me just share a recent interview of them on this show.)
As a member of the band, he has a voice that could rock the crowd or melt every ladies' heart. He's very energetic on stage and his voice would hardly falter even though he jumps, headbangs or run around the stage. He puts a pink tape around his microphone but was changed to color yellow during their Ambitions album. Taka is also the band's representative on interviews especially during English interviews. He is now more fluent in English because of their non-stop international tours. In one of their shows a few years back, he admitted that he can't speak English very well and that he only memorizes what he is saying. No wonder why there are times when he forgets the lyrics of their song. (Lol.) But I think he had improved a lot now. He is the shortest among the four members, by the way. He cares for the fans, and you can also catch him go live on Instagram sometimes. Offstage, he enjoys playing pranks on other members and physically hurting them except on this next guy on my blog.
● Toru Yamashita (guitar / backing vocals)
(image source: giphy.com)
A happy, smiling and not-so-bored face of Toru, everyone.
Birthdate: December 07, 1988
Toru Yamashita is the band's leader and guitarist. During childhood, he was a member of a hip hop group called HEADS before forming ONE OK ROCK during high school. Yup, Toru can sing and dance. He does the backing vocals for ONE OK ROCK but he also did sang songs with Taka on their mini album "Keep It Real" where he sang the rap parts. (One of which is the song P.P.S.H. Check it out!) He stopped rapping because it's difficult to rap and play the guitar at the same time. At 2009, Toru took the role as the lead guitarist after Alex left the band. Thus, only having four members in the band. This has also caused them to rearranged their songs to be playable with only one guitar.
Toru is amazing guitarist and is often just quiet during interviews. He has that serious/sleepy/bored aura on his face, some people even compare him to the Japanese mascot Gachapin. (Don't they have similar eyes? Lol!) Although being the leader of a rock band, with his members getting tattoos all over their body, Toru never have a single ink on his skin. Why? He fears needles. Yup, but he probably doesn't fear getting a lung disease for he smokes a lot. He seems to be unlucky too with the jan-ken-pon (rock-paper-scissors) game and ends up paying their restaurant bill most of the time. Although, he is also lucky because the rest of the members don't play pranks on him. Are they scared of him?
Did you know that he also tried acting? Alas! ONE OK ROCK fans! I found a video of it! Ha! I can't imagine Toru did some acting before because he always looks serious. Did you also know that he admires Avril Lavigne so much? Well, all the members of ONE OK ROCK admires Avril and this isn't new if you have been following the band offstage.
At the end of their "35xxxv" Japan Tour Live and Documentary, Toru is shown lying on the floor being assisted by people. He must be very exhausted that his body gave up. Here's a clip of the video. Last March 05, just this year, Toru fell on a 2-meter hole of the stage while intensely playing the song "The Beginning." Lucky he only got scratches and not some other serious injury.
● Ryota Kohama (bass guitar / backing vocals)
(image source: giphy.com)
Ryota playing the bass guitar. Doesn't he look better without a beard?
Birthdate: September 04, 1989
Ryota Kohama is ONE OK ROCK'S bassist and youngest member even though he is mistaken as the oldest member most of the time because of his beard. He was also a member of the hip hop group HEADS. In short, Toru and Ryota were childhood friends and the members who had been together the longest. So yes, he could sing and dance too. (Here's a music video of him as a HEADS member.) But did you know, Toru invited him to join the band and only gave him two weeks to learn how to play the bass guitar? (Wow. I can't imagine the pressure Toru has given Ryota. Lol.) Nevertheless, all the practice paid off and he was also able to incorporate his dancing/acrobatic skills while playing the bass which makes him a more super awesome (insert Ryota's favorite curse word) bassist.
Ryota performs on stage shirtless most of time. He only wears one during music videos or on a special live performance like the 18 Fes. (Well, all the members wore a long-sleeved shirt/jacket during 18 Fes. Hiding their tattoos, maybe?) Aside from that, he is also Taka's side kick during English interviews despite not being fluent with the language. He would stay beside Taka even though he would just nod most of time and an obvious confused and clueless look is written on his face. However, he would also try his very best to respond in English when asked.
In an interview, he revealed that when he still didn't have enough money back then to buy the expensive bass guitar with lights on the fretboard he was eyeing on, he called his mom to buy it for him and promised that he would work harder in return. You can see this guitar on some of their early music videos and concerts. Lucky, Ryota got a supportive mom and family. And it shows on how a very kind and loving uncle he is to his nieces. He also has a dog named Betty whom he sometimes post pictures with on his Instagram account.
Last February 18, 2017, Ryota announced on their concert that he already got married. Well, this sent every fan into shock and surprise. Ryota is married to Michelle Lavigne, the sister of pop punk princess Avril Lavigne. Avril even posted to her social media to congratulate the newly-wed couple. Last October 22, Ryota posted a photo of him and Michelle together with their newborn child. (Ryota and Michelle's daughter is the luckiest, I wish I was her. Why? Well, you just got a pop punk princess aunt and ONE OK ROCK uncles. What more can you ask for? Baby girl Kohama got a very bright beautiful life ahead. That's for sure!)
● Tomoya Kanki (drums)
(image source: giphy.com)
Tomoya goofing at the camera.
Birthdate: June 27, 1987
Tomoya Kanki or "Tomo" is ONE OK ROCK'S beloved drummer. He was teaching at ESP Musical Academy back then and has a band that wasn't doing very well before joining ONE OKE ROCK. He then became an official member on 2007 after the former drummer, Yu Koyanagi "Tomo", left the band to pursue acting. (Both drummers have a nickname of Tomo which got me a little confused at first.) Even though the oldest member of the group, Tomoya has a childish personality making him the center of bullying. People are actually worried about it too especially when they physically hurt him. But he seems to enjoy it as we can see on the videos. A true masochist, as most fans would call him. (Check out these videos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) This too, where Taka cracked an apple on his head. (That must have hurt a lot. It makes me worry.) There's also this video where he cried as seen at the end. I wonder if the reason behind it was related to Taka blow drying him. (Lol.)
Despite those bullying among the band, Tomoya remains as a superb musician. (Sorry, I can't go in detail as I am not a music expert. Hehe!) You may want to check this video of him playing drums during one of their Ambitions tour. Even though he cannot interact closely with the fans unlike Ryota, Toru and Taka who are always nearest to the fans, you can feel that he deeply enjoys every song they play. He's serious, then smiles like a kid who have just opened his Christmas present.
Tomoya likes to read manga and watch anime (particularly movies) when he gets some spare time as you would observe on his Instagram account. Most of all, the thing he loves most is food. (Proof on Instagram.) Oh, and did I forget to mention he has a funny laugh? And a weird dance? Well, to be fair, Taka and Tomoya can't dance as good as the other two.
Last June 09, 2017, Tomoya announced his marriage through Instagram but didn't mention whom he got married to. No pictures of his wife as well. His wife's identity is still a mystery until today. (However, there are speculations that his wife's name is Kaori and they say the woman is a restaurant owner.) On his Instagram post, he mentioned that he plans on building a happy family while remaining as ONE OK ROCK's drummer.
ALBUMS and SINGLES
ONE OK ROCK has released a total of 15 singles, 8 albums, and 2 mini albums in their 12 years as a band. They began to release a Japanese version and English version album on their 7th and 8th album, 35xxxv and Ambitions, respectively. It was due to their contract with their Japanese and international label. Their Japanese label required them to have the songs in Japanese, meanwhile, their international label required it in English. It's definitely challenging for the band but it's all good because it will help non-Japanese people to better understand their songs. Thus, getting a greater chance of attracting more people around the world to listen to their music.
(image source: giphy.com)
Taka giving high fives to their fans during a concert.
Some songs on their latest album entitled "Ambitions" which was released last January 11, 2017 had collaborations with popular artists like Avril Lavigne on the Japanese version of their song "Listen," 5 Seconds of Summer or 5SOS on both versions for their song "Take What You Want," and Alex Gaskarth from the band All Time Low for the English version of their song "Jaded." Aside from that, the song "One Way Ticket" was co-produced by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. (Linkin Park posted a photo with Taka last 2016 and fans were so excited since they thought both bands will do a song together. Turns out, it was for the song, One Way Ticket.) Also check some of the music videos for their Ambitions album on their official Youtube channel, ONEOKROCKchannel and on Fueled By Ramen.
(image source: giphy.com)
ONE OK ROCK at the backstage before beginning their show.
By the way, they have a color theme for their Ambitions album, and that is yellow. The color symbolizes hope which clearly represents their dreams and ambitions of doing big in the global music scene.
ONE OK ROCK also released their latest and 15th single entitled "Skyfall" last February 18, 2017 wherein they did collaborations for the song "Skyfall" with some amazing Japanese vocalists from different rock bands like MAH (SiM), Masato David Hayakawa (coldrain), and Kenta Koie (Crossfaith.) These four bands together is what they consider as the "Japanese Dream Team" as you can hear Masato say it on the song's intro. (It would be very awesome to see this song performed live with the other three bands.) The Skyfall single was only sold during their Ambitions Japan Tour.
POPULARITY and AMBITIONS
ONE OK ROCK is undeniably popular in Japan even before getting international recognition with their shows getting sold out really fast. I could say, they are equally popular as the group BABYMETAL, whom they share the same talent agency. They've been performing on large venues in Japan like Nippon Buduokan, Yokohama Stadium and Saitama Super Arena, to mention some.
(image source: giphy.com)
ONE OK ROCK performing their song "The Beginning" at Yokohama Stadium.
They got a boost in popularity especially internationally after they made songs for the Rurouni Kenshin live action movies. Songs used in the movies were "The Beginning," "Mighty Long Fall," and "Heartache." This three songs are also among the band's most popular and fans' favorite songs.
(video source: ONEOKROCKchannel via Youtube)
Official music video of their song, Mighty Long Fall.
They began their first international or asian tour called "Start Walking The World" last 2012 on countries Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. They held concerts in Europe on 2013 and in the United Stated on 2014. Also in the year 2014, ONE OK ROCK was among the bands to join the VANS WARPED TOUR. (Here's an interview of them for the Warped Tour.) Some of the music festivals in Japan they had joined to were Rock in Japan Festival, Summer Sonic Festival, Rising Sun Rock Festival and Countdown Japan. For U.S. and Europe festivals, some of the events they attened to were Knotfest, Download Festival, Self Help Festival, and Pink Pop Festival. They've also appeared on magazines like Kerrang!, Rockin' On Japan, Rock Sound, Alternative Press, Viva Glam, and more! They also appeared on Philippine magazine called Pulp.
ONE OK ROCK also went as opening acts for bands like Yellowcard, 5 Seconds of Summer, Issues, All Time Low, and more. The band began to be busier than ever when they began their 35xxxv tour which covered a tour in Japan, America, Europe and Asia. Their songs were always a topnotcher on Oricon chart too. They've also won some awards like Best Japanese Act on MTV Europe Music Award 2016, Best Active Overseas on Space Shower Music Video Awards 2016, and Best Rock Videos on MTV Video Music Awards Japan for their songs Answer is Near (2012), The Beginning (2013), and Be The Light (2014). The band was also invited to do a cover of My Chemical Romance's song "The End" in celebration of the 10th anniversary of their album "The Black Parade." And ONE OK ROCK has gained the attention of some car manufacturers too. Their song "Deeper Deeper" was used for Suzuki Swift Sport's Japanese commercial. This year they did a commercial with Honda using the song "Take What You Want" for the "Go, Vantage Point" featuring the latest Civic model. Watch the commercial HERE and behind the scenes HERE. Taka also collaborated with Simple Plan for the Japanese version of the song Summer Paradise.
Going on tour to different continents, they sure have made a bunch of dedicated fans around the globe. It's not new getting stalked and followed by fans everywhere when you're a popular public figure, or should I say, a rockstar? Last January 25, 2017, Taka took on Instagram his frustration on his Japanese fans. He said that he can't eat properly and when he gets off the bus, the fans would be there pointing their phones at him like he is a Pokemon character. He wanted a little freedom to smoke outside or breathe fresh air. He also mentioned that even during shows abroad, it was the Japanese fans whom he can see infront. It makes him feel a little disappointed that they can't give the best experience to their international fans which is their reason for the international shows. All he wishes was for their fans to know their limitations. Well, it's nice to have dedicated fans but it gets annoying when they follow you literally everywhere. Fans should also give space for their idols and respect their privacy.
They've been also set to guest on Linkin Park's One More Light World Tour in North America and Japan this year but was cancelled after Chester Bennington's death. In fact, everything was almost all ready. They've been already featured on the magazine Rockin' On Japan and also did a special interview together. It has been Taka's dream to work with them since they're one of his favorite bands, but I guess it will never happen. Taka posted two photos of Chester on Instagram, a solo photo and a photo together, to remember and thank him. (I was also looking forward to a Chester and Taka screaming on stage when they announced the tour and wished the tour included Philippines because I will definitely never ever miss that chance. But I guess we can never say things would go well no matter how planned it was.) However, even the tour was cancelled, Taka was still able to perform with Linkin Park as he was invited to perform last October 27 on a Linkin Park show called Linkin Park and Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington. It was held at the Hollywood Bowl and was also available livestream on Youtube. People around the world was able to watch it live simultaneously. Taka sang the song Somewhere I Belong and appeared on the live show around 42:23.
Meanwhile, for their ongoing tour called Ambitions Tour, they are getting ready for their European Tour with Crown The Empire as their opening acts. They also had a World Tour to various countries, North American Tour, and Japan Tour where Fall Out Boy was their opening act for Japan. (Even LiSA went to see the Ambitions Tour at Saitama Super Arena! She posted her concert ticket on her Instagram account and calls them a "monster band.") A show was also scheduled in Mexico but was cancelled because of the earthquake.
(video source: ONEOKROCKchannel via Youtube)
Song "Taking Off" at Nagisaen. Just see how awesome everyone is! This song is also included in their Ambitions album.
It has been their biggest dream to spread their music around the world. And it looks like today, their dream is already beginning to come true. From small venues, to music halls, to music festivals, to arenas. ONE OK ROCK has already done it to different parts of the world. This band has a lot of surprises and they are just beginning.
A lot of people say ONE OK ROCK's songs are awesome. Fans say, if you fell in love with their studio albums, you will love them even more when you hear them live. Their live concerts are on a higher level, they said. And I think I wouldn't dare disagree with these people because this is what I believe too (Based on the videos I've seen. Yes, hello Youtube! Haha!) even though I am yet to find this out myself next year on their Asia Tour!
AMBITIONS ASIA TOUR 2018
(image source: PULP Live World via Facebook)
Ambitions Asia Tour Live in Manila poster.
ONE OK ROCK's official Facebook page posted the announcement of their Ambitions Asia Tour last September 22. The countries included on their Asia Tour are Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Philippines. Asian fans were very delighted and hyped about the announcement since it has been two years since their last Asian tour. According to the Facebook post, they might add more countries for the tour. So no worries to those whose country was not mentioned. Let's all hope for a good news on the additional announcement!
The ONE OK ROCK Ambitions Tour Manila is set to take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on January 29,2018. Ticket selling for their Philippine show began last October 14 and as expected, the nearby seats were sold out fast! Although do not worry because there are still lots of seats available! So if you are planning to see them here, better buy your tickets early to reserve a good spot. You can buy your tickets on any SM Tickets outlets nationwide or online through SM Tickets' website. I bought mine online. Yes, see you on the 29th! Meanwhile. to make things a lot more exciting, We The Kings is planning to open for ONE OK ROCK's Asia Tour in Manila. We The Kings vocalist, Travis Clark, posted a tweet about it last October 14, 2017. The band is a little familiar to me so I hope they get the spot to open for the tour.
ONE OK ROCK Ambitions Tour Manila is presented by Amuse,Inc. Asia, B'in Live, and Pulp Live World. Please check the Philippine poster for the ticket prices. Here's a promotional video for the upcoming Manila show. This is going to be their second time performing in the Philippines and everyone knows how exciting their return will be! Even Taka expressed his excitement on Instagram! Take note, of all the Asian countries, he chose the Philippine poster! The hype is real, indeed! Although their second time, this is only going to be my first time seeing them live. I don't have enough money back then. (Haha!) I can't wait to see and hear them live!
ONE OF THE BEST JAPANESE BANDS EVER!
(image source: giphy.com)
Ryota, Taka, Toru, and Tomoya during their 35xxxv tour.
ONE OK ROCK is a popular band Japan can be very proud to show off to the world. Despite them getting banned to appear on some television channels in Japan, this didn't made them feel less. They continued to move forward and focused so much to reach their dreams. Truly an inspiration for everyone. That no matter people close their doors on them, it didn't made them surrender. They paved their own path and thrived against all the people trying to bring them down. It's true when you focus yourself to your goals, nothing is impossible to achieve.
For me, their songs has a different style from other Japanese rock bands which make them stand out and capture the hearts of people. Taka's versatile voice, their interesting music, high energy on stage, and their amusing personality. What more can you ask for? ONE OK ROCK is one of the best bands I have known. I am happy that they have been getting more recognition since their 35xxxv and Ambitions album. This band isn't hard to love. I promise!
If you want to get the latest updates about this band, you can check their official website and official social media accounts— Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Watch their videos on Youtube (ONEOKROCKchannel and Fueled By Ramen.) You can also listen to their songs on iTunes and Spotify.
Thanks for reading!