I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

TM Revolution -- White Breath

Recently on an episode of comedian Shofukutei Tsurube's "Kazoku ni Kanpai"(家族に乾杯...Salute to Families), I got to see Takanori Nishikawa(西川貴教)for the first time in several years. The program usually has the host and the guest visiting some of the smaller communities in rural Japan, so Nishikawa sounded even louder than usual as the guys traipsed through the side streets. Anyone seeing the guy for the first time would have thought that he was yet another member of the Yoshimoto Kogyo comedy troupe.

Actually back in the 90s, he gained fame under the name of TM Revolution. When I first saw him get his big breakthrough hit via his 6th single, "White Breath", I just wondered if he had anything to do with the band TM Network. I mean, he and that particular band seemed to be swimming in the same genre, but there was still a palpable difference. As it turned out, though, producer and the composer of "White Breath", Daisuke Asakura(浅倉大介)was supposed to have been the one behind the name. According to J-Wiki, Asakura came up with "Takanori Makes Revolution" as a clarion call for him, Takanori, the staff and all of the fans to amass behind the project and go forward. The origin story gets more interesting since Asakura was also a support member for TM Network at one time although he said that he didn't really see the similarity in the names until sometime later. Apparently, he has also mentioned on TV and radio that Tetsuya Komuro(小室哲哉)from the band had given his blessing for Asakura to use the "TM".

"White Breath" was a song that I recall got a lot of heavy promotion on the airwaves as TM Revolution sang as if he were really trying to make a revolution of sorts, vocally speaking. And I think the music video set my visual impression of the fellow: a somewhat delicate-looking guy with the intense movements and shirt-optional fashion.

Along with Asakura composing the music, Akio Inoue(井上秋緒), a former manager of TM Network, came up with the lyrics. Released in October 1997, "White Breath" not only hit No. 1 on Oricon, but it also became TM Revolution's first million-seller hit with almost 1.3 million copies sold. It also punched his ticket to get onto the Kohaku Utagassen. Despite the relatively late release date, "White Breath" became the 39th-ranked single for 1997 and hung on to become the 66th-ranked single for 1998.

My other memory of TM Revolution involves his appearances on the Fuji-TV program "HEY! HEY! HEY! Music Champ". He always got the "good cop, bad cop" treatment from the hosts of the program, comedic duo Downtown, and Bad Cop Masatoshi Hamada(浜田雅功)comically abused the lad (often on his effeminate appearance) until he finally exploded. I wonder if music hadn't been TM's thing, whether he would have gone into Yoshimoto Kogyo for real.


  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    It's been a while since I heard "White Breath" for the last time. It's not my favourite song from him, but it's surely a classic. If I'm not mistaken he performed it with Nana Mizuki last year, around the time they were promoting their collaboration singles.

    Thanks for all the info about how they came up with the "TM" in the name. I always thought that Daisuke had chosen it in a very deliberate form, explicity paying homage to TM Network (considering his connections with Komuro-san), but it seens it was not the case.

    When I was new to J-Pop, one friend told me that TM Revolution was somewhat a Japanese Michael Jackson. At the time, I accepted this, but after spending more time listening and watching him, I can say that this comparison was not very right.

    1. I saw a video out there on YouTube that starred him and Mizuki so I'm pretty sure that "White Breath" was probably the one.

      Yeah, I'm not sure if the Michael Jackson analogy would apply to TM Revolution but perhaps your friend may have been comparing the pitch of their voices.


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