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.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Otokogumi -- DAYBREAK

Commenter Yuie-chan contacted me the other day and told me about Otokogumi(男闘呼組). Now, this was another Johnny's Entertainment group of guys from the 1980s but I had to be reminded about them since I only knew them by reputation via their appearances in the old "Myojo"(明星)magazines. At the time, my knowledge of Johnny's boys and men was basically restricted to the aidoru groups of Hikaru Genji(光GENJI), Shibugakitai(シブがき隊)and Shonentai(少年隊).

One thing that struck me about Otokogumi was that although they were part of the Johnny's groups which included SMAP and include the current kings of the hill, Arashi(嵐), this particular quartet apparently wasn't considered to be an aidoru team but a rock band. And indeed, the members all played their own instruments; Yuie-chan even mentioned that they had been a progenitor of sorts to the later group TOKIO whose members also play their own instruments.

The lineup for Otokogumi changed at the beginning of their 8-year history (1985-1993), but if I've read the J-Wiki article correctly, the regular lineup consisted of lead guitarist Shoji Narita(成田昭次), bassist Kazuya Takahashi(高橋一也), rhythm guitarist Kenichi Okamoto(岡本健一)and keyboardist/leader Koyo Maeda(前田耕陽). All of them also performed vocals.

Otokogumi's first single was "DAYBREAK" which was released in August 1988, and I gotta say that although Van Halen and Def Leppard had nothing to fear from them, Otokogumi was definitely not a group of aidoru. "DAYBREAK" is actually a pretty good pop/rock song by a Johnny's group.

Written by Akira Ohtsu(大津あきら)and composed by Koji Makaino(馬飼野康二)under his pseudonym of Mark Davis, the rock and vocals are quite smooth and accomplished. The guys may not dance around but they definitely gave a solid performance as a band. And as you can see above, Otokogumi made it onto the 1988 Kohaku Utagassen within the first half-hour of coverage (it started at 9:00 pm back in those days).

"DAYBREAK" went all the way up to No. 1 and stayed in that position for three out of the four weeks in September 1988, and despite that relatively late premiere, the song even managed to become the 4th-ranked single for that same year. Otokogumi also won Best New Artist honours at the Japan Record Awards.



    I love the article! <3 They are my favorite band of all time (well, at this time anyway.. haha).

    I have a looot of their songs I'd love to talk about, but alas, you have other songs, bands and genres to review :) Maybe some other time.

  2. Hi J! I just realized when I reread this, Mark Davis is actually Makaino Koji! I've been looking for this Mark Davis for such a long time, because his name appears on almost all of their songs. Haha thank you!

    1. No problems here, Yuie-chan. Good to hear from you.


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