All-girl Bands from Japan: Pop Bands

The page features some of the all-girl pop-rock and pop bands from Japan. It is part of a series: All-girl Rock Bands from Japan.

The bands featured on this page range from gentle pop to pop-oriented rock and roll.

Active Bands

These are the bands that are still going strong (or at least they are still going). I am in the process of updating this page an will add the following bands soon: Tancobuchin, Babysitter, GIRLFRIEND, SplitBoB, Fuyu’s Animal, Ganbere! Victory, Lily’s Blow.

SCANDAL

Haruna Ono (vocals, guitar), Tomomi Ogawa (bass, vocals), Mami Sasazaki (lead guitar, vocals) and Rina Suzuki (drums, vocals)

Scandal: Shunkan Sentimental

SCANDAL is a very popular four-piece pop rock band formed in 2006, when the girls were in high school in Osaka. They started out playing street performances, were soon offered club gigs and then broke out in 2008 with a string of singles while still trying to keep up with their studies. SCANDAL was initially promoted as a schoolgirl band and wore school uniforms in music videos and live performances, but they are now veterans of the music scene with eight studio albums and four compilation albums. Their style has shifted slightly from straight-up rock songs to slightly more sophisticated pop-rock arrangements.

The music video on this page is for the song Shunkan Sentimental from their second album, Temptation Box, which was released in August 2010. By the release of this album, the band’s sound had already become more polished and varied.

Though there were quite a few Japanese all-girl bands before SCANDAL burst on the scene, Scandal has been very influential in creating a kind of ‘yeah-we-can-do-this’ spirit among young female musicians in Japan. The band has served as a kind or role model for many new all-girl bands, which often start out doing covers of Scandal’s large repertoire of songs.

In their music arrangements, both SCANDAL and their hard rock counterpart BAND-MAID (longzijun.wordpress.com/words/japanese-all-female-rock-bands/)give each band member plenty of time in the spotlight, and both bands make use of a second vocalist (Miku in BAND-MAID and Tomomi in Scandal) who have very different vocal timbres to the main vocalists of their bands. These second vocalists sometimes support the lead singer, sometimes provide a counterpoint and sometimes take over the lead momentarily (like Tomomi does in Shunkan Sentimental) to add some sonic variety.

Here is an interesting video of SCANDAL playing Space Ranger in their early street performing days: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvnwr7qutTw. Interestingly. the song’s arrangement is basically the same as the later studio recording, which shows how the band’s sound was already in place before getting snapped up by their record label. (official website: www.scandal-4.com/)

Silent Siren (サイレントサイレン)

Suu (vocals, guitar), Hinanchu (drums), Ainyan (bass), Yukarun (keyboards)

Silent Siren: 八月の夜 (August Night)

Silent Siren is a pop-rock band formed in 2010. The founding members were all doing amateur modelling work in their teens when they decided on forming the band. Suu and Hinanchu discovered a shared passion for music between modelling gigs and formed the band, inviting their friends to join. They released their first album in 2012, a year in which one member, keyboardist Yana, left the band and another, guitarist Kubo Naoki, decided take on a support member role. They released their sixth studio album 31313 in 2019. The band is popular in Japan, with each of the last 5 albums reaching the top 7 in the weekly album sales chart. Their sound is very light and poppy compared to most of the other bands on the list. (official site: silent-siren.com)

Eu Phoria*, THE PINK☆PANDA*, BLiSTAR*, Gacharic Spin, DOLL$BOX*

These five bands have inter-related lineups. They mainly play rock, but there is usually a pop element to the sound.

Eu Phoria: Valentine Jealousy

Eu Phoria: Shoco (vocals), Tomo2 (guitar), Ayaka (bass), Reona (keyboard), Sawa2 (drums)

Eu Phoria (ユーフォーリア) was a short-lived Tokyo-based band, which released only three singles in 2007 and 2008 before splitting up. The band members were aiming for a pop-oriented rock sound. One distinguishing feature of the band was the classic rock guitar solos from Tomo2.

Gacharic Spin: Hana (drums, vocal), F Chopper KOGA (bass) +Roen
Oreo Reona (keyboards), TOMO-ZO (guitar)

Gacharic spin was formed in 2009 when Eu Phoria band members Tomo2 (now TOMO-ZO) and Reona2 (now Oreo Reona) teamed up with drummer and vocalist Hana and her longtime friend bassist F Chopper KOGA. Gacharic Spin are still actively performing and recording. They have since added dancers (Yuri and Angelina 1/3), and their pop rock sound has gotten even poppier and more cheerful over the years—to the point where I am wondering if it isn’t a kind of parody (Shake It: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kcnFTd-W_0). Hana has a great stage presence, but the standout musician in that song is F Chopper KOGA on bass. (Gacharic spin’s official website: www.gacharicspin.com)

THE PINK☆PANDA: F Chopper KOGA (bass), MAYU (vocals), RINA (guitar), NANA-A (drums)

THE PINK☆PANDA was F Chopper KOGA’s former band. It was an all-girl pop-punk band that was formed in 2002 (THE PINK☆PANDA: Fly Up! www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNo9zpVKMHw). The band released a mini-album, a studio album, three singles and a greatest hits compilation before F Chopper KOGA left the band to become a founding member of Gacharic Spin.

BLiSTAR was the band formed by the three remaining members of THE PINK☆PANDA—MAYU, RINA and NANA-A. This band had a more straightforward rock sound (BLiSTAR: Parallel World: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9L-o5Ietyo). They released an album and mini-album before going on a long long long hiatus due to MAYU’s pregnancy. PINK☆PANDA was more a punk pop band, while BLiSTAR had a more commercial pop rock sound.

DOLL$BOX: Monopoly

DOLL$BOX: Fuki (vocals) + Gacharic Spin

DOLL$BOX was a 2012 collaboration between the members of Gacharic Spin and Fuki, the lead vocalist of the band Light Bringer. In this incarnation, they have a heavier sound that veers between rock, pop and metal.


Defunct Bands: 2010-2019

These are pop-rock bands that disbanded after 2010.

Negoto

Sachiko Aoyama (vocals, keyboards) , Mizuki Masuda (guitar, vocals), Sayako Sawamura (drums, vocals). Yu Fujisaki (bass, vocals)

NEGOTO: Mercirou

NEGOTO is recommended by one of readers, Icarus. Their sound is a lot more keyboard-oriented than the other bands on this list. NEGOTO was formed in 2006 by Sachiko Aoyama, Mizuki Masuda and Sayako Sawamura (drums, backing vocals) while all three were in high school. The next year Masuda recruited her childhood friend Yu Fujisaki. They have released five studio albums between 2011 and 2017, but have recently announced that will disband in the summer of 2019 after a brief farewell tour. NEGOTO never really got the exposure they deserved.

Chelsy*

MIO (vocals, guitar), SHIZUKA (bass, vocals), AMI (drums)

Chelsy: Yes

Chelsy were a pop rock trio that released several singles from 2014 to 2018.  What I like about this band is that they are willing to slowly ease into a song and just float through a mid-tempo groove for the entire song. The band’s arrangements tend to be quite sparse, and MIO has a kind of sincere, restrained and slightly melancholic singing style that reminds me of Yui. This influence seems particularly evident in the band’s demo video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzZa6_YUeg8).

It it is unfortunate that Chelsy broke up before the band were really able to build on their early success. The band members have all quickly gone on to their own solo projects.

Stereopony* (ステレオポニー) & Draft King*

Stereopony: Aimi (vocals, guitar), Nohana (bass), Shiho (drums)

Stereopony: Stand By Me

Stereopony was a very popular three-piece band from Okinawa. The band was signed to Sony and released three albums before disbanding in 2012 due to Aimi suffering from problems with her throat. The members of Stereopony were around the same age as the musicians in Scandal, but they had a more polished sound, with some songs being reminiscent of the singer-songwriter Yui (with whom they collaborated).

The band was versatile, with some of their songs having a j-pop feel (with Aimi singing in a higher, lighter, more typically j-pop voice) and other songs leaning more towards indie rock. After Stereopony disbanded, Nohana and Shiho recruited two more musicians (Erica and Mao) to form another all-female band  Draft King (アブラカタブラ: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpSSLkkabVQ). In 2014, Aimi teamed up with Hiroki Arai to form an experimental rock music group called Alice in Underground (Nijigen no Romansu a Go Go!: (www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnAxaJvABiI). Unfortunately, both of these new projects fizzled out by 2015.

Defunct Bands: 2000-2009

These are all-girls pop bands that disbanded between 2000 and 2009. During the early 2000s, two all-girl bands from Hokkaido—Whiteberry and Zone— enjoyed popularity, but both bands disbanded in 2004 while the girls were still in their teens. Nakanomori band then took up the all-girl pop band mantle until they disbanded in 2008, the year that SCANDAL started to make waves.

Whiteberry

Yuki Maeda (vocals), Aya Inatsuki (guitar), Yukari Hasegawa (bass), Rimi Mizusawa (keyboards), Erika Kawamura (drums)

Whiteberry: Nastu Matsuri (Summer Festival)

Whiteberry was formed in 1994 by five friends who at the time were still in elementary school in Kitami City. They band was signed by SONY in 1999 and released three studio albums while the girls were in high school. In 2003, they took a hiatus to concentrate on their studies, In 2004, they released a ‘graduation’ single in 2004 before disbanding in order to head off to college. Natsu Masturi is a cover version of rockabilly band Jitterin’ Jinn’s song.

ZONE

Miyu Nagase (lead vocals, guitar), Mizuho Saito (drums, vocals), Maiko Sakae (bass, bass) and Takayo Ookoshi (guitar, vocals)

Zone: Secret Base (live)

ZONE started as an eight-member dance-oriented pop idol group in Sapporo in 1997, but to differentiate themselves from other idol groups on the market, they morphed into a four-piece band featuring . Takayo left the band in 2003 and was replaced by one of the former Zone members—Tomoka Nishimura. The band released three studio albums between 2002 and 2004. Miyu  was just shy of seventeen at the time of the band’s final performance. The above video of their biggest hit, the beautifully nostalgic Secret Base, is from that farewell concert. SCANDAL has done a nice cover of Secret Base: www.youtube.com/watch?v=it-Vh9RYYCI

Nakanomori BAND* (中ノ森 BAND) (2004 – 2008)

Ayako (vocals/guitar), Yucco (bass), Cheeta (drums), Shinamon (keyboards)

Nakanomori BAND: I Need LOVE

Nakanomori BAND (中ノ森 BAND) was a four-member pop-rock band that debuted in 2005 and released three albums before disbanding in 2008. Their songs veered between pop-rock and pop ballads. To me, the song I Need LOVE is reminiscent of Don’t Get Me Wrong by Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders.

Mi* (バンド) (2003-2007)

Maika (lead vocals), Aya ( keyboards, vocals), Yuri (a multi-instrumentalist who mainly played bass)

Mi: 未来の地図  (Map of the Future)

The pop band Mi was put together after auditions held by Columbia Music Entertainment. Like GO-BANGs,  the trio was “missing” some instruments and added male musicians for many of their live performances. They released two studio albums and are best known for the first single, the lovely and melodic. 未来の地図 (Map of the Future).

Defunct Bands: 1990-1999

Princess Princess and GO-BANGS are among the first of the all girl pop bands.

Princess Princess* (プリンセス・プリンセス) (1983-1996)

Kaori Kishitani (vocals), Kanako Nakayama (guitar), Atsuko Watanabe (bass), Tomoko Konno (keyboards), Kyoko Tomita (drums)

Princess Princess: Career Highlights (the video focuses on Kaori Kishitani)

This five-piece pop-rock band was founded in 1983 and eventually disbanded in 1996, with the band members reuniting for concerts in 2012 and 2016. The above video charts their progress musically (moving from synth pop to a more rock-based sound), sartorially and follically (the hairstyles!) over the years. Unlike most of the bands featured on this page, which formed organically, Princess Princess was assembled by a record label. The members were chosen via auditions and were trained by a producer for two years. They had a few number one hits between 1989 and 1991, when the band’s popularity was at its peak.

GO-BANGS* (1983-1994)

Kaori Moriwaka (vocals), Mistuko Saito (drums), Misa Tanijima (bass)

GO-BANGS: サマンサ (Samantha)

GO-BANGS was a prolific but short-lived three-piece all-female pop-rock band that released eleven studio albums between 1986 nd 1994. The band had a cheerful, upbeat sound and featured on bass. Their original guitarist dropped out early on in the band’s career, so to round out their sound, the GO-BANGS sometimes performed together with with an all-male trio—the King Gangs.

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