ikimono-gakari (いきものがかり, ikimono-gakari?) is a Japanese rock band. They are part of Sony Music Japan's EPIC Records label.
The band was formed in Kanagawa Prefecture in February 1999 by Hotaka Yamashita and Yoshiki Mizuno, and was later joined by lead vocalist Kiyoe Yoshioka in December the same year.
Kiyoe Yoshioka (Vocals)
Hotaka Yamashita (Guitar and Harmonica)
Yoshiki Mizuno (Guitar and vocals)
Hotaka Yamashita (山下穂尊, Yamashita Hotaka?, born August 27, 1982) is from Ebina-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture. He is a graduate of Atsugi High School and the Faculty of Social Sciences, Hosei University. He plays the guitar and harmonica, and has written lyrics and melodies to some of the band's songs. His nicknames are Hocchi and Yama-chan.
Yoshiki Mizuno (水野良樹, Mizuno Yoshiki?, born December 17, 1982) is from Ebina-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture. He is a graduate of Atsugi High School and the Faculty of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University. He is the leader of the band, and plays the guitar and vocals. He has also written lyrics and melodies to some of the band's songs. His nickname is Yocchan.
Kiyoe Yoshioka (吉岡聖恵, Yoshioka Kiyoe?, born February 29, 1984) is from Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture. Her parents are farmers. She is a graduate of Ebina High School and the Showa Academia Musicae Junior College. She is the band's lead vocalist, and has written lyrics to some of the band's songs. Her older brother was a classmate of both Hotaka and Yoshiki at high school. Her nicknames are Yosshie, Kiyoe-chan and Kiyorasu (by Shouko Nakagawa). She joined the band in high school when she suddenly saw Yamashita and Mizuno singing in front of the train station. She used to belong to a children theatrical company.
Ikimono-gakari's musical style stems from their original lounge rock style found on their first three mini albums under Cubit Club. Their primary instruments were the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar, and the harmonica. Their initial music was considerably slower; "Natsu Koi" on Sakura Saku Machi Monogatari is considerably faster in tempo compared to the same song on Makoto ni Senetsu Nagara First Album wo Koshirae Mashita.... Guitarist and band leader Yoshiki Mizuno also sang considerably more on their indie albums.
With the release of their first major-label album, Sakura Saku Machi Monogatari, their style changed to a more conventional rock style, but still keeping with their traditional guitar-harmonica combination. They also began to add other elements to their songs, such as strings and tambourines, as evidenced by "Sakura" and "Kira Kira Train". Additionally, they recorded songs with faster tempos, such as "Ryūsei Miracle" and "Hinageshi".
Ikimono-gakari began to shift to a more mainstream pop sound with their second and third albums, Life Album and My Song Your Song. Songs like "Kimagure Romantic" differed greatly from their songs during the Sakura Saku era. Life Album saw the revival of a couple of songs from their indie albums; "Hana wa Sakura Kimi wa Utsukushi" from Makoto ni Senetsu... and "Chikoku Shichau yo" from Jinsei Sugoroku Dabe. "Kuchidzuke", also from Jinsei Sugoroku Dabe. was revived on My Song Your Song.