In 2000, three young girls formed a group together in their hometown of Hiroshima. They were Nishiwaki Ayaka (A~chan), Kashino Yuka (Kashiyuka), and Kawashima Yuuka (Kawayuka). Because all three members had the Japanese character for fragrance in their names (香), they named the group Perfume. However, before the group could even debut, Kawashima decided to pull out of the project and pursue her studies.
Perfume decided to continue on as a duo but Nishiwaki's mother commented on the lack of power that a two-member group has. Nishiwaki set out to find a replacement, and Oomoto Ayano (Nocchi) joined as the third member. The three girls attended the Actors School in Hiroshima (as part of the inaugural class of 1999) so although it was awkward for Nocchi and Kashiyuka at first (they had never met before being introduced by A~chan), they soon became a tight-knit group.
In 2001, Perfume debuted in Hiroshima with the single "OMAJINAI★Perori". They followed up the release with "Kareshi Boshuuchuu". Both singles were only sold in Hiroshima under Momiji Label. Around this time they also met Mikiko, a choreographer who would go on to coordinate all of the group's dances from this point forward.
Perfume promoting "Monochrome Effect" (2004)
In 2003, following their graduation from the Actors School in Hiroshima, the trio moved to Tokyo. There, they became a part of BEE-HIVE (an idol group similar to Hello! Project) and signed with the management office Amuse Inc.. As a part of BEE-HIVE, the trio experienced the harsh reality of life away from home as well as dormitory life. However, they also made friends and learned valuable lessons.
In Tokyo, they also met someone who would become a crucial aspect of their success, capsule's Nakata Yasutaka who would become their main producer. Between the years of 2003 and 2004, they released "Sweet Donuts", "Monochrome Effect", and "Vitamin Drop" under the indies label BEE-HIVE RECORDS. It was also during this time that they had their first three live performances. Because the girls were so energetic, fans acquired an appreciation for them. Still, none of their releases became a hit. Not very many people showed up to Perfume's lives and they struggled to build a fanbase. Although the members became distressed by their lack of success, they carried on. Though they were in danger of being dropped, their management office made the choice to give Perfume a major debut.
In August of 2005, Perfume dabbled in Akihabara style music. They participated in a special project tiled Akihabalove featuring Perfume x DJ Momo-i. The song was released on a DVD along with the promotional video.
On September 21, 2005, Perfume made its major label debut under the label, Tokuma Japan Communications. They released the single "Linear Motor Girl", which managed to chart on the Oricon charts at #99.
Two singles, "Computer City" and "Electro World" followed in 2006. Around this time, more people began to notice Perfume through rumors on the internet as well as through YouTube videos. Nakata's unique style led to Perfume being crowned as a "near future technopop unit". However, none of the three releases was a solid hit.
On August 2, 2006, Perfume released Perfume ~Complete Best~ along with a new track, "Perfect Star, Perfect Style" . They promoted the album at small events in stores and on streets, even handing out leaflets to passing strangers. The album reached #33 on the Oricon charts (later climbing up as high as #25 with the release of Perfume's 2nd album GAME). The release of this compilation caused fans to worry that the group's disbandment was near as usually, groups who release best-of albums before they have a major hit are disbanded soon after.
On December 20, 2006, Perfume released a digital single, "Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow". The song later appeared on their single, "Fan Service [sweet]". One day later, Perfume had a live concert held at Harajuku Astro Hall which was later recorded and released as Fan Service [bitter].
While almost all of the other BEE-HIVE members began to get dropped by Amuse Inc., Perfume was given the opportunity to release another single. In February 2007, they released "Fan Service [sweet]" featuring the fun dance track "Chocolate Disco". This was a turning point for Perfume in which their luck began to change. Although the sales for "Fan Service [sweet]" were not stellar, "Chocolate Disco" did catch the attention of an already well-established artist in the J-pop industry, Kimura Kaela. Kimura then played Perfume's music on her radio show consistently. While listening to Kimura's radio show, a commercial director named Akira Tomotsugi noticed Perfume and decided to use the three girls in an upcoming TV ad.
On July 1, 2007, the commercial for NHK's national recycling campaigned aired, featuring Perfume and a new song, "Polyrhythm". The commercial gave Perfume exposure they could have only dreamed of before. Subsequently, their next live show sold out, Perfume ~Complete Best~ reached #1 on the Amazon CD charts, and Perfume became the first idol group to perform at the Summer Sonic music festival.
On September 12, 2007, Perfume released their 10th single "Polyrhythm". It reached #4 on the Oricon daily single charts and climbed as high as #7 on the weekly charts. This is noted as the beginning of Perfume's national fame.
In 2008, the group followed up the success of "Polyrhythm" with "Baby cruising Love / Macaroni". The single reached #3 on the Oricon weekly charts and sold 50,000 copies.
Perfume promoting GAME (2008)
On April 16, 2008, Perfume released their first original album, GAME. The album reached #1 on the Oricon charts upon its release, making Perfume the first technopop group to achieve this since Yellow Magic Orchestra in 1983. Amazingly, at the time of the album's release, Perfume ~Complete Best~, "Polyrhythm", and "Baby cruising Love / Macaroni" all re-entered the Oricon charts. The album went on to sell over 450,000 copies and was certified double platinum.
After the album's release, Perfume First Tour "GAME" was announced. The group toured 10 cities and sold out all tickets. On the final date of the tour, Perfume announced that they would be doing a 2-day show at the prestigious Nippon Budokan in November 2008, as well as the release date of their next single, "love the world" The single, released on July 9, 2008, became the first technopop song to ever reach #1 on the Oricon charts.
In October 2008, the Perfume First Tour "GAME" DVD was announced. Upon its release, it beat out prominent artists like Koda Kumi and Namie Amuro for the #1 spot. Perfume then performed at Budokan for 2 days, November 6th and 7th. On the second show, titled "BUDOUKaaaaaaaaaaN!!!!!", they announced a show at yet another famous venue, Yoyogi National Gymnasium titled "Disco!Disco!Disco!".
The year 2008 ended with the release of their 13th single, "Dream Fighter", which reached #2 on the charts. They were also chosen to sing at NHK's 59th Kouhaku Uta Gassen, the prestigious end of the year live TV program (with A~chan fulfilling one of her lifelong dreams).
On March 24, 2009 Perfume’s "Dream Fighter" PV won the title “BEST CHOREOGRAPHY VIDEO” at SPACE SHOWER TV「MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS 09」.
On March 25, 2009, Perfume released their 14th single, "One Room Disco", which reached #1 on the charts. In April 2009, Perfume began broadcast of a comedy sketch program titled Perfume's Chandelier House.
On July 8, 2009, the group released its 3rd album, ⊿. The album was another #1 hit for Perfume, selling over 300,000 copies. Perfume then went on their 2nd nationwide tour in order to promote the album.
On December 31, 2009, Perfume closed what proved to be a successful year for them by performing "One Room Disco" on NHK's 60th Kouhaku Uta Gassen.
2010-11 - 10th Anniversary & Tokyo Dome
In 2010, Perfume released "Fushizen na Girl / Natural ni Koishite", which reached #2 on the charts. They went on a fanclub-exclusive tour and titled P.T.A. Spring 2010 Tour.
Following the P.T.A. tour, A~chan expressed interest in holding a live at Tokyo Dome. Soon after, it was announced that Perfume would indeed be having a show at the prestigious venue titled Kessei 10 Shunen, Major Debut 5 Shunen Kinen! Perfume LIVE at Tokyo Dome 「1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11」.
In Summer 2010, Perfume, along with other Japanese artists like Koda Kumi or Kubukuro, took part in a commercial for a Pepsi NEX campaign. In that commercial, they covered a short segment of Lovefool by The Cardigans.
On August 11, 2010, Perfume celebrated their 10th anniversary with the release of their 16th single, "VOICE". The single reached #2 on the charts and has sold over 120,000 copies. Following up the success of "VOICE", Perfume released their 17th single, "Nee". The single also reached #2 on the Oricon charts and debuted with sales of 85,000 copies.
On November 3, 2010, Perfume held the announced concert at Tokyo Dome titled Kessei 10 Shunen, Major Debut 5 Shunen Kinen! Perfume LIVE at Tokyo Dome 「1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11」 in celebration of their 10th anniversary together as a group. Perfume was the first female group to have a concert at the dome since SPEED in 1998 and the 2nd female group overall. Tickets for the show were sold out on the day tickets were released. The demand for the tickets was so high that extra, unplanned seats were added. Perfume performed to 50,000 fans.
On November 28, 2010, Perfume attended the Korean awards show Mnet! Asian Music Awards in Macau to receive the "Best Asia Pop Artist Award". It was Perfume's first overseas performance and the first time that a Japanese artist had attended the awards in person (AKB48 appeared the previous year on the show through a satellite broadcast).
To finish up 2010, Perfume attended numerous end of the year shows, including those hosted by CDTV and Music Station. Once again, Perfume attended NHK's annual Kouhaku Uta Gassen as part of the Red Team.
On February 9, 2011, Perfume released their 5th concert DVD, titled Kessei 10 Shunen, Major Debut 5 Shunen Kinen! Perfume LIVE at Tokyo Dome 「1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11」 . It was filmed at their November 3, 2010 Tokyo Dome concert. The DVD debuted at #1 on the Oricon Weekly DVD charts and Perfume became the first female group to have four consecutive #1 debuts on the DVD chart.
On May 18, 2011, Perfume released their 18th single, "Laser Beam / Kasuka na Kaori". The single reached #2 on the Oricon Weekly single charts. It sold over 90,000 copies in the first week, marking the group's best first week sales for a single.
2011-12 - JPN Release, Overseas and Arena Tour.
Perfume promoted once again for Kirin in beginning of July with a new song called "GLITTER". In September they finally announced the release of their 4th Album JPN on November 30th, with 14 tracks (singles included) and the full PV Version of "Laser Beam" which Perfume didn't finished, and the release of their 19th single "Spice" on November 2nd backed with "GLITTER". "Spice" was used as the theme song for the drama series Sengyoshufu Tantei, the first a Perfume song was selected for a theme song. September also saw the digital release of "Perfume Selection" in Korea to coincide with their appearance at the 2011 Asia Song Festival, marking the groups first overseas release. They also announced their third tour in support of JPN beginning in January 2012 which marked the groups first all arena tour.
JPN was released on November 30th and immediately went to #1 on the Oricon Daily Chart. The album took the #1 spot in the Oricon Weekly Chart of its release making Perfume the first girl group to have 3 consecutive #1 album releases since SPEED. Once again to finished the year attending NHK's annual Kouhaku Uta Gassen as part of the Red Team.
In end of February 2012, Perfume announced that they had moved to Universal Music Japan. With the change of the label, they officially kicked of overseas activities by releasing JPN in 50 countries on the iTunes Store. They launched also an officially global website and opened their very own official YouTube channel.
In the same time they announced the release of their 20th single titled "Spring of Life". The song was used as CM song for Kirin, like "GLITTER" and "Laser Beam" were. Perfume shoot the video for this new CM in Los Angeles, Califorina. It was the first time that Perfume shoot a video overseas.