About Shiina Ringo
Ringo Shiina (椎名林檎, Shiina Ringo) is a Japanese singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist born on November 25, 1978. Her real name is Yumiko Shiina (椎名裕美子, Shiina Yumiko).
Yumiko Shiina was born in Saitama Prefecture to Koutarou Shiina, an employee of an oil company, and Akiko Shiina, a full-time housewife. She was born with an illness in which the esophagus narrows as it approaches the stomach, resulting in many surgeries. These surgeries left Shiina with large scars on her shoulder blades, said to give the impression that an angel's wings had been removed.
Her understanding of the arts began with her father's interest in jazz and classical music. Also, her mother majored in dance in college and practiced ballet. In her house were a large collection of music, a piano, and a guitar. Shiina's father was also devoted reader of music magazines. The young girl began practicing piano at age 5, as well as starting classical ballet.
While Shiina was a very outgoing girl in her early child life, she later became shy and quiet. The pseudonym Ringo, meaning apple, comes from the manner in which she would blush bright red like an apple when she was in front of people; contrary to popular belief, Ringo's admiration of the Beatles' Ringo Starr and singer Fiona Apple is not the origin of her nickname.
Her parents remember her as a mostly trouble-free child, except that she could not stand being alone, throwing tantrums if she could not have a friend to play with.
By age 15, Shiina had become involved in several bands as well as performing solo. In 1995, she received recognition from the Teens Music Festival as a member of the all-girl band Marvelous Marbles. Later on, she received an Award of Excellence as a solo artist in the finals of the annual Music Quest competitions.
In her later teen years she became a fan of the indie rock group Number Girl, attending various shows when possible.
Shiina Ringo's first official single was released May 1998, when she was 19 years old. It was entitled "Koufukuron" ("Happiness Theory"). In the video for this single, Shiina alluded to her surgery scars by wearing a pair of wings on her back. Next came the release of her first album, Muzai Moratorium (Innocence Moratorium), in February 1999, and then her second album, "Shouso Strip" (Lawsuit Winning Strip), in March 2000. She took a short hiatus when she was expecting a child, but returned a year later with a two-disc compilation of multi-lingual covers entitled Utaite Myouri (Singer's Luck).
At the age of 24, Shiina had married Junji Yayoshi, a guitarist, and had a son. The two divorced 14 months later. In 2003, she released her third album, titled Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana (literally translating to Calcium hypochlorite, Semen, Chestnut Blossoms, with the first and third items both being said to smell like semen, and the second item being a non-standard reading of the characters for "semen" (精液, seieki)). Towards the conclusion of her solo career, she had her trademark mole removed, and released her final solo single, "Ringo no Uta" ("Apple's Song"), which can be described as a vivid summation of her career, including a music video with references to all of her previous videos.
On May 31, 2004, she formed a band called Tokyo Jihen (東京事変, Tokyo Jihen). Tokyo Jihen is Japanese for "The Tokyo Incidents" and was first introduced in Shiina's Sugoroku Ecstasy tour and are featured on Shiina's Electric Mole DVD.
The original lineup of Tokyo Jihen was: Shiina Ringo (vocals), Hirama Mikio (aka Mikki) (guitar), Kameda Seiji (bass guitar), Hiizumi Masayuki (aka H Zetto M or HZM) (keyboard/piano) and Hata Toshiki (drums).
In July 2005, the band announced that keyboardist Hiizumi Masayuki, and guitarist Hirama Mikio had left Tokyo Jihen, and that new members were being sought for Tokyo Jihen's second album. In September 2005 the band announced through its website that it had selected two new members, Nagaoka Ryosuke (aka Ukigumo) on guitar and Izawa Ichiyou on keyboards. Shortly thereafter, the band announced it would be releasing its second album (featuring the new lineup) in January 2006, and that it would be playing two concerts, at the Osaka-Jo Hall in Osaka and the Budokan in Tokyo, in February 2006.