Kenshi Yonezu achieved 33 No.1s in Japan’s annual chart during the year 2019. His song “Lemon” marked at the leading position for two years in a row on Billboard for the first time in Japan.
“Lemon” was chosen as “Billboard JAPAN Hot 100 of the Year 2019” and it was Yonezu’s second time to receive this award following the year 2018. This was the first time in history both in Japan and in US for one song to achieve this award for two years in a row. Within Japan, this song achieved 33 No.1s in the year 2019.
Since this single “Lemon” was released in March 2018, the song became popular in 2019 and it was certified by the Recording Industry Association of Japan as the “fastest song in history” to be downloaded 3 million times. This song “Lemon” ’s music video has been played more than five billion times which makes it the Japan’s most played music video. “Lemon” also marked No.1 on the karaoke chart for 85 weeks in a row. Yonezu’s music has been expanding its strong popularity in various audiences.
Within the same chart, “Lemon” marked No.1, and “Uma to Shika” marked no.5, “Machigai sagashi” by Masaki Suda marked No.6, and “Paprika” by Foorin marked No.10. This means four songs by Yonezu ranked within 10 songs and this proves how Yonezu’s diversified activities were accepted among various audiences from kids to adults in Japan. In the end of the year 2019, Yonezu also produced the song “Kyte” for ARASHI.
In this situation, “Paprika” by Foorin produced by Kenshi Yonezu became a social phenomenon by making Japanese kids dance to the music once they hear the song. The song won the first prize at the Japan Record Award in 2019. At the end of year 2019, the English version of this song “Paprika” World Video performed by “Foorin team E”, a unit with five English native children, was released on You Tube.
Foorin’s song “Paprika” became one of the most popular songs among kids in Japan and won the first prize at the 61st Japan Record Award. In Summer 2019, Kenshi Yonezu’s self-covered version was also released and then came out this English version of “Paprika” so that this song will be delivered from the Japanese children to the children of the world within a big circle. The dance for this song was choreographed by Tomohiko Tsujimoto and Koharu Sugawara.
“Paprika” world video starts with Foorin team E departing the Shibuya scramble crossing and then dances with Mt.Fuji as a background. It also features children from 29 different cities and 27 countries including France, Greek, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, US and Brazil. The Paprika dance is shown in iconic sceneries of each country and this reminds us the beauty of each country.
With the world-wide release of “Paprika” English version, Kenshi Yonezu’s work is becoming widely accepted not only in Japan but in other Asian countries and all over the world. You cannot miss Yonezu’s latest activities in 2020 with his outstanding power of music.
■Foorin team E
Foorin team E is a music unit made with English native children. Members include Main vocals Jasmine (age 11), Corban (age 8), and Backing Vocals & Dance Len (age 12, Chorus and Dance), Evangeline (age 12) and Clara (age 7).
“team E” represents the English native team. Their official artist name is “Foorin team E”.
“Paprika” is currently on aired on NHK “minnna no uta”.
Foorin is a musical unit made with five children who sings “Paprika”. Members include Moeno and Hyuga (Main Vocals), Takeru, Ririko and Chise (Backing vocals & Dance). Yonezu was inspired by fuurin, or “wind chimes” for the group name, song, dance and costumes. Foorin’s dance music version of the song “Paprika” played more than 150 million times on you tube, Kenshi Yonezu’s self-covered version played more than 50 million times, and this means “Paprika” related movies by NHK has been played more than 300 million times in total. Last year, Foorin won The Japan Record Award, debuted the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen and performed their song with the Red team.
■Kenshi Yonezu biography
KENSHI YONEZU （a.k.a hachi）
singer-song writer, illustrator
In 2018, Yonezu wrote the song “Lemon” for TBS Friday TV drama “unnatural” and this became a great success in Japanese music history. This song became the annual top song of the Billboard JAPAN chart for two years in a row, which was the first case in both Japan and US. The music video of this song was played more than 5 billion times and it was certified as the “fastest song in history” to be downloaded 3 million downloads. It also marked No.1 on the karaoke chart for 85 weeks straight, won many awards including the best drama song award of the “96th Drama academy awards”, and Yonezu made his live television debut on the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen for the first time. This live performance left a vivid impression and this song remained in the top of 33 charts during the following year in 2019.
In 2019, Yonezu released “Uma to Shika” as a main theme song for the TBS drama “No side game”. It sold 1 million sales (total of physical and digital sales) right after its release. (Until Oct 27th, 2019, 491,836 copies of CD and 689,497 downloads were sold according to Billboard Japan). This song was also featured during the Rugby World cup which was held in Japan. It was played in the game venues and used while the games on aired on TV. It became one of the iconic songs of the year 2019 for all generations.
Recently, Yonezu has been into producing and he has written and produced the song “Paprika” for “Foorin”. This song was written to support all the people who challenge for the year 2020 and the future. The song quickly became the most popular song among children and it became a huge social phenomenon. A self-covered version by Yonezu was also released and Foorin won the Grand Prix in 61st Japan Record Awards. Following their first performance at the Kohaku Uta Gassen, a newly created English version Foorin team E “Paprika” was announced.
Yonezu also wrote and produced the song “Machigaisagashi” for his friend Masaki Suda. In December, Yonezu created the song “Kyte” as a NHK 2020 song and this song was performed for the first time by ARASHI at the Kohaku Uta Gassen.
Concerning his music videos, “Lemon” has marked more than 5 billion plays and keeps growing its record as a first Japanese artist. At the same time, Yonezu has 9 music videos which was played more than 1 billion times (including “Lemon” Eine Kleine” “LOSER” “Piece Sign” “Haiiro to Ao (with Masaki Suda)” “orion” “Flamingo” “Uchiage Hanabi” “Paprika”). Yonezu’s official youtube channel has more than 4.68 million subscribers.