Saturday, September 7, 2013

Japcore Recommendations By Maximum the Hormone's Daisuke-Han

This entry is a collaboration with my other blog, the Maximum the Hormone Lyrics Translation Project. Here, I translated a blog entry of recommendations of awesome Japanese punk bands by the semi-punk MTH. Check out the above blog as well for English translations of this weird bands's lyrics!


Maximum the Hormone is not quite punk, and not quite metal. In fact they sound more like Nu Metal. So it only follows that a lot of "punks" and "metalheads" aren't too fond of them for whatever reason. This is also partly because they are pretty mainstream in Japan (while simultaneously making choices to stay out of the mainstream, like refusing to be on national TV).

As for me, I love them. One of few Japanese rock bands that sings in Japanese without the stereotypical mopey dopey lyrics; in fact these lyrics are just genius. So funny and revolutionary. I learned their songs while studying Japanese and they really kept up my motivation to study Japanese.

Once I was looking up an American punk/metal band called "Ghoul" and accidentally stumbled on to an old-school Japanese hardcore band "Ghoul". True punks.

Then, one day, I was watching Japanese TV, and MTH's vocalist came on. I was surprised to see that he was wearing a Ghoul t-shirt! I thought, wow! This guy knows his punk! Now, I know that MTH do not play pure punk. But I am glad to see they respect their punk roots.

I was especially excited when their staff published a blog entry about Japanese punk bands recommended by MTH's lead singer Daisuke-han. The recommendations were so good that now I want to share them with you. I will translate the entire blog post for your enjoyment. These bands are the punkest of the punk. The crustest of the crust. Even if you don't like Maximum the Hormone, these recommended bands are some of the best Japanese punk bands, and I strongly encourage you check them out. Enjoy.

The original blog post is at the following link:


Originally published: Wed., Sept. 12, 2012

Topics: Mimikajiru, staff blog

Greetings from Akatsuka at Mimikajiru.

It has already been about 9 months since I became a staff member for Maximum the Hormone.

I have had more opportunities to interact with the "MTH members in their natural state" while they are not on stage, and I have gotten used to feeling as if I'm watching the outtakes of a DVD (lol).

For the first time, I was able to participate as a staff member in festivals in different areas of Japan.

I have witnessed the members horsing around backstage until the very last moment before the show, almost like a comedy.

And after our show is over, even after each of the other artists go home, they sit in the artists' area until the very end, tasting and feasting on each offering by the caterers, lol.

This the MTH that everyone knows,
but off stage, I noticed the band T-shirts that they wear everyday.

That's right, they love rock!

Band t-shirts are the ultimate fashion!

What's that? You don't wear Maximum the Hormone T-shirts on a daily basis? Who do you think you are?! lol.

I think that your favorite band t-shirts are the best thing to wear on a special occasion.

Because even MTH members wear their favorite band shirts everytime I meet them!

Ryo-kun wears shirts of bands such as "TOOL", which is seen in some of the MTH music videos, as well as hentai chaotic core bands, metal bands such like Pantera, and more.

Nao recently bought and wears shirts such as "I See Stars" and "Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!"

Ue-chang apparently likes to wear shirts that feature his favorite designs of "Mudvayne" and "CONVERGE".

And then there's Daisuke-han.

I have really liked the band shirts that Daisuke-han wears for a while now.

Actually, I just recently found out that they are almost all Jap-core (Japanese hardcore) bands. (I am ashamed to say that I have not done enough research.)

Now then! This is kind of a sudden thing, but I got Daisuke-han to give serious introductions to about his recommendations based on his favorite Japcore t-shirts and what he wants people to listen to, along with some of his memories!

The content is pretty much good enough to be published in a magazine, full of great content, so please take the time to read it.

OK, first have a look at "Daisuke Han's Favorite T-Shirt Reviews"!




When I was in Takamatsu, there were almost no stores carrying Japcore CDs.

I mostly ordered stuff from record shops listed in DOLL (an out of print punk magazine).

When I decided to move to Tokyo, I was looking forward to actually going to the record shops I had been ordering from.

And when I finally went to the record shops I had looked forward to (I was really happy about this!) this is the T-shirt I bought.

I like this band and I like this shirt, but this shirt represents even more, the fulfillment of a wish I had up to that point.

(By Daisuke-han)



A power violence / fast-core band from Tokyo.

I wore that short in "that" photo where we are wearing pantyhose.

*"That" photo.

I often go to watch Big Japan Pro Wrestling, and I would often see another fan of BJW, Tsuyoshi (Vo./Gt.),but we never really interacted.

But then I met the person that designed this shirt, and through him I had the pleasure to be introduced to this F.O.B. member!

What's more, when I went to an F.O.B. show, I ran into a friend of one of the members who was one of my university friends from over 10 years before!

Thanks to this shirt, I was able to meet very special people.

(By Daisuke-han)



The Hiroshima hardcore band featured on this T-shirt includes Mr. GUY (Vo.), and important figure who runs the record shop Misery, founded Blood Sucker Records, and is a member of Gudon and Warhead Junk.

Whenever I go to Hiroshima, I always stop by the shop. Once, all of us MTH members visited the shop together and stocked up on studs (see "*" below).

This January, when we went to Hiroshima on ROTTENGRAFFTY's "GOLD" tour, I was happy to see that GUY had come to see us play!

In the past, when Nao was taking a break from live performances due to her pregnancy, us remaining 3 members played Japcore covers as the "Maximum the Hor-men" (I was on drums), and one of the songs we played was "Mosquito" from their first CD.

(By the way, other songs we covered include Hazard's "Future is Chaos" from "War is Over", and "D.S.B.'s "WINGS CONTINUE TO STRIVE WITH UNCHANGED MIND" from "Humanity".)

(By Daisuke-han)


*This is a leather jacket with the aforementioned "studs", known as a "studded jacket".

*Recently, on Twitter, Ryo-kun mentioned:

"The other day, for the first time in a long time, I went to the house of an old friend I knew since I was a teenager. This friend and I grew up together and we always wore bathroom sandals instead of shoes. When I went to his house, his bathroom sandals were still in his entryway! And his bathroom sandals were By Ryo-kun"

Ryo-kun uploaded the picture of these "studded bathroom sandals", as seen below (lol).

Each of Daisuke-Han's t-shirts are of course all very cool, but I found out that they are all appreciated in a special way.

I thought the stories of re-encountering old friends thanks to the t-shirts were great, and the part where he finally got a CD after moving to Tokyo really hit home for me!

These days, thanks to online shopping, you can buy a CD you want easily, but at that time, there was nothing like the internet.

Stores in the rural town where I lived definitely did not stock my indie band's CD, that's for sure.

The first time I went to Disk Union in Shinjuku, I remember losing track of time looking for CDs to buy.

This is another off topic story, but the first band t-shirt I ever got was Maximum the Hormone's "Hongorian t-shirt", (a black t-shirt with orange), and I it meant so much to me that I did not wear it and hung it up in my room instead.

However, I thought to myself, "For goodness sake, wear it when the time is right!" and I wore it for the first time at an MTH concert.

You could say this is the fate of any band t-shirt, but after being tossed about by heavy moshing and sweat, you may know well that these t-shirts always pill up! (tears of sadness)

This was the case for my Hongorian t-shirt, and live "pills" had formed all over it. (lol)


"Yeah...that was such a wild live show and I rocked out and came close to running out of oxygen so much that my t-shirt got this messed up..."

And years later, you still remember the great events of that day.

The more the print on the t-shirt fades, your affection for it grows instead of going away.

When you hang it to dry after washing it, you carefully insert the hanger so that the collar doesn't stretch.

There is a lot of drama involved with any band t-shirt.

Now then, next up I we have Daisuke-han's recommended music!

I had him introduce some records of Japcore bands.

Please take a look at his reviews below!



Daisuke-han's Recommended Japanese Hardcore Records


This is the first album of Death Side, a legendary band not only for Japcore history but for me personally.

It's metal and lyrical, with sad elements that release an epic emotion while driving forward a sublime, ultimate hardcore sound that shouts "This is Japcore!", a masterpiece among masterpieces. (Actually, all of their records are masterpieces!)

A former drummer myself, I especially love the clear-cut drumming of Muka-chin.

In the past when I worked part-time at the newly-opened Shibuya Cyclone, I went to a party with staff from the affiliated Shinjuku Antiknock.

At the time, Muka-chin was a staff member at Antiknock, and he sat right next to me. I trembled from nervousness.

He poured me a beer. I trembled even more.

I will never forget that night when I was so happy I trembled: "The Night My Whole Body Was in Silent Mode".

(By Daisuke-han)




I am very proud to be from the same island of Shikoku as this band, who is from Kochi prefecture, next to my hometown prefecture of Kagawa.

This is the discography CD of the band Insane Youth, split up in 1996, and includes the song "Cries from Under the Kamikaze Grave", famous in "Tsuda" Japcore history, and used for a commercial for a jeans shop in Chugoku region at the time.

To put it in soccer terms, this band does not have a "one-forward" or "two-forwards" formation, but rather it is full of the aggression of an "all-player eleven-forward" formation.

The demonic screams of Souichi (Vo.&Gt.), who was also a member of Gudon and Warhead Junk (these two bands are also essential Japcore!), and the raging drumming of Doi are awesome!

Speaking of "forwards", after splitting up, Souichi (Vo.&Gt.) and Doi (Dr.), along with the disbanded Death Side's Ishiya (Vo.) and You (Ba.) got together to form Forward.

After that, Souichi returned to Kochi and was playing in Insane Youth A.D.

Speaking of aggression, after breaking up, Hiro (Ba.) formed Aggression.

(by Daisuke-han)


3. Disclose "RAW BRUTAL ASSAULT vol.1"


I am very proud to be from the same island of Shikoku as this band, who is from Kochi prefecture, next to my hometown prefecture of Kagawa.

...I am not just copy/pasting this from the last band!

"D-beat" is a rushing mix of noise and 2-beats created by the legendary UK hardcore band Discharge.

There are bands all over the world influenced by Discharge, but when Disclose came on the scene from Kochi, they soon took over not just Japan but the world.

They were soon known all over the world as "Disclose from Japan".

One of the members, Kawakami (Vo.&Gt.), became known as the rightful successor to Discharge as the "D-beat Master" and made that title known around the world.

Kawakami passed away in 2007, but he continues to display his brilliance even to this day. (R.I.P.)

This is Disclose's discography CD.

Vol.1 and vol.2 are both available, but the reason I chose vol.1 specifically is that it includes a historical masterpiece that accelerated the Kochi scene, Disclose's split 7"EP with Insane Youth: "Kochi-City Hardcore".

(by Daisuke-han)


4. Warhead "Kono omoi wo doko e//THE LOST SELF AND BEATING HEART"

This is a CD that includes the 1993 album and 1995 single of the Kyoto-based band Warhead, a band full of insanity, insanity and insanity.

From the moment you push the play button, until the very end, this is roaring hardcore that attacks with a whirlpool of pandemonium, with the crazy screaming of Jun that cuts through the music. This is awesome stuff!

All of the songs are masterpieces! They shake your soul! Sit up and listen!

The first time I encountered Warhead, I was KO'ed with a single punch by their compilation CD that included their first 7"EP "Cry of Truth", as well as their 2nd & 3rd 7"EP / VA "HARD CORE BALL 3"/ VA "ONE SHOT ONE KILL" / 7" split with ORdER (another super essential band!).

"NEVER GIVE UP!!!! -SINGLE COMPILATION-" is another masterpiece of ultimate agony!

(by Daisuke-han)


5. Slang "Super Chaos"


The moment when I heard this first album released in 1995, I was instantly penetrated from head to toe by this hardcore from the north!

Not only is it aggressive, but there is a lot of passion felt in this album. I listened to this album every day and was practically Slang's prisoner.

I really wanted to list the single "Single" released in 1997 on the label founded by Ko, "Straight Up Records", which includes the immortal masterpiece "Nani mo shinai omae ni nani ga wakaru. Nani mo shinai omae no nani ga kawaru!" (You don't do anything, what would you understand? You don't do anything, how can you change?). However, I would like to present to you this powerful record that was a visceral discovery for me.

I love Slang's current lineup, with Ko on vocals, but I also love the rage of the lineup for this album with with Ko on guitar and Haru on vocals.

I was blown away the first time I saw them live at Klub Counter Action.

"This is where Slang plays live and does their recording!"

"Wow! Kuwata, the guy who does recording for Slang and other bands is on the PA!"

I was such geek. (lol)

A few years later, I got to met Ko, a legend to me, and I would have never imagined that I would be able to share a stage with Slang.

(By Daisuke-han)


Just reading Daisuke-han's reviews bursting with love of Japcore and filled with serious respect for all the bands, I can feel the aggressive and raging sound rush through me!

Now that I think about it, during Maximum the Hormone's "Tsume Tsume Tsume Dispatch Secret Final" Tour, when they played in Zepp Sapporo, I joined the crowd along with all the other hara-peko kids [=hungry kids. Translator's note: This is MTH's nickname for their fans], and the opening band was Slang, which reviewed above by Daisuke-han .

I was so happy to be able to see Slang, who are overwhelmingly cool and powerful, who I had seen before, together with Maximum the Hormone, at the same show!

I couldn't help but think "This is amazing", so much that I seriously shook with excitement!

Slang's performance clutches the hearts of even the weak-hearted like myself, and without even thinking twice, I jumped into the mosh pit together with big tattooed guys. The show had a powerful impact on me.

Japanese hardcore.

A roaring sound like a brutal interrogation, and above else, a message, in cutting Japanese, that constrains even stoic beings.

To anyone who finds interest in these bands thanks to Daisuke-han's reviews, I definitely recommend that you take a step into the world of Japanese hardcore.

Daisuke-han said that there are lots more great Japanese hardcore bands that he couldn't introduce here, and I personally plan to listen to different bands.

The other day, I was talking about Japcore with Ryo-kun, and he said, "That popular technical stuff that DJs play at events these days is good too, but a real man should raise his fist to Japcore!" He said that as he was listening to Momoiro Clover Z (he is a really random person, lol).

Anyhow, Daisuke-han, thank you for very much for taking the time to give these great reviews!

I hope to continue with this blog and introduce things like members' memorable possessions and other ideas!

by Mimikajiru Akatsuka

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