W-inds (stylized as w-inds.) is a Japanese pop pop music boy band that is managed by Vision Factory and has been signed to the Pony Canyon label since 2000. The group consists of the three individuals Ryohei Chiba, Keita Tachibana, and Ryuichi Ogata. They made their formal debut in 2001 and, to date, have released more than 21 singles. In addition to their po***rity in Japan, they have a relatively large fan base around other Asian countries (such as Taiwan and Hong Kong) and regularly make television appearances there.
Tachibana is the lead singer of the group, and initially Chiba and Ogata were to join as back-up dancers. However, throughout their career, Chiba and Ogata both gained larger roles in their music by providing back-up vocals and occasionally rapping. In 2002 together with Flame Flame (band) and Folder5 they compiled a short studio album titled Earth Harmony.
Ryohei Chiba began attending a dance school in Sapporo, where he met Ryuichi Ogata, who attended at the request of his older sister. Chiba performed dances live with his friends and also made a television appearance in 1998 with his mother at a variety show, where he won the attention of all the female judges as the cutest.
In 2000, 14-year-old Keita Tachibana from Fukuoka Fukuoka, Fukuoka passed the Starlight Auditions hosted by Vision Factory and was signed onto their label. In the same year, Chiba and Ogata joined him as a unit after passing auditions held at their dance school. Together, they formed W-inds.
The three moved to Tokyo to live together, and in November, began street performances in Yoyogi Park and Shibuya to promote their activities. Prior to their major label debut in 2001, approximately 8,000 people came to watch.
2001-2002: 1st Message and The System of Alive
On March 14, 2001, W-inds released their first single, "Forever Memories", selling 216,590 copies. On June 17, they moved on from street performances to their first stage performance at Asahikawa Medical University Medic Festival in Hokkaido. On July 4, 2001, their second single, titled "Feel the Fate", was released and their official website launched on the same day. Filming for the promotional video took place on June 7. The song was performed live at the international tournament in Yoyogi on August 2, where 7,000 people came to watch.
W-inds made their first appearance in the movie Star Light, which premiered on October 7 at the Ikebukuro Theater. The movie also featured their third single, "Paradox", which was released on October 17, 2001. Filming for the promotional video took place on September 3. For Paradox, W-inds was awarded "Best New Artists" in the 43rd Japan Record Award.
On December 19, 2001, W-inds's first album, 1st Message, was released and debuted at #1 at the weekly charts. Besides compiling songs from their first three singles, the album gave Chiba and Ogata larger roles by featuring tracks in which they rapped. In 2005, Ogata recalled being unsure with the idea at the time, as both of them generally had little experience in rapping and singing. The album was promoted at their Christmas fanclub event on December 24, 2001.
On February 20, 2002, W-inds released their fourth single, titled "Try Your Emotion", which peaked at #2 on the weekly charts. Their fifth single, "Another Days", was released on May 22, 2002, and was used as the song to a commercial from Family Mart. During the summer, their sixth single, "Because of You" on August 21, 2002, and was the first single apart from their first album to have Ogata rapping. November 13, 2002, saw the release of their seventh single, "New Paradise".
In the same year, W-inds had their first nation-wide tour for their first album, 1st Message. They extended their fanbase by briefly performing in Shanghai, China, as part of their tour. In addition to their activities, W-inds made a brief cameo in the movie Nurse no Oshigoto The Movie as three soccer players.
At the end of 2002, W-inds released their second album, The System of Alive on December 18, 2002. Similar to 2001, they promoted it at their Christmas fanclub event. Additionally, they gained the opportunity to perform at Kōhaku Uta Gassen for the first time, where they sang New Paradise.
2003-2005: Prime of Life, Ageha, and expansion across Asia
W-inds released their eighth single, "Super Lover (I Need You Tonight), on May 21, 2003. On August 21, 2003, they released "Love Is Message", with a musical style that was a departure from the former's dance beat nature. On October 29, 2003, they released "Long Road".
In 2004, Vision Factory included Taiwan as one of their locations for the Prime of Life tour. Following that, W-inds made their debut in Taiwan, and the tickets for their concert there sold out within 23 minutes, which set a record in Taiwan for "the artist with the fastest selling tickets." They became the only Japanese group invited to perform on the MTV Mandarin Awards in September 2006.
2006-2008: Thanks, Journey, and Seventh Ave.
In 2006, W-inds made an appearance on Mnet KM Music Festival, a music awards show in South Korea they were the first Japanese artists to ever appear on the show.
Later that year, Tachibana launched a solo music career as a side project with the release of his first non-W-inds single, "Michishirube", used as the first ending theme to the anime Reborn! The single was released on October 18, 2006, selling over 48,000 copies. and on November 29, 2006, his first solo album, Koe, peaked at #5 in its first week of sales and sold over 40,000 copies. Contrary to the rumors, Tachibana himself assured fans that W-inds would not be breaking up.
W-inds also took part in a China-Japan music festival in 2006. In March 2007, the group flew to Beijing to participate in another China-Japan music festival along with two other Japanese artists. They have held video conferences in Hong Kong. On July 2, 2007 W-inds joined the Pop Rock Gala in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. On this visit they picked up ten awards, accumulated from the years since their debut.
During the end of their Thanks tour, held from the summer of 2007 to the end of the year, W-inds revealed their upcoming single, "Boogie Woogie 66", and filmed their promotional video at the concerts.
W-inds's 22nd single, "Love Is the Greatest Thing", was released on July 4, 2007, as the theme song for the Japanese release of Shrek the Third. The song was sampled from De Souza's Hed Kandi Records "Guilty", and peaked at #4, selling 34,416 copies.
W-inds's seventh studio album, Seventh Ave, was met with disappointing sales despite charting at #10. For the first time in W-inds's career, 2008 marked the first year in which they were not invited to perform at Kōhaku Uta Gassen.
2009: Sweet Fantasy and comeback
In addition to their first double A side, "Everyday/Can't Get Back", in 2008, on May 13, 2009, W-inds released another double A side, titled "Rain Is Fallin'/Hybrid Dream". "Rain Is Fallin'" was a collaboration and featured rap verses from G-Dragon from Big Bang Big Bang (band) , while "Hybrid Dream" was used as the theme song for the program Countdown Document Byo-Yomi! for the month of May. The single peaked at #2 and sold 48,577 copies.
From the summer of 2009 to the end of the year, W-inds toured venues in Japan with the Sweet Fantasy Tour; in November, the tour extended to Taiwan and Hong Kong. For the first time, female dancers appeared, and this was met with controversy with the fans. The two dancers, Sumire and Mio, were received poorly by fans due to the suggestive choreography between them and Tachibana. After a less than warm reception during the first two shows of the tour, noted by Chiba on his blog, the choreography was changed and a male dancer took Tachibana's role in the scene instead. After this change, Sumire and Mio's po***rity increased, however they were not included in the Hong Kong and Taiwan shows. The Hong Kong show pulled in a crowd of 8,000 people. Halfway throughout the tour, the concert held at Kanagawa, Omiya had to be truncated due to Tachibana falling ill.
Gradually, as their musical style transitioned to a dance beat, w-inds. released another double A-side single "New World/Truth (Saigo no Shinjitsu)" on December 9, 2009. The single debuted at #2 on the Oricon Weekly Charts. "Truth (Saigo no Shinjitsu)" was composed by the American singer and songwriter Ne-Yo, who acknowledged their talent after coming across their act. The promotional video for "Truth (Saigo no Shinjitsu)" was filmed during W-inds's stay in Hong Kong for the Sweet Fantasy Tour. The b-side to the single was titled "Tribute" and, as the title implied, was a tribute to Michael Jackson.From their debut, W-inds's musical style was mainly bubblegum pop, as it was the trend at the time. Tachibana, whose parents are both DJs, listened to American music growing up. Their sixth single, Because of you, was even mentioned to have an "American style" to it. From 2003 onward, W-inds moved on from lighthearted pop beats into more mellow ballads with mature lyrics in accordance to their growing image. At the end of 2008, W-inds transitioned into dance beats.W-inds hosted a long-running radio show titled , which lasted from 2001 to 2008. From 2003 to 2007, they appeared in commercials for , with each new single playing in every new commercial.
Although Chiba and Ogata have not pursued roles in acting, Tachibana made appearances in movies and dramas by himself with supporting roles such as Hiroyuki Hamada in Ohitorisama and Prince Arthur in the Japanese dub of Shrek the Third.
In 2002, mangaka Natsume Hirose wrote and illustrated a manga titled , which starred W-inds as side characters. The manga lasted for only three volumes and was serialized in Bessatsu Margaret.
* 1st Message (2001)
* The System of Alive (2002)
* Prime of Life (2003)
* Ageha Ageha (album) (2005)
* Thanks (2006)
* Journey Journey (W-inds album) (2007)
* Seventh Ave (2008)
* Another World Another World (W-inds album) (2010)
* Buddies (2003)
* W-inds: Bestracks (2004)
* Single Collection: Best Eleven (2008)Additionally, 'W-inds' has performed on the , NHK Studios, Tōkyō Tokyo , from 2002 to 2007; they've also performed at the All Japan Night 40th Anniversary Concert, Budokan, Tōkyō Tokyo , in 2007.
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