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Eastern Youth

You may not have heard of them, but Eastern Youth is Japan's preeminent emo band and, along with acts like Guitar Wolf and High Rise, have been hard at work proving not only that Japanese bands can rock as hard as any American group but that the Americans might have some catching up to do. Eastern Youth plays angular, emotional indie rock that may remind many of American bands like Jawbreaker, Jawbox, and The Get Up Kids, all of which have undoubtedly influenced Eastern Youth frontman Hisashi Yoshino, an avid student of American indie rock. And while you won't be able to understand the band's lyrics, you will undoubtedly understand their heavy melodicism, their dissonant beauty, their frayed emotions, and their unbridled sincerity.

Originally a punk band, Eastern Youth emerged from a childhood friendship between Yoshino and drummer Atsuya Tamori in a small town in Northern Japan. In their '20s they migrated to Tokyo, where in 1994 they met former heavy metal guitarist Tomokazu Ninomiya, who agreed to play bass for them. After their 1995 release, Kuchibue Yofuke-ni-Hibiku (A Whistle Rings through the Midnight Street), they exploded in Japan. By 2000 they finally hit the States in support of their album Kumo Ineke Koe (May My Scream Reach to the Clouds) and American audiences were exposed to their unique genius for the first time.

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