The Blue Hearts (ザ・ブルーハーツ, Za Burū Hātsu) were a Japanese punk rock band active from 1985 to 1995. In 2003, HMV Japan ranked them at number 19 on their list of 100 most important Japanese pop acts. They have been compared to such bands as the Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Ramones.
Its members were Hiroto Kōmoto (vocalist), Masatoshi Mashima (guitarist), Junnosuke Kawaguchi (bassist) and Tetsuya Kajiwara (drummer). Mikio Shirai was not an official member of the band, but often toured with them as their keyboardist. Formed in 1985, the group made its major debut in May 1987, and released its first album, the self-titled The Blue Hearts, and followed that up with seven more albums. Though they started on an independent label, each album sold more copies than the previous one, with their last recording selling in the millions. In 1990, The Blue Hearts had a self-titled EP released in the United States, which they supported with a US tour.
In addition to having popular albums, they also had many popular singles. Two of most well-known are "Train-Train" and "Linda Linda", which can be found on many karaoke machines. A cover version of "Linda Linda" was used in the 2004 dramas Socrates in Love and Gachi Baka, as well as the 2005 film Linda Linda Linda, the plot of which centers on a high school girls' band practicing The Blue Hearts' songs for the finale concert of their school's culture festival. The song also appears in the 2005 Nintendo DS video game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan,. Other songs, including "Train-Train", "Owaranai Uta" and "Hito ni Yasashiku", have been featured in the Konami arcade games Drummania and Guitar Freaks.
They were seen as controversial in Japan, where antics such as using the taboo Japanese word for crazy, and spitting on television cameras got them banned from TV for a year.
After The Blue Hearts broke up in 1995, Kōmoto, Mashima and Shirai formed a new group, The High-Lows. In addition to retaining the hardcore fans of The Blue Hearts, The High-Lows were also able to attract new fans and lasted another ten years. When The High-Lows broke up in 2005, Kōmoto and Mashima again formed a new band in 2006, this time calling themselves The Cro-Magnons. Kawaguchi became a record producer and occasionally plays support for several bands, in 2009 he became the deputy director of propaganda for the Happiness Realization Party. Kajiwara formed The 3Peace in 1997, then The Big Hip in 2005 with Shirai, and his solo project Thunderbeat in 2008.
After the breakup of The Blue Hearts, both Kōmoto and Mashima chose not to sing any of the band's songs, with few exceptions. Kōmoto has sung "Boku no Migite" while performing live with other artists, and Mashima has occasionally performed "Aozora".
Hiroto Kōmoto - vocals, harmonica,
Masatoshi Mashima - guitar, backing vocals,
Junnosuke Kawaguchi - bass, backing vocals,
Tetsuya Kajiwara - drums,
Mikio Shirai - keyboards (support member),
Masami Mochizuki (望月正水) - bass,
Ryūsuke Hanabusa (英竜介) - drums,
Norio Yamakawa (山川のりを) - bass