Shinsengumi

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For the religious among us who choose to believe lies, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Shinsengumi.
Tvguide

Okita, Hijikata, and Saitou appear on TV Guide.

“Er...kanpai?”
~ Oscar Wilde on The Shinsengumi
“Aku Soku Zan!!!! Ano Okita Souji-sama wa Gackt yori kawaii no da!!!”
~ A Rabid Fan on The Shinsengumi

The Shinsengumi are a six-member Japanese rock band. They reached their peak popularity in the mid-1800s, but retain a large fan base even today.











edit Prelude: The Roshigumi

Roshigumi

Kiyokawa, foreground, and Okita, background, during the band's Roshigumi days.

The Shinsengumi got their meager beginning under the direction of Kiyokawa Heihachirou, who put together the initial band The Roshigumi. The Roshigumi lineup consisted of:

Kiyokawa Heihachirou - guitar
Serizawa "Goose" Kamo - drums
Hijikata "The Demon" Toshizou - vocals and lyrics
Saitou Hajime - bass
Okita Souji - guitar and background vocals
Yamanami Keisuke - keyboard

However, The Roshigumi would not last. Only two weeks after forming The Roshigumi, Kiyokawa made arrangements to move the band to Edo without consulting the other members. Angered, the band affirmed The Roshigumi's presence in Kyoto by hanging Kiyokawa upside-down from a lamppost, by the feet, with the strings from his own guitar. Yamanami took leadership of the band, changing the name to The Shinsengumi.

they were useless people

edit The Shinsengumi

With the addition of Harada Sanosuke to replace Kiyokawa on guitar, the Shinsengumi played small inns, restaurants, and temple festivals in Kyoto, where they soon caught the eye of Shogun Records producer Kondou Isami. Kondou and Yamanami quickly worked out a contract, and The Shinsengumi debuted several months later with their first full-length album "Makoto," soon followed by the Oricon-topping single "Okami."

Phone

Harada photographs the audience with his cell phone.

They distinguished themselves visually from other rock groups by consistently dressing in period samurai clothing. Fans soon learned to recognize the flashy "Shinsengumi uniform", a blue haori coat with white mountain stripes. As their manager Kondou predicted, these costumes were not only easy to identify, but easy to produce, and the audience at The Shinsengumi's concerts was often a sea of light blue. (This ease of cosplay would later lead to venue security confiscating as many as 5,000 swords, knives, and spears from the audience per night.) While The Shinsengumi originally performed in full samurai garb, they soon had to relinquish armour and weapons as their attempts to crowd-surf left many audience members with stab wounds.

Nevertheless, The Shinsengumi's popularity skyrocketed, largely due to their increasingly dramatic onstage fanservice. Even today they are renowned for their mock onstage battles, choreographed by Hijikata and manager Kondou Isami, who both had watched a lot of action movies. Okita and Harada became known for their particularly bloody performances, in which Okita would vomit fake blood onto the audience while Harada cut open his stomach in a gruesomely realistic imitation of hara-kiri. This led some cities to ban The Shinsengumi from performing, but even more welcomed the band with open arms. At the behest of American fan Commodore Perry, they even crossed oceans to give several performances in England and America, writing the English-language mini-album "Regulations" for the tour.

Backstage

Nagakura and Saitou backstage.

In 1863, Serizawa Kamo died from a nori overdose. This came as quite a shock to The Shinsengumi, who had known nothing about Serizawa's addiction. Police initially suspected Yamanami, Hijikata, and Okita of foul play, for it was well-known that they considered Serizawa too reckless during interviews and thought he had a stupid name. However, no evidence was ever found linking the sheets of nori in Serizawa's rooms to any other members. The Shinsengumi remained without a drummer for nearly a year, signing on Nagakura Shinpachi just in time for their 1864 album, "Sakemotte!!"

Serizawa's death weighed heavily on Yamanami. His performance grew "increasingly crapular," according to Hijikata, and in 1864, Yamanami finally left the band to pursue a new career with rising female performer Akesato. Hijikata, who had anticipated this turn of events, quickly replaced stepped forward to fill the role of leader and replaced Yamanami with Shimada Kai on keyboard. However, this was the beginning of the end for the Shinsengumi.

File:Okita blood.JPG

The Shinsengumi's career took a bad turn in 1867 when bassist Saitou was rushed to the hospital with ramune poisoning. The band had stayed up drinking to celebrate the release of their latest single, "Floatin' Down the Tokugawa Kawa", and while the rest of the members knew of Saitou's problem, Saitou had previously managed to keep his ramune habit a secret from his fans. Okita had begun to suffer throat and lung problems from his constant use of fake blood. For three months after Saitou's ramune poisoning, Hijikata developed a severe case of both writer's block and athlete's foot which left him unable to compose lyrics. Distressed and worried by the poor health of his friends, Harada developed insomnia, which caused his concentration to suffer. When he nearly disemboweled himself for real during a performance at Edo's Bukodan, The Shinsengumi knew that their career would soon draw to a close.

The Shinsengumi managed to keep their health long enough to release three more singles, "Hey Jimmy", "Seppuku" and "Kyoto ga Moeru!" before their final album, "Ikedaya ~Saigo no Album~." They officially disbanded at the end of the tour in 1869.

The Shinsengumi are:
Final live

The Shinsengumi's final live.

Yamanami Keisuke - keyboard (resigned)
Hijikata "The Demon" Toshizou - vocals and lyrics
Serizawa "Goose" Kamo - drums (died)
Nagakura Shinpachi - drums
Saitou Hajime - bass
Okita Souji - guitar and background vocals
Harada Sanosuke - guitar


edit Discography

edit Albums

Makoto cover

1st album Makoto

  • Makoto (1853)
  • Miburusu (1856) [1]
  • Kono Chi'iro no Ashiato (1856)
Miburusu cover

2nd album Miburusu

  • 1860 - Regulations (English language mini-album)
  1. Bushido (How do you do?) [Gaijin Mix]
  2. Can't Leave Me Baby
  3. Fundz
  4. Litigation -NO!-
  5. Fight Me Private~Die Me Public
  6. Follow the Leader [Fight and Die Mix]
  7. Follow the Leader [Shibito Mix]
Sakemotte cover

7th album "Sakemotte!!"

  • Cha Yori Chi (1861)
  • "Sakemotte!!" (1864)
  • Shi no Isshin (1866)
  • Ikedaya ~Saigo no Album~ (1869)

edit Singles

Ikedaya cover

Final album Ikedaya

  • Okami
  • Bakufuruzu
  • Tennen Rishin Ryuu
  • Nishi Hongan-ji
  • Bushido (How do you do?)
  • Shimabara
  • Follow the Leader
  • Kirei na Kunoichi ga Boku no Mado no Soto ni Imasu
  • Aizu Heito Yuu
  • Atama ga Chiru
  • Buta no Uta
  • Gion Matsuri
  • Floatin' Down the Tokugawa Kawa
  • Hey Jimmy
  • Seppuku
  • Kyoto ga Moeru!

edit References

  1. While the band claims that this is a play on words reading "Mibu Blues", (Miburusu = Mibu burusu) it has also been translated as "Mibu Rules" and, by fans of rival bands, "Mibu Ruse".
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