Who are Yoasobi, the Japanese duo set to compete against K-Pop acts with their third EP, The Book 3?

Could J-Pop duo Yoasobi and their use of ‘Vocaloids’ be the next big musical group from Far East Asia?

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In the world of music, there are artists, and then there are visionaries who transcend the boundaries of sound and story, captivating hearts and minds with their unique approach to creativity. A bold claim to make, one that seems riddled with hyperbole, but one group from Japan kind of warrants it…

Music duo Yoasobi has been leaving an indelible mark on the music landscape since their inception in 2019. Comprising the ingenious Vocaloid producer Ayase and the gifted singer-songwriter Ikura, Yoasobi's journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Their latest chapter, unveiled on September 1, 2023, introduces us to ‘The Book 3,’ a highly anticipated EP slated for release in October. 

The new work promises to be a captivating fusion of sound and narrative, as it seamlessly weaves together the artistry of Yoasobi and the literary genius of four Naoki Prize-winning writers.

‘The Book 3’ encompasses ten tracks, each a testament to Yoasobi's musical prowess. These songs are not just melodies but stories in themselves, drawn from the depths of their creative minds and inspired by the enchanting world of literature. With titles like "Shukufuku," "Idol," and "Yūsha," it's evident that Yoasobi continues to push boundaries and explore new horizons in music.

The duo's commitment to storytelling goes beyond their music, as they make appearances on prominent magazine covers, such as NME and Rockin'On Japan. Their televised debut performance of "Idol" at NHK Music Expo 2023 on September 14 is bound to be a spectacle that music enthusiasts around the world eagerly anticipate.

Who are Yoasobi?

Yoasobi (Credit: Sony Music Japan)Yoasobi (Credit: Sony Music Japan)
Yoasobi (Credit: Sony Music Japan)

Yoasobi is a Japanese music duo formed in 2019 by Sony Music Entertainment Japan. The duo consists of Vocaloid producer Ayase and singer-songwriter Ikura, blending J-pop, rock, and electronic genres.

Ayase and Ikura had individual music careers before joining forces. Ayase produced music using Vocaloid software and released his debut EP, ‘Ghost City Tokyo,’ in 2019. Ikura, previously known as Lilas Ikuta, was part of the cover group Plusonica and released two EPs. In 2019, Ayase and Ikura collaborated on a project to create songs based on short stories from Monogatary, a creative writing platform owned by Sony Music Entertainment Japan. They formed Yoasobi with a "novel into music" concept.

Their debut single, "Yoru ni Kakeru," based on a short story by Mayo Hoshino, gained immense popularity, topping the charts and becoming certified diamond for streaming. It made history by being the first non-CD single to lead the year-end chart.

Following their debut, Yoasobi released successful singles like "Ano Yume o Nazotte," "Halzion," "Tabun," "Gunjō" (inspired by "Blue Period"), and "Haruka."

In 2021, Yoasobi released their debut EP, ‘The Book,’ featuring their earlier singles. They ventured into English-language music, releasing tracks like "Into the Night" and "RGB" in their first English-language EP, ‘E-Side.’ In 2022, Yoasobi collaborated with award-winning novelists, releasing songs based on short stories in the collection "Hajimete no."

Their second EP, "The Book 2," followed in December 2021. They continued to release hit singles, including "Shukufuku" (for ‘Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury’) and "Idol," achieving international recognition.

What is a Vocaloid?

A Vocaloid is a singing voice synthesizer technology developed by the Yamaha Corporation. It allows users to create songs and music using computer-generated vocals. Vocaloid technology enables users to input lyrics and melodies into a computer program, and the program then uses pre-recorded vocal samples to produce singing that matches the input.

The unique aspect of Vocaloid is that it allows users to create songs with virtual singers, and these virtual singers are represented by animated characters known as "Vocaloids." Each Vocaloid has its own distinct character and voice, and users can choose from a variety of Vocaloid characters to use in their music creation.

One of the most famous Vocaloids is Hatsune Miku, who has become a pop culture icon in Japan and around the world. Hatsune Miku and other Vocaloids have been used to create music across various genres, from pop and rock to electronic and more.

Vocaloid technology has gained popularity in the music industry, especially in Japan, where it has been used by musicians, composers, and producers to create songs and albums. It offers a unique way to produce vocals for songs and has opened up new creative possibilities in music production.

When is ‘The Book 3’ released?

‘The Book 3’ is scheduled for release on October 4, 2023, through Sony Music Entertainment Japan.

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