Lead (band)

Lead is a Japanese hip-hop dance and vocal group, initially formed under the name Rhymix in Osaka, Japan in March 2002. They went through two name changes before debuting as "Lead" in May 2002 under the Pony Canyon sub-label Flight Master. The group consists of Shinya Taniuichi, Keita Furuya, Akira Kagimoto and, formerly, Hiroki Nakadoi.

GenresJ-pop, hip-hop
Years active2002–present
LabelsPony Canyon
Flight Master (previous)
MembersShinya Taniuchi
Akira Kagimoto
Keita Furuya
Past membersHiroki Nakadoi

Upon debuting on July 31, 2002 with "Manatsu no Magic", the group experienced early success due to their dancing and vocal skills at a young age. The release of their second single "Show me the way" earned the group the Best Newcomer Award during the 44th Japan Record Awards. Their debut album Life On Da Beat took the No. 5 spot on the Oricon charts.

In 2010, the group moved from Flight Master to the parent label of Pony Canyon with their single "Speed Star."

Beginning with the single "Wanna Be With You" (2012), the group began a string of top-charting singles. The single peaked at No. 3 on Orion and their singles have continued to chart in the top five. Their album The Showcase (2016) became their highest-charting album at No. 2 and their following album Milestone (2018) became their longest-charting album, remaining on the charts for seven weeks.

In 2013, leader and lead vocalist Nakadoi left the group after feelings of inadequacy. The last single he was featured in was "Still", and he officially left the group after their 2012 Upturn tour. In November 2019, he opened his own hair salon, heena.


Pre-debut and formation of LeadEdit

Hiroki Nakadoi, Shinya Taniuchi and Akira Kagimoto all attended the CALESS Vocal & Dance School (キャレスボーカル&ダンススクール) in Osaka, Japan, where they met each other and became good friends. By March 2002, they began doing live street performances on the streets of Shiroten at Osaka Castle Park under the dance unit name of "Rhymix" (リミックス).[1] By May 2002, they renamed the group from "Rhymix" to "flow" and began performing by Kyobashi Station. After the name change, the three decided to recruit a fourth member.[2]

Meanwhile, on April 13, 2002, the Kyushu/Fukuoka Joint Starlight Audition (九州・沖縄合同スターライトオーディション) was being held in Okinawa by Rising Production on a search for new talent. At the time, Keita Furuya and another contestant, Seimi Senoe (瀬上聖未), were declared winners out of the 8,751 hopefuls that auditioned.[3] flow tracked down Keita and he soon joined the group on May 18, 2002.

On May 23, 2002, the group underwent another and final name change, officially becoming "Lead", whereas they had hoped to become a "leading group" of the age.

2002–2007: Debut, Life On Da Beat and television rolesEdit

Around early July 2002, Lead held their first live street performance as four-member group Lead at Osaka Castle Park to demonstrate their skills with dancing, singing and rapping.[4] The event was deemed a success for the group with around 7,000 attendees.[5] Lead also became the opening act for budding group w-inds for their first live tour - 1st Message - and performed in front of 120,000 people for each opening.[6]

Lead soon released their first single Manatsu no Magic on July 31, 2002.[7]

The release of their second single, "Show me the way" helped the group take the spot as Best Newcomer Award during the 44th Japan Record Awards, alongside the group day after tomorrow and soloists Mika Nakashima and Sachika Shino.[8] In April the following year, they released their debut album, Life On Da Beat. It charted at No. 5 on the Oricon Albums Charts, giving the group more success in their early year.[9]

Their following single Fly Away also charted in the top ten at No. 10. Charting for seven weeks, it became, at the time, their longest-running single.[10]

In 2003, the group performed the song "Get Wild Life." The song would become the theme song for the 2004 film Kamachi, which all of the members would take part in, with Shinya being the titular character. The film was based on the life of Kamachi Yamada, a young savant who rebelled against the Japanese educational system. He created many works, which was come upon by his family after his untimely death in 1977.[11]

Lead was also featured in the 2003 film Boutaoshi!, alongside fellow label-mates Flame and other Pony Canyon artists. The film was centered around the game bo-taoshi, or "pole-toppling", a popular sport in Japan. Shinya took on the lead role of Tsuguo Takayama, who was conned into joining the annual competition.[12]

In 2005, Hiroki played Taichi Kobayashi in the TV Tokyo series Pink no Idenshi.[13] The series predominately followed the relationship of Taichi and Natsu Saito (Narumi Konno) throughout their time at Phoenix High School.

2008–2011: Declining sales and annual singlesEdit

By 2008, Lead had released a total of fourteen singles, five albums, seven DVDs and had performed five live tours. Along with making numerous guest appearances on talk shows, they had hosted their own TV shows, starred in several films and dramas, and had won a total of three Japan Record Awards.

On July 30, 2008, Lead released their 15th single, "Sunnyday." The single failed to break into the top 20 on the Oricon Singles Charts and became their lowest selling single, barely selling 3,000 copies.[14] The single was followed by their first compilation album, Lead Tracks: Listener's Choice. The track list for the album consisted of songs between their 2002 debut with "Manatsu no Magic", up until "Sunnyday", which was released one week prior at the end of July. The songs for the album were voted on by fans throughout East Asia, including Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Songs with the highest vote were placed on the album.[15]

On August 5, 2009, they released their 16th single "GiraGira Romantic." This marked the beginning of the group releasing one single a year for the next four years.[16] This would also be their final single released under the Pony Canyon sub-label Flight Master, whereas the group would move to the main label. On July 28, 2010, their 17th single "Speed Star" was released. Their 18th single, "Hurricane," was released on August 10, 2011.

2012–2016: Hiroki's departure and increased popularityEdit

In 2012, the group began releasing two singles a year, along with the annual Upturn tours. Every single peaked in the top five on Oricon as the group's popularity and notoriety increased throughout the country.

On March 14, 2012, the group released their highest-ranking single, "Wanna Be With You", which peaked at No. 3 on Oricon.[17] On December 12, 2012, their 20th single "Still" was released, peaking at No. 4. This became the first time since their debut to have two singles in a row to chart in the Top 5 on Oricon.[18] This would also be the last single with group leader Hiroki.

After Lead celebrated their tenth anniversary with the Leader's Party 10! concert for their fan club in March 2013, vocalist Hiroki Nakadoi stepped away from the group due to the belief that his bandmates had surpassed his abilities and he "shouldn't be with members who are aiming higher".[19]

Prior to Hiroki's final decision, the other members questioned if they should remain as a unit if Hiroki decided to leave. When Hiroki finalized his decision, with full support to the others as a group, they chose to stay together due to the constant support of their fans.[20] Before retiring in the entertainment industry, Hiroki acquired a hairdresser's license and was active as a freelance hairdresser after retirement. On November 1, 2019, he opened up his own salon in Yoga, Setagaya called "heena".[21][22]

In 2013, they released the singles "Upturn" and "Green Days/Strings." Both singles peaked in the top five at No. 5 and 4, respectively.[23][24] They held their annual tour and released Lead Upturn 2013: Leap on DVD and Blu-ray in December.[25] In 2014, the group released the single "Sakura" in February and became their fifth consecutive single to chart in the top five.[26] In September, their single "Omoide Breaker" continued the string, debuting at No. 4.[27] In 2015, they released "My One" and "Yakusoku." While "My One" debuted at No. 3, it took No. 6 on the weekly ranking.[28]

Their seventh studio album, The Showcase, was released four years after their previous album, Now or Never, on June 8, 2016. The album's preceding singles were their highest charting singles since their debut in 2002, and the album became their highest charting album in their career, peaking at No. 2.[29] The version of "Still" on the album was redone with only Shinya, Keita and Akira, omitting Hiroki's vocals.

2017–2020: Milestone, Singularity and continued successEdit

A year-and-a-half after the release of their single "Yakusoku," on March 8, 2017, the group released their twenty-seventh single, "Tokyo Fever." It kept the group's streak of top-charting singles, charting at No. 5.[30] The song was written by composer duo CLARABELL, who had been responsible for other top hits, including Avex artist Koda Kumi's song "Go to the Top",[31] and E-girls songs "Gomennasai no Kissing You" and "Follow Me", among others.[32]

On August 23, they released "Beautiful Day," which debuted at No. 4 before taking No. 6 on the charts.[33] For the song, the group worked with Drew Ryan Scott and Sean Alexander.[34] The coupling track, "Shampoo Bubble" was co-written by Japanese rapper KM-MARKIT, who was originally under the Pony Canyon label between 2005 and 2007 before creating RAIDER MUZIK RECORD music label in 2010.[35][36]

On April 25, 2018, the group released "Bumblebee," which became their highest debuting single at No. 2.[37]

The group released their eighth studio album on July 19, 2018, titled Milestone.[38] The album became their longest charting album on Oricon, having stayed on the charts for seven weeks. On December 19, 2018, the group released their fifteenth tour DVD/Blu-ray, Lead Upturn 2018: Milestone.[39] The DVD became their highest charting concert video, debuting at No. 17 on the Oricon DVD/Blu-ray charts.[40]

On January 30, 2019, the group released their thirtieth single "Be the Naked", which peaked at No. 6 on the Oricon Daily Singles Charts.[41][42] They released their thirty-first single, "Summer Vacation", on July 24, 2019.[43] They held several live events to help promote the single, with certain lives offering an After Party, which were only available to fan club members.[44] The single debuted at No. 6 on the charts, continuing their streak of top 10 singles.[45] It was followed by "Hide and Seek/Sunset Refrain", which charted at No. 3.[46] Despite being a double a-side, only the music video for "Sunset Refrain" was on the DVD. The music video for "Hide and Seek" was released on their ninth studio album, Singularity, which was released a month later on March 18, 2020.

Singularity debuted at No. 12 on Oricon, becoming their first album in twelve years to not debut in the top ten.

2020-present: Response to COVID-19, remix album and singlesEdit

Beginning in April 2020, Lead became recurring guests on Tokyo MX to take part in Japan's "stay at home" order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was to bring entertainment to the country's residents.[47] On May 6, they released their first solo remix album, Joy Joy Home Mix. The album was released digitally as a continuing factor in Lead's participation.[48]

On September 23, 2020, Lead released their first single post-Singularity, titled "Tuxedo."[49] It continued their release of top ten singles, debuting at No. 5 on Oricon. The music video for it was choreographed by label-mate Tomohiro Taniguchi of DA PUMP, who had created the choreography for their own summer hit "U.S.A."[50] It was used as the ending theme song to the TBS show Hiruobi! beginning on the first of the month.[51] They released two more videos to correspond with the single: a choreography version of "Tuxedo" and a video for "Kangoku Rokku" (a cover of Elvis Presley's 1957 "Jailhouse Rock"), the latter of which premiered on the streaming site YouTube the day before the single's release on September 22.[52]


Current membersEdit

  • Shinya Taniuchi (谷内伸也, Taniuchi Shinya)
  • Keita Furuya (古屋敬多, Furuya Keita)
  • Akira Kagimoto (鍵本輝, Kagimoto Akira)

Former memberEdit

  • Hiroki Nakadoi (中土居宏宜, Nakadoi Hiroki) — left on March 31, 2013



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Leadとは - はてなキーワード - はてなダイアリー". Hatena Keyword. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "解散危機、不仲、メンバー引退を乗り越えた非ジャニーズアイドルLeadの歴史". NAVER. January 23, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  3. ^ "スターライトオーディションとは (Starlight Auditions)". Hatena. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "大阪【城天】出身ミュージシャン". Naver (in Japanese). Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  5. ^ "『BOYS POP!』第20弾アーティストにLeadが初登場". Tower Records Online. January 15, 2019. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  6. ^ "2002/08/06(火)昼・夜公演 田中一光さん@w-inds.名古屋センチュリーホール ~w-inds. 1st Live Tour~ "1st message"". Music Star. August 22, 2002. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  7. ^ "真夏のMagic / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  8. ^ "第44回日本レコード大賞(2002年)受賞一覧【PRiVATE LiFE】データベース". Entame Data. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  9. ^ "LIFE ON DA BEAT / Lead / Oricon News". Oricon. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  10. ^ "LeadのCDシングルランキング". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  11. ^ "高崎市山田かまち美術館". Takasaki City. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  12. ^ "棒たおし! - 作品情報・映画レビュー". KINENOTE. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "Pinkの遺伝子 / 中土居宏宜 / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  14. ^ "Sunnyday / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  15. ^ "Lead Tracks ~listener's choice~ : Lead". HMV. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "Leadのシングル売上ランキング". Oricon. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  17. ^ "Wanna Be With You(初回盤A) / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  18. ^ "Still(初回盤B) / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  19. ^ "Leadの活動に関する大切なお知らせ (Important notice concerning Lead's activities)". Lead Official. January 30, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "To Everyone". Lead Official Blog. January 30, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "hair✂︎salon 『heena』". heena. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "中土居宏宜 - Hair Salon Nakadoi Hiroki 予約サイト". JIMDO. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "Upturn(初回盤A) / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
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  25. ^ "Lead Upturn 2013 ~Leap~". PONY CANYON, Inc. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  26. ^ "サクラ(初回限定盤B) / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  27. ^ "想い出ブレイカー / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  28. ^ "My One / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  29. ^ "Leadのシングル売上ランキング / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  30. ^ "トーキョーフィーバー / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  31. ^ "Kumi Koda's new single reaches No. 1 on Oricon chart". Japan Today. October 31, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  32. ^ "【E-girls】~Ranking 1st on Oricon Daily for the first time on 10/5~ New Single "Gomennasaino Kissing You" released on 10/2(Wed.)". LDH (in Japanese). 2013-10-06. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  33. ^ "Beautiful Day / Lead / ORICON NEWS". Oricon. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  34. ^ "Sean Michael Alexander / AVENUE 52". Sean Alexander Official Tumblr. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  35. ^ "THE RAIDERS!!! / YUKALI OFFICIAL BLOG". Ameba. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  36. ^ "THE RAIDERS". Oricon. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  37. ^ "週間 シングルランキング 2018年05月07日付 (Weekly Single Ranking 2018.05.07)". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  38. ^ "ニューアルバム「MILESTONE」7月18日発売決定!!【タイトル発表&新曲試聴公開中!】(New Album "MILESTONE" Release On July 19!! [Title Announcement & New Songs Goes On Sale!]". Lead Official Information. June 8, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  39. ^ "DVD/Blu-ray「Lead Upturn 2018 ~MILESTONE~」12月19日発売決定! (DVD/Blu-ray "Lead Upturn 2018 ~MILESTONE~" released on December 19!)". Lead Official. October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  40. ^ "デイリー ミュージックDVDランキング 2018年12月18日付". Oricon. December 18, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  41. ^ "Lead:New Single「Be the Naked」1月30日発売決定!【発売記念イベント開催!】". RisingProduction. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  42. ^ "オリコンデイリー シングルランキング2019年01月31日付". Oricon. January 29, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  43. ^ "「Summer Vacation」発売記念 応援店スペシャルキャンペーン実施決定!". Lead Official. June 20, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  44. ^ "New Single「Summer Vacation」発売記念イベント開催!【7/6〜7/21詳細のお知らせ】". Lead Official. June 20, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  45. ^ "デイリー シングルランキング 2019年07月23日付". Oricon. July 23, 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  46. ^ "週間シングルランキング2020年03月02日付(2020年02月17日~2020年02月23日)". Oricon. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  47. ^ "COVID-19 in Asia: Japan's prime minister fuels anger order; 2nd-time patients rises in South Korea". The Tribune Democrat. April 13, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  48. ^ "Lead、谷内伸也が選曲した全20曲『Lead JOY JOY HOME MIX』を配信". Yahoo! Japan News. May 1, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  49. ^ "Lead、ニューシングル『Tuxedo〜タキシード〜』先行配信スタート!MVはDA PUMP TOMOが振付!". excite News. September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  50. ^ "Lead|ニューシングル『Tuxedo~タキシード~』9月23日発売!タワレコ同時購入特典オリジナルポストカードセット". Tower Records. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  51. ^ "「Visa LINE Payクレジットカード」新CM・「石橋が、3倍還元LINEクレカで、買う。」篇". JCC. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  52. ^ "「監獄ロック」 / Lead". Pony Canyon Official YouTube. September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2020.

External linksEdit