Perfume (パフューム, Pafyūmu) is a Japanese pop girl group from Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, consisting of Ayano Ōmoto ("Nocchi"), Yuka Kashino ("Kashiyuka"), and Ayaka Nishiwaki ("A~chan"). The group has been signed with Amuse, Inc. since 2003 and with Universal Music Japan since 2012.
The group was formed in early 2000 inside young talent academy Actors School Hiroshima, and debuted with their first Hiroshima-local single "Omajinai Perori" released on March 21, 2002. A year later they moved to Tokyo, started to work with Capsule's producer Yasutaka Nakata and released their first nationwide indie single, "Sweet Donuts" on August 6, 2003. In 2005 they got a major contract deal with Tokuma Japan Communications, and released their major debut single "Linear Motor Girl" on September 21. However, it was not until 2008 where the group's seventh single "Polyrhythm", which was chosen to be the theme song of a recycle campaign by NHK, when they started to receive major attention in Japan. The single peaked at number seven on the Oricon charts, becoming their first Top 10 single in Japan, and since then, all of their subsequent works starting with their eighth single "Baby Cruising Love" have debuted within the Top 3 of the charts. Their first original studio album, Game, released on April 16, 2008, became their first number one album in Japan, and "Love the World", released on July 9, 2009, their first number one single. With rough combined sales of both singles and albums, the group have sold over 3 million records, with 1.5 million albums sold in Japan alone as of March 2012.
The group were formed with an original post-Shibuya-kei sound as it was popular during the years until their transition toward contemporary electronic dance music that incorporated elements of synthpop, bubblegum pop, dance-pop and house music. The group is also known for their processed vocals, heavily using autotune and vocoders. Over the years, Perfume have been one of the most successful acts in Asian music. The group's musical structure have been identified as "technopop". In 2012 the group announced that they had signed a global contract with Universal Music Group, and that they expected to expand their horizons and "go global". Their sixteenth major label single "Spending All My Time", released on August 15, 2012, was seen as a dedication to fans overseas. Their fourth studio album Level3 was released on October 2, 2013, and was soon followed by the single "Sweet Refrain" a month after.
Perfume members use their official nicknames on stage and TV rather than their real names.
Date of birth
Yuka Kashino (樫野 有香, Kashino Yuka)
(1988-12-23) December 23, 1988 (age 26)
Ayaka Nishiwaki (西脇 綾香, Nishiwaki Ayaka)
(1989-02-15) February 15, 1989 (age 26)
Ayano Ōmoto (大本 彩乃, Ōmoto Ayano)
(1988-09-20) September 20, 1988 (age 26)
Date of birth
Yuka Kawashima (河島 佑香, Kawashima Yuka)
(1988-11-05) November 5, 1988 (age 26)
Left the group in order to pursue her studies. She later joined another group called Risky, and then attempted a solo career as Yuka. She graduated from the Hiroshima University of Economics in 2011. Nowadays she lives in Hiroshima and works at YNN47.
Because Ayaka Nishiwaki ("A~chan"), Yuka Kashino ("Kashiyuka"), and Yuka Kawashima ("Kawayuka") had the same Japanese kanji character for 香 (ka / kaori, fragrance) in their names, they named the group "Perfume" (香水 (kosui) in Japanese). The original name was "ぱふゅ〜む" or "ぱふゅ→む" written in hiragana with thirteen strokes. Nishiwaki stated that they wished to follow the success of four-member dance group SPEED (thirteen strokes in uppercase), who trained at Okinawa Actors School.
Due to Kawashima's exit and Ōmoto's entry, they gave a new meaning to this name. When asked why they chose it, Nishiwaki replied, "The fragrance of perfume can soothe your feelings or make you feel happy. We aspire to be such artists."
In spring 2003, they moved to Tokyo and joined the management agency Amuse, Inc.. Then the management changed the group name to English. They wanted to keep the hiragana name associated with their heroines, SPEED, but eventually acquiesced. Ōmoto later said, "The powers-that-be are scary."
2000-2003: Formation, early career development and local recognition in Hiroshima:
In 2000, Nishiwaki, Kashino, and Kawashima voluntarily formed the group inside young talent academy Actors School Hiroshima run by Shinhiroshima Telecasting. However, before the group could even debut, Kawashima decided to pull out of the project as she left the Actors School (and later formed another group called Pinkies). Nishiwaki set out to find a replacement, and Ayano Ōmoto ("Nocchi") joined as the third member. The three girls attended the Actors School in Hiroshima, as part of the inaugural class of 1999.
In March 2002, Perfume debuted in Hiroshima with the single "Omajinai Perori". They followed up the release with "Kareshi Boshūchū" in November of that same year. Both singles were only sold in Hiroshima under Momiji Label. Around this time they also met Mikiko, a choreographer who would go on to coordinate all of the group's dances from this point forward.
2003-2005: Bee-Hive era in Tokyo:
In 2003, following their graduation from the Actors School in Hiroshima, the trio moved to Tokyo. There, they became a part of Bee-Hive, a project that Buzy and Boystyle also belonged to, and signed with the management office Amuse, Inc.. In Tokyo, they also met Capsule's Yasutaka Nakata who would become their music producer. Between the years of 2003 and 2004, they released "Sweet Donuts", "Monochrome Effect", and "Vitamin Drop" under the indie record label Bee-Hive Records. It was also during this time that they had their first three live performances. Though none of their releases became a hit, their management office made the choice to give Perfume a major debut.
From 2004 autumn to 2005 summer, Perfume temporarily set Akihabara as their home ground. They collaborated with voice actress and singer Haruko Momoi providing vocals to her song "Akihabalove", which was produced by her under the alias DJ Momo-i. The song was released on a DVD along with the promotional video. They sometimes held surprise live street performances there, and they used to be considered as "Akiba-kei idols" till the hit of Game.
2005-2007: New record label and Complete Best:
On September 21, 2005, Perfume made its major label debut under the label Tokuma Japan Communications. They released "Linear Motor Girl", which charted on the Oricon charts at number 99. Two singles, "Computer City" and "Electro World", followed in 2006. On August 2, 2006, Perfume released Perfume: Complete Best along with a new track, "Perfect Star, Perfect Style". The album reached number 33 on the Oricon charts (later climbing up as high as number 25 with the release of Perfume's second album, Game).
On December 20, 2006, Perfume released a download exclusive song, "Twinkle Snow Powdery Snow". The song later appeared on their single, "Fan Service: sweet". On December 21, 2006, Perfume had a live concert held at Harajuku Astro Hall which was later recorded and released as "Fan Service: bitter".
2007-2008: Commercial success and GAME era:
While almost all of the other Bee-Hive members began to get dropped by Amuse, Inc., Perfume was given the opportunity to release another single. In February 2007, they released "Fan Service: Sweet" featuring the fun dance track "Chocolate Disco". This was a turning point for Perfume in which their luck began to change. Although the sales for "Fan Service: sweet" were not stellar, "Chocolate Disco" did catch the attention of an already well-established artist in the J-pop industry, Kimura Kaela. Kimura then played Perfume's music on her radio show consistently. While listening to Kimura's radio show, a commercial director named Akira Tomotsugi noticed Perfume and decided to use the three girls in an upcoming TV ad. On July 1, 2007, the commercial for NHK's national recycling campaign aired, featuring Perfume and a new song, "Polyrhythm". The commercial gave Perfume exposure they could have only dreamed of before. Subsequently, their next live show sold out, and Perfume became the first idol group to perform at the Summer Sonic music festival. On September 12, 2007, Perfume officially released their tenth single, "Polyrhythm". It reached number 4 on the Oricon daily single charts and climbed as high as number 7 on the weekly charts. This is noted as the beginning of Perfume's national fame.
In 2008, the group followed up the success of "Polyrhythm" with "Baby Cruising Love/Macaroni." The single reached number 3 on the Oricon weekly charts and sold 50,000 copies. On April 16, 2008, Perfume released their first original album, Game. Game reached number 1 on the Oricon charts upon its release, making Perfume the first technopop group to achieve this since Yellow Magic Orchestra's Naughty Boys in 1983. At the time of the album's release, Perfume ~Complete Best~, "Polyrhythm", and "Baby Cruising Love/Macaroni" all re-entered the Oricon charts. The album went on to sell over 450,000 copies and is certified double platinum.
After the album's release, Perfume First Tour "Game" was announced. The group toured 10 cities and sold out all tickets. On the final date of the tour, Perfume announced that they would be doing a 2-day show at the prestigious Nippon Budokan in November 2008 as well as the release date of their next single, "love the world".
2008-2009: Triangle era:
"Love the World" was released on July 9, 2008. It became the first technopop song to ever reach number 1 on the Oricon charts. In October 2008, the Perfume First Tour "Game" DVD was announced. Upon its release, it beat prominent artists like Koda Kumi and Namie Amuro for the number 1 spot. Perfume then performed at Budokan for 2 days, November 6 and 7. On the second show, titled "Budoukaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!", they announced a show at yet another famous venue, Yoyogi National Gymnasium titled "Disco!Disco!Disco!", which was a tour that was one of the few to never be released on DVD or Blu-ray, although a few of the songs performed can be seen on the extra footage included in the Triangle Album + DVD set. The year 2008 ended with the release of their 13th single, "Dream Fighter," which reached number 2 on the charts. They were also chosen to sing at NHK's 59th Kōhaku Uta Gassen, the prestigious end of the year live TV program.
On March 25, 2009, Perfume released their 14th single, "One Room Disco". The single reached number 1 in the charts. In April 2009, Perfume began broadcast of a comedy sketch program titled Perfume's Chandelier House. On July 8, 2009, the group released its "80s-themed" third album, Triangle. The album was another number 1 hit for Perfume, selling over 300,000 copies. Perfume then went on their second nationwide tour in order to promote the album.
2010-2011: Overseas activities and recognition; JPN era:
In 2010, Perfume released "Fushizen na Girl / Natural ni Koishite", which reached number 2 in the charts. They went on a fanclub-exclusive tour, titled Perfume 10th Anniversary Fan Club Tour and also announced that they would be having a show at Tokyo Dome titled "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11." Perfume took part in a commercial for a Pepsi NEX campaign in Japan. In that commercial, they covered a short segment of Lovefool by The Cardigans. On August 11, 2010, Perfume celebrated their 10th anniversary with the release of their 16th single, "Voice", which was used in a Nissan advert.
Perfume's show at the Tokyo Dome as part of their 10-year anniversary marked only the second time an all-female group had held a concert at the venue since SPEED. Tickets for the show were sold out on the day tickets were released. The demand for the tickets was so high that extra, unplanned seats were added. Perfume performed to 50,000 fans. At the end of the show, it was announced that Perfume would attend the Mnet Asian Music Awards (a Korean music-based award show that takes place in Macau), as one of the representatives for Japan alongside R&B duo Chemistry. It was to be Perfume's first overseas performance. After the concert, a new single titled "Nee" was released on November 10, 2010, and like "Natural ni Koishite", it was a tie-up with Japanese apparel brand "Natural Beauty Basic". The single debuted at number 2 with first-week sales of 85,164, their highest first-week singles sales to date. On November 28, 2010, Perfume received the "Best Asia Artist Award" at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in Macau and later on performed "Nee" and "Chocolate Disco". The DVD of the "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11" live performance at Tokyo Dome was released on February 9, 2011. Since February 2, 2011 a new song "Laser Beam" was featured in the adverts titled "Hyōketsu Dance" and "Hyōketsu Ice Music" for Kirin's chūhai drinks. Though it was announced on March 3, 2011 that their next single would be released on April 20, 2011, the official site announced on April 1, 2011, that the new single would be a double A-side single of "Laser Beam/Kasuka na Kaori" and the release was suspended until May 5, 2011, due to the 2011 eastern Japan earthquake. The new release date of the single was then set to be on May 18, 2011.
In 2011, their hit song "Polyrhythm" was featured in Pixar's movie Cars 2. The song was also included in the film's soundtrack. Perfume was invited to and attended the world premiere of Cars 2 in Los Angeles on June 18, 2011. When the movie was released, Perfume's popularity began to skyrocket faster than the pace of their leg work in "Nee". Also, Perfume did a second TV commercial for Kirin, "Hyōketsu Sparkling" featuring a new song, "Glitter".
On September 5, 2011, Perfume announced that they will be releasing their fourth album, JPN on November 30, 2011. Before the album was to be released, they released the new single "Spice" on November 2, 2011, which is the lead single for the album and includes the song "Glitter" from their recent Kirin commercial tie-up.
On October 15, 2011, Perfume and Japanese co-ed band AAA represented Japan as performers for the 2011 Asia Song Festival which was held in Daegu, South Korea. They performed alongside Korean acts Super Junior, Girls' Generation, Beast and Lee Seung-gi, Chinese singers Zhou Bichang and Leo Ku, Taiwanese singer Peter Ho and Thai singer Tata Young.
2012: Label change and international expansion:
On February 28, it was announced the group had transferred to Universal Music Japan to start working overseas. It was also announced that the group would be releasing their latest album, JPN, on iTunes in 50 countries and an official global website on March 6. The first official release of the group under Universal Music was the single "Spring of Life". On the same day, Universal Japan announced that the group would be managed by the label Universal J, the same label of the previously signed singer-fashion designer Meg, who was also produced by Yasutaka Nakata.
On March 7, 2012, Perfume has announced that they had signed a global contract with Universal Music Group. A day after, March 8, 2012, the group announced the April 11 release of the single "Spring of Life". The title track is already being used as a Kirin advert for "Hyōketsu Magical Music". This marks the group's first single to be released under their new record label.
On May 18, 2012 Perfume gave their first English interview to the Japan Times Online. In it they discussed K-pop, their move from Tokuma Japan to Universal Music and coming to the United States for the first time and their desire to perform internationally. Perfume and their management intend to present the group 'as is' internationally rather than adapting them to fit the market like previous attempts by Asian artists to break the international market. This was backed up when the group's latest album JPN was released in various Asian markets physically.
The group hosted the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2012 which was held in Chiba at Makuhari Messe Hall on June 23. On July 23, 2012, Perfume made two announcements, one of which was that they were having their first tour outside of Japan, in places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore. The second announcement was that they were releasing a new compilation album set for global release named "Perfume Global Compilation LOVE THE WORLD", which is to be released on September 12, 2012.
The group also represented Japan at the first ABU TV Song Festival 2012 which was scheduled at the KBS Concert Hall, in Seoul, South Korea on October 14, 2012.
2013: International breakthrough and LEVEL3:
On February 27, 2013, Perfume released their 17th single, entitled "Mirai no Museum". The title track was used as theme song for the Doraemon film, Nobita no Himitsu Dōgu Museum. The single peaked at number 2 on the Oricon charts, becoming the group's 12th consecutive Top 3 single. From May 29 to June 18, the group held a live tour entitled Zutto Suki Datta'n'jake: Sasurai no Men Kata Perfume Fes!! utilizing a 'Battle of the Bands' performance style with three other different artists: Kazuyoshi Saito, Tamio Okuda, and Maximum the Hormone. The tour consisted of six performances which were held at the Zepp music halls in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. Perfume also performed live at the Ultra Music Festival in South Korea on June 14. On May 22, Perfume released their second single for 2013, entitled "Magic of Love", releasing simultaneously the live DVD Perfume World Tour 1st, which covered their recent performance in Singapore from their world tour. On June 20, 2013, Perfume was invited to Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity where they presented the "Perfume Global Site Project" which received a Silver Lion Award in Cyber Lions category, and performed a special version of their single "Spending All My Time". In July 2013, the group started their second world tour, in which they held concerts in Cologne, London and Paris. On June 19, Perfume announced the release of their fourth studio album, entitled Level3 for October 2, 2013, their first studio album with Universal Music Japan. On October 6, a new song titled "Party Maker" started to be promoted in TV commercials of Eisai's Chocola BB Sparkling. On August 14, 2013 Perfume performed in the NHK special program "Minna wo Tsunagu Mahou no Melody", Disney' songs, even as another artists. On November 27, 2013, their 19th single "Sweet Refrain" was released. The song was used as theme song for TV Asahi drama Toshi Densetsu no Onna 2 which started broadcasting on October 11, 2013.
2014-present: Perfume FES!! 2014, 5th Tour "Gurungurun" and "World Tour 3rd":
On February 22, 2014 Perfume were invited to perform at the 9th KKBOX Music Awards in Taiwan. They also announced their 2nd co-headlining tour entitled Perfume Fes!! 2014 (which ran from March 15 to 20) utilizing a 'Battle of the Bands' performance style again with eight other different artists, such as 9nine, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, and Rip Slyme. The tour consisted of nine performances at many music halls in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Shizuoka, Ishikawa, Kagawa and finally Seoul (South Korea).
On April 30, the group announced via a fanclub-exclusive stream that they plan to release a new single in the summer of 2014, which would be their 20th major label single since their major label debut "Linear Motor Girl". At the same time they announced their 5th tour, titled "Perfume 5th Tour 'Gurungurun'". The tour is titled "Gurungurun" (which means round and round) to represent Perfume's long trip around Japan for this tour, with 14 dates in 7 cities.
On May 27, Perfume announced that they would release their new single "Cling Cling" on July 16, along with 3 other songs. It was also stated that "Cling Cling" will be used in a new Chocola BB commercial. On June 24, Perfume announced their next world tour titled "Perfume World Tour 3rd" from October 31 through November 15, taking them to Taiwan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and their first visits to the United States. On July 16, Perfume released "Cling Cling", which was their 20th single overall, along with 3 other tracks, entitled "Hold Your Hand" (which would be the theme for the drama "Silent Poor"), "Display" (used with a tie-in with Panasonic 4K), and "Ijiwaru na Hello". The song "Hold Your Hand" had Perfume fans from all around the world contribute photographs of their hands with various lyrics and letters written on them. The pictures were then compiled into a final music video.
The group released a Bonus Edition of their album Level3 on October 7, with the label Astralwerks. This edition include two new mixes of their single Spending All My Time. The Perfume's song "Hurly Burly" was the end theme of the short movie "FASTENING DAYS". The group made a cameo in the OK Go's I Won't Let You Down video. OK Go then later made a similar cameo in Perfume's video for "Pick Me Up", which is one of the title tracks of Perfume's upcoming double a-side single Relax In The City/Pick Me Up, to be released April 29, 2015.
Musical style and image:
The group's music, on several occasions, has been identified as "technopop". It was around this time in 2003 that the group's original post-Shibuya-kei sound began making a transition to electronic dance-pop music, influenced by 1980s synthpop and incorporating vocoders.
MTV Iggy said "There are a few reasons why Perfume is one of Japan's most thrilling pop acts. For one thing, there's the music, which is an infectious batch of chart-topping melodies built upon a foundation of intricate maximal house production that would give Daft Punk a run for their money, with heavily processed vocals that stutter robotically yet always sound 100 percent human. On top of that, they have an impeccably designed retro-futuristic image and punishing, innovative choreography that they nevertheless render effortless. Where all of this truly comes together, of course, is on stage."
The group has influenced acts like Aira Mitsuki, immi, Mizca, SAWA, Saori@destiny, Sweet Vacation, 80_pan and former labelmate Vanilla Beans.
Some musicians have officially revealed that they are fans of Perfume. Marty Friedman named Perfume "the group that have the largest influence on the Japanese music industry in 2008", and covered their 5th major single Polyrhythm in the album Tokyo Jukebox. Musicians such as Kreva, Pierre Nakano from the band Ling Tosite Sigure, and Aya Hirano also admit to be fans of the group Utamaru from a Japanese hiphop group Rhymester and Okite Porsche from a new wave band RomanPorsche., both of enthusiastic idol fans, declared that they are Perfume fans at the early stage of activities of the group and made a "25000 letter dialogue" over Perfume phenomenon on Yomiuri Shimbun Pop Style blog.Kimura Kaela played Perfume songs in heavy rotation in her radio program "Oh My Radio!" (J-Wave 81.3), which led them to appear in NHK and AC Recycling Ads. After their cameo in OK Go's video for "I Won't Let You Down", lead singer Damian Kulash revealed he was a fan via Instagram.
On Nico Nico Douga, the most visited Japanese video sharing site (similar to YouTube), MADs featuring Perfume songs and The Idolm@ster videos, were created, which led the album to number 1 status on Amazon.co.jp's music bestsellers. Some Internet media consider that this is one of the factors that Perfume gained net-based popularity at first. On the July 2007 ranking of Niconico Ichiba, or Niconico market, where users can introduce and buy goods related to videos, Perfume: Complete Best was ranked as number 1 and "Fan Service: Sweet" as number 7.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license