yellow magic orchestra

L to R: Akiko Yano, Hideki Matsutake, Kenji Omura, Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi SakamotoYukihiro Takahashi.
@ Hammersmith Odeon (Backstage), London, 1980.

  • Kai-Koh
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Naughty Boys

Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) is an influential Japanese electropop band, formed in Tokyo in 1978. They are widely renowned as a major influence in popular music. They helped pioneer synth pop, modern J-pop, techno, and house music. The principal members are Haruomi Hosono (bass), Yukihiro Takahashi (drums) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (keyboards)

The band was initially conceived as a one-off studio project by Hosono, the other two members being recruited session musicians. The idea was to produce an album fusing orientalist exotica with modern electronics, as a subversion of orientalism and exoticization, while exploring similar themes such as asianness.
They decided to use the name Yellow Magic Orchestra, parodying a fascination with the black magic fad in Japan at the time.

The band’s 1978 self-titled album with its cutting-edge production, was very popular and became a surprise hit and the studio project grew into a fully fledged touring band. One of these live performances was seen by an American A&M Records executive, and by the end of 1978 they had an international record deal, prompting the three to shift from solo careers to full support of YMO.

Over the next few years, YMO was the most popular band in Japan, and was regularly charting in America and Europe, with sold-out tours in all three areas.

After making the music-based movie “Propaganda,” the band “spread out” in 1984. Although they shifted back to solo careers, the members would frequently perform with each other. They briefly reunited to record Technodon under the name of Not YMO in the early 90s, and occasionally performed live as Human Audio Sponge. 
They officially reunited in 2007 as HASYMO’, the band reverted to the name YMO in 2009.

The band has been described as “the original cyberpunks” as well as the Japanese equivalent of Kraftwerk.

This is their song Kai-Koh off of their sixth studio album Naughty Boys released in 1983 on Alfa Records.