mihimaru GT

by Rinoa on February 23, 2007 · 12 comments · AddThis

mihimaru GT
mihimaru GT promoting “Itsumademo Hibiku Kono melody/MAGICAL SPEAKER” on excite

mihimaru GT is a duo group which specialises in urban and pop genres, which they have conveniently combined in a genre which they christened J-Hip-Pop. However they also release heartfelt ballads. For this reason their style is extremely different from the typical urban counterparts. mihimaru GT focus on enjoying the moment, humourous and cute themes and have a positive message without having loads of sexy women prancing around. Another interesting aspect is that mihimaru GT are responsible over the whole creative process of their music.

mihimaru GT are well known to use classic and popular melodies from the 90’s and mix them with their own compositions. Thus mihimaru GT have managed to attract the attention of the Japanese because of their fresh and innovative style simply because of their talent.

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Members

Mitsuyuki Miyake Name: Mitsuyuki Miyake (三宅光幸)
Age: 26
Birthdate: 2 October 1980
Birthplace: Okayama prefecture
Zodiac: Libra
Occupation: Composer/Lyricist/Rapper
Hiroko Name: Hiroko
Real Name: Akutsu Hiroko (阿久津博子)
Age: 22
Birthdate: 24 July 1984
Birthplace: Hyogo prefecture
Zodiac: Leo
Occupation: Lyricist/Vocalist/Rapper

Biography

Before the formation of mihimaru GT, both artists had a solo career. However their solo career was not successful and without any hits. The group was formed due to the joint management of the two artists. The name “mihimaru GT” was coined by taking the first two letters of the artists’ names and adding “maru” to it, which means “circle” in Japanese. “GT” are the initials of Miyake’s favourite game “Grand Turismo”. There were many other candidate names for the group, such as “Air Grow”, which ended up becoming a title of a song. mihimaru GT became a group signed to Universal Music Japan and managed by Tearbridge Productions. Tearbridge Production is a subsidiary Stardust Promotion and avex trax.

Hiroko is the main vocalist and is sometimes featured singing solo in their releases. She’s significantly shorter than Miyake, being only 153cm tall. Many people seem to find her appearance to be extremely similar to the ex-Morning Musume member, Mari Yaguchi. Hiroko sent a demo tape with covers of Ayumi Hamasaki’s songs to her record label before her debut. She loves drinking coffee and playing basketball.

Miyake aimed to be a famous composer. He likes barbecues and has a special skill of doing eyebrow tricks. Also his pet name is “Mikkun”. He attended the Kanto Vocational School and studied the law of harmony. After he graduated he worked as a MC, song composer and arranger. Half a year before his debut he composed songs in SMAP’s album “SMAP 015/Drink! Smap!” and BoA’s “VALENTI”. When he made his debut, he was called ‘mitsu’ except during member introductions when he was known simply as ‘miyake’.

mihimarhythm promo
mihimarhythm promo photo

They released their first single “Yakusoku” which means “Promise”, in July 2003. This single received close to no attention and charted at #156 on the Oricon charts, making it their worst-selling single. It wasn’t until almost a year later, in April 2004 that they released their second single “Kaerouka“. This single managed to peak at #32 on Oricon and stayed on the charts for 15 weeks. It became their second best selling single. After their third single, they released their first album “mihimarhythm” which was a small success. It peaked at #16 and had a relatively long chart life of 18 weeks. After this small success, Tearbridge Productions tested their popularity by releasing an album cut single and their first double A-side single, “H.P.S.J. -mihimaruBallMIX- / So Merry Christmas“. However this single was a flop and sold poorly.

Five months later in 2005, mihimaru GT released “Yurume no Lady“, the theme song for the Playstation 2 game “Gakko wo Tsukuro Happy Days!!” and later on “Love is…” a tie-in with “PARUTI” commercial. In an attempt to attract more sales the following single “Koisuru Kimochi/YES” was released in two packages and was another double A-side attempt. The limited edition had two promotional videos included. This was their second small success. This single ranked at #16 and sold 34,372 copies. A month later, their second album was released and this peaked at #17 and stayed on the charts for 29 weeks. They were slowly climbing the charts and selling more, but they still failed to reach the top 10 ranking.

Up till 2006, mihimaru GT were barely promoted and had released only two albums and seven singles. None of their releases were hits and they seemed unable to gain a bigger fanbase. They were seriously risking of remaining unnoticed for the rest of their career. Their record label started attempting to revive their career by releasing a clip collection, “mihimaclip“. Two months later they released a new single “Sayonara no Uta” and added two songs from the previous album. However this technique wasn’t successful.

Sayonara no Uta promo
Sayonara no Uta promo photo

 

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Finally in May 2006, mihimaru GT attracted the attention of Japan with their single “Kibun Joujou↑↑” which literally translates to “Feeling Hyper”. This single was an important turning point for mihimaru GT. The single was released in two packages again and had a very catchy melody. Finally their record label started promoting them more. They starred for the first time in a commercial with “Palty” hair products and performed on a variety show for the very first time on 5th May, on Music Station. The promotion of this single paid off. It sold 128,033 copies and peaked at #7 on Oricon, making it their most successful single to date. It achieved the first place on the iTunes Music Store downloads for two weeks and broke 1 million downloads in chaku-uta melodies. CDTV gave them an award for being so successful in this single. Also it ranked at #79 on the yearly Oricon charts. This song’s popularity led to it becoming the represtentative song for Japan in the FIFA World Cup in 2006. Suddenly their popularity skyrocketed and everyone went crazy about them.

Itsumademo Hibiku Kono melody/MAGICAL SPEAKER promo
Itsumademo Hibiku Kono melody/MAGICAL SPEAKER promo photo

Riding onto the wave of popularity of this single, mihimaru GT ended up releasing two singles in just two months. Their 10th single “Tsuyoku Tsuyoku” was another catchy song and was the theme song of the anime series “Glass no Kantai“. This song was another hit, selling 67,126 copies sold and peaking at #19. The following single, “Itsumademo Hibiku Kono melody/MAGICAL SPEAKER” was released in three versions and had three different photoshoots with extra DVD goodies on each limited edition versions to encourage fans to buy all the versions. It was also their second single which had two promotional clips recorded and had two tie-ins. It sold 57,573 copies and peaked at #13. This hit led them to appear on Music Fair 21 for the first time. It became obvious that mihimaru GT were artists worth it to invest into and their releases had a higher budget invested into them.

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If this wasn’t enough they released their 3rd album, “mihimagic“, merely a month later. This album was an instant hit, peaking at #2 and becoming their best selling album. In winter mihimaru GT released a compilation album, “mihimania” with their b-sides which weren’t included in any album. Also they rearranged and resung almost all the songs. To promote this album, a promotional video for “So Merry Christmas” was filmed and this song was performed live on various variety shows. The students of the Hosei University collaborated with the director Ryuji Noda to film this video. mihimaru GT went to Cebu island for the photoshoot of this compilation. This album peaked at #10 on the Oricon charts.

All this success led them to make their debut at the prestigious NHK Kohaku. They also won several awards. In the “The 48th Japan Record Taishou” mihimaru GT were “Gold Award Recipients” and in the “Japan Cable Awards” they also won an award. mihimaru GT attracted so much attention that they also ended up being invited to several end-of year events.

Kakegae no nai Uta promo
Kakegae no nai Uta promo photo

For mihimaru GT, the future looks rather promising. Their upcoming single, “Kakegae no nai Uta” shall be a tie-in for the new Doraemon movie, “Shin Nobita no Makai Daiboken – 7nin no Mahotsukai“. It is scheduled to receive a decent amount of promotion too. Since Doraemon is a classic anime and has a stable fanbase, it is probable that this single will rank well on the Oricon charts. On the same day they are also scheduled to be releasing “mihimaLIVE“, their first ever concert recorded in December 2006. Their past albums are also scheduled to be re-released in a limited quantity with a DVD as an extra. There’s also a second mihimaLIVE scheduled for the 2007 where they will tour around eight venues in the month of June.

Conclusion

In the end mihimaru GT might not be revolutionary or have outstanding vocal talents. However they have successfully shown how urban music can be fun without having to revert to urban stereotypes, such as the lack of morals and personality that so many urban artists around the world seem to have. In many cases if you’ve seen one rapper, you’ve seen them all since they all sound like a broken record, singing about women, money and guns. The same goes for hip-hop artists who are always provocative, sexy and – to be honest, extremely boring. Urban music has seriously become a stagnated genre, with no essence in it, because everyone sounds and looks the same. Even being sexy has become a distasteful bore, since every urban artist is so keen on showing off her skin to sell well to cover up how much her music sucks.

mihimaru GT’s genius is that they have an urban style, which for a change focuses on a more positive and lighthearted mood. They do not objectify the female body, promote lack of morals or attempt to show off whatever they own. Hiroko manages to be cute and sexy, without reminding me to a brainless “Barbie” doll. Their music can be enjoyed by everyone, even young children. That is why I admire such a group, which has achieved recognition solely because of their musical talent. Hopefully this duo will continue producing hits and gathering awards since they really do deserve it.

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  1. mihimaru GT Interview – I Should Be So Lucky / Ai Kotoba This article is translated from an interview done with mihimaru GT by Excite Music regarding their 15th single, "I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY / Ai Kotoba".......

About the author

Rinoa enjoys spending her free time writing articles, most particularly reviews, biographies and news articles. Her favourite artist is Ayumi Hamasaki but she enjoys listening to a wide range of musical talents from all over the world.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sweetpea April 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I like this review and i think more people should listen to her music.

Reply

Princess DeokMan AUSTRALIA March 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

i love your song Akutsu Hiroko and Mitsuyuki Miyake…
hiriko is too cute for me :)

Reply

Sahory November 29, 2008 at 4:53 pm

bueno ps este grupo es genial
me gusta como se escucha su ritmo

Reply

Mark May 16, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Very nice review. I hope more and more people will listen to this group, you are outstanding and don’t underestimate yourselves, you will go far. I and my family love your music.

Reply

Anonymous UNITED STATES December 4, 2007 at 3:14 am

Nice Review, especially the conclusion. It’s just what I am thinking when I heard the songs from mihimaru GT. This group made me quit listening to those other hip-hop or rappers that you were talking about.

I especially like “Kibun Jojo”, “HPSJ” and “Gazen Yeah!”. Most of them are very good music.

Reply

rvd19 November 23, 2007 at 7:41 am

SUPER great entry.
u justified them.
their music HAVE addictive rhytum, smoothing melody plus a dose of upbeating rap.
i hope that more ppl will pay attendtion to great music instead of what u have stated… sexy body & looks.

Reply

taiko THAILAND April 20, 2007 at 10:08 am

nice review!!!!
i’m the one big fan of mihimaruGT!!
thank for letting me know their history!
Q(>.<)Q

Reply

Bloo April 4, 2007 at 4:34 am

This is a very nice written article. Thanks for writing this up as i knew nothing about them before i read ur article and after reading i knew more.
I am really interested in them so if u have more news about them please update this.THANKS

And i really gotta agree with what u haf written in ur conclusion.

Good Job there

Reply

Jon UNITED STATES March 22, 2007 at 3:36 pm

ah niceee review.
mihimaru gt is awesome. ;D
very cool.

Reply

tsukiko March 4, 2007 at 10:17 am

I agree! Your article was really well written. The songs you chose to promote were really good too. I think I might just spend a little more time looking up songs by this group. They sound rather promising and I really like what I’ve heard so far. :D

Reply

esm UNITED STATES March 2, 2007 at 10:30 am

This article on mihimaru GT is just amazing. I’ve been following their music for quite some time now, but I’ve never seen much information in English. They’re probably one of my favorite groups ever. And I really agree with your conclusion there, although I think Hiroko’s voice is really unique and her singing is great. But the rest of it was so true. Most of the time I stay away from the typical hip-hop groups because they seem so …may I say, “trashy”? I love mihimaru GT’s positiveness. Their music makes me so happy. =)

Reply

Celsius005 UNITED STATES February 23, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Impressive – I went from not knowing a thing about them to knowing all to well who these underdogs are after reading this. I myself have only heard of them last year when they were singing “Kibun Joujou↑↑” live on various occasions. Even after listening to them multiple times I just couldn’t seem to tune myself with the urban-hip-hop style that they so positively portray. I see the catchy factor in their work yet nothing makes too strong of an impact on me. However, I will enthusiastically note that they really do look like they’re having fun, which is a characteristic I admire of them!

At first glance I don’t think I ever would’ve cared for them, but now that I know them better, I’ll see about keeping tabs on them in the event I’m in for something unique. It seems they’ve had so many downs throughout their career, but those hardships didn’t seem to faze them at all. And look at where they are now. That deserves some recognition indeed!

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