E-Girls

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E-girls (sometimes stylized as E-Girls or e-girls; stands for Exile Girls) is a Japanese collective girl group who are signed to music label Rhythm Zone, and managed by LDH and Avex Trax. As of 2017, the band consists of 11 members; 8 of which feature all current members from the groups Happiness and Flower. Additionally, three original members were scouted in Japan and added as part of the group. Created as a sister act to boy band Exile, E-girls debuted in 2011 with their single "Celebration". After a string of promotional recordings, E-girls released their debut record Lesson 1 two years later. In 2013, their single "Gomennasai no Kissing You" catapulted the girls into commercial success, selling over 100,000 units, and its parent album Colorful Pop (2014), was met with positive reviews and high performance on the Oricon Albums Chart.

With several members departing from the group, E-girls released their third album E.G. Time (2015), which saw a change in their music and vocal deliveries. That same year, LDH announced changes to their line-up, which resulted in absence with some members for their singles "Anniversary!!" and "Dance Dance Dance". Beginning the year with their greatest hits album E.G. Smile: E-girls Best (2016), the group announced their E.G. Pop and E.G. Cool themes with the singles "E.G. Summer Rider", "Pink Champagne" and "Go! Go! Let's Go!". Their fourth album, E.G. Crazy, was released in January 2017.

Beginning as a Japanese idol group, E-girls have branched out and conceive a variety of different appeals and cultures as their career progressed, and have become one of the most prominent girl groups in Japanese music. Additionally, their musical style, starting off as soft J-pop and dance music, began to expand as following albums were released. Since their debut, three sub-units have been formed by selected members from E-girls, and have explored both music and fashion endeavours.

History

2010-2012: Debut and single releases

In 2011, Japanese boy band Exile held a nationwide audition event for young female artists. Originally, the event was to find members for the dance group named Flower, which was conducted by LDH and already featured four members, but they decided to also scope for a new dance and vocal group titled Bunny.

After recruiting dancer Nozomi Bando, and three vocalists Reina Washio, Kyoka Ichiki, and Chiharu Muto, Exile's Hiro?the head producer and CEO of LDH?announced the "Girls Entertainment Project", which was later changed to E-Girls; he confirmed that it would consist of all members from Dream, Happiness, and Flower. Bunny were not originally formed as part of E-Girls, and were to debut separately in 2013, but they never carried out any activities. Following their formation, E-girls consisted of 21 members. On December 28, 2011, the group premiered with their single "Celebration", which peaked inside the top ten on the Oricon Singles Chart. Sayaka Yamamoto became the first member of E-girls to leave the group, and subsequently her band Dream; her promise commenced in March 2012.

The following year, they released their second single "One Two Three" in April, which performed moderately on the charts than their former recording. For the release, two new members were added into the band: Reina Kizu and Anna Suda, both coming from EGD (EXPG Girls Dancers), a dance group formed at the Exile Professional Gym Academy. Before the preparation of their follow-up number "Follow Me", Happiness member Mayu Sugieda went on hiatus in August to undergo medical treatment after being diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis. Furthermore, LDH added several more members into E-girls, including the girls from the un-debuted Bunny group and EGD dancers. In total, E-girls consisted of 31 members, with Dream's Sayaka Yamamato, and Happiness' Mimu Hioki and Sugeida on hiatus. Having said this, LDH announced new regulations to have each member train to each following single release in order to feature in the line-up; for example, only 16 of the 31 members appeared on the jacket covers for "Follow Me". The single was released on in October 2012, and was a commercial success in Japan, shifting 500,000 digital units. Not long after, Happiness member Mimu Hioki left the group in October.

2013: Lesson 1 and rise of popularity

In early 2013, three members from Bunny left E-Girls. Additionally, EGD member Ruri Kawamoto and an original performer named Momoka Nakajima joined E-Girls and made their first performing appearance in their single "The Never Ending Story", which the band's name de-capitalized to E-girls. It was a commercial success, reaching number two on the Oricon chart, and became their first feature to included all 29-members on the jacket covers. The following hit, "Candy Smile", performed moderately on the charts but earned a Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). Additionally, Kawamoto was promoted as a vocalist and sung the B-side "Love Letter", marking her the first E-girls member to change positions. On April 17, the girls promoted their debut record Lesson 1, which sold numerous units on the Oricon Albums Chart, debuting at number one and charted over 70 non-consecutive weeks. This was the final effort by EGD member Reina Kizu, whom left the group some months later; her position was replaced officially by Nakajima.

Happiness' member Mayu Sugieda returned to the group after recovering from her illness, and joined all 29 members for the single's jacket covers and visual for "Gomennasai no Kissing You". This was the final single with Flower member Elina Mizuno, the first release with Anna Suda and Kawamoto as members of Happiness, and the first visual to feature Nakajima since replacing Kizu. A commercial success, it became the girls first physical track to ship over 100,000 copies, and won the Japanese MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography, alongside a nomination for Best Japanese act at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards. In October that year, EGD member Marina Watanabe joined the girl group as a stand-in performer. However, her position was allocated as a primary performer when member Mizuno signed off from E-girls, and Watanabe was featured in the promotional shoot for the groups following number, "Kurukuru". The single became the group's highest first week sales, shifting approximately 69,087 units. At the end of 2013, the group were given the opportunity to appear on several year-end shows in Japan, and were subsequently invited to K?haku Uta Gassen.

2014-2015: Individual activities, Colorful Pop, E.G. Time, line-up changes and further work

In early 2014, Dream's Aya Takamoto was appointed as the leader of E-girls. Subsequently, each member started to endure on several separate endeavours from the group; 10 of the group's members: Shizuka, Kaede, Karen Fujii, Anna Suda, Shuuka Fujii, Nozomi Bando, Harumi Sato, Kyoka Takeda, Anna Ishii, and Nonoka Yamaguchi, each starred in one episode of the drama A Perfect Day for Love Letters. The opening number to the show was the E-girls single "Diamond Only", which experienced success on the Oricon charts. Despite previous commercial endorsements, it brought the girls more endorsement deals with fashion and lifestyle products. Released as their final single to their second album Colorful Pop, which was released on March 19, the latter format garnered success on the Oricon Albums Chart and became their second consecutive album to debut at number one. In order to promote the record, E-girls commenced their first national tour between July and August, titled "Colorful Land".

In April that year, Mayu Sugeida and Kyoka Takeda left their respective groups Happiness and Bunny, alongside their departure from E-girls; this made Sugeida the second vocalist after Dream's Sayaka Yamamoto to leave E-girls. From June that year, E-girls released three singles consecutively, one per month; the first was "E.G. Anthem: We Are Venus", which included all members and vocalists on the jacket covers and accompanying music video. The following number was "Odoru Ponpokorin", which premiered on July 30 and experienced moderate sales in the charts and featured 14-elected members for the cover art. It used as the opening theme song to the TV anime Chibi Maruko Chan. The third single from their album E.G. Time (2015) was "Highschool Love", which was released on September 10. Like "Odoru Ponpokorin", the single was featured in the Fuji TV drama "Great Teacher Onizuka". While preparing for promotion to their single "Mr. Snowman", Flower member and vocalist Chiharu Muto left E-girls to study abroad but ended up launching her own fashion line; she left in November, the same month that the single was released. At the end of the year, E-girls were invited to K?haku Uta Gassen for the second time.

On January 1, 2015 (New Years Day), the band released the physical editions of E.G. Time. The record was commercially success, becoming their third number one on the Oricon charts. However, on January 27, the staff at LDH announced a new line-up system titled the E-girls Pyramid, which showed each member in the band and their respective sub-groups. With that said, six of the then-remaining 26-members were moved out of E-girls and into either the yet-to-debut groups Rabbits and Bunnies for further training; Yuzuna Takebe, the youngest singer in E-girls, was removed from the line-up and placed in Rabbits. After this, the girls held their second nationwide tour titled "Colorful World" between February and March. With the new line-up set, E-girls started recording new material for their new album by promoting the single "Anniversary!!". Dream member Ami announced her solo debut, con-curring with the activities in E-girls and Dream. In October that year, it was confirmed via LDH that Dream member Erie Abe would graduated from being a performer and singer to become a disc jockey for some of the groups future releases and live performances. That same month, Flower member Kyoka Ichiki announced her leave from both groups; this made Flower a six-member unit, and left Reina Washio the only remaining vocalist in the group.

Because of Ichiki's departure, LDH re-added ex-Rabbits' member Yuzuna Takebe make into E-girls, but only attributed as a performer until the following year. Once again, the band were invited to their third appearance at K?haku, where they performed their single "Dance Dance Dance" as well as another year-end special on Japan's CDTV where they revealed a new song from their then-upcoming greatest hits album E.G. Smile: E-girls Best, titled "Dance With Me Now!". The single premiered as a promotional recording, and achieved success on the Japan Hot 100 chart; it was their last released within 2015.

2016-present: E.G. Smile: E-girls Best, E.G. Crazy and line-up change

To start the new year 2016, E-girls released their greatest hits compilation album E.G. Smile: E-girls Best on February 10, 2016. The album consisted of all their singles up to "Dance With Me Now!", and an additional recording titled "Shukko Sa! (Sail Out For Someone)". Released in several different formats, the record became their best-selling album, with over 250,000 units sold and was certified Platinum by the RIAJ. To commemorate its release, E-girls engaged in their third national tour titled "E.G. Smile". During the concert tour, the group made several announcements related to their sub-groups activities; Happiness' second studio and upcoming tours for both Flower and Happiness. This is the first time Flower and Happiness have been conducted concert tours themselves. Additionally, LDH confirmed the debut of the E-girls side-project ShuuKaRen, which consists of sisters Karen and Shuuka Fujii.

In late April 2016, E-girls confirmed via their website that they would release two new singles that consisted of two individual themes. The first single was "E.G. Summer Rider", which was released on July 20, 2016 with an "E.G. Pop concept". The single debuted at number two on the Oricon chart, and was success with digital sales. The following month, "Pink Champagne" was released and was a critical success. Commercially, it gained their highest-selling first week sales since "Kurukuru" with 66,028 copies. On October 28 2016, member Erie Abe announced her intention to retire from the group and the entertainment business at the end of the year, making her the first Dream member to departure since Sayaka Yamamoto's in 2011.

On November 11, E-girls released their third single for 2016, "Go! Go! Let's Go!". This was yet another change in concept, having embraced a new style called "Japanese Neo Tokyo"; for example, the accompanying visual promoted the girls in various Japanese-influenced fashion. Commercially however, it under-performed and became one of their lowest-selling releases since their debut. The following month, E-girls announced the release of their fourth studio album E.G. Crazy (2017). The record is packaged as a double album; one disc features material for E.G. Pop, whilst the second disc deals with an E.G. Cool concept. Additionally, several music videos were featured on the album, including the promotional recordings of "Strawberry Sadistic"?which appeared in the original LDH film High & Low: The Movie?and two new album tracks titled "All Day Long Lady"/"Harajuku Time Bomb". On December 31 that year, Abe committed to her promise and retired from Dream and E-girls. On January 3, 2017, E.G. Crazy premiered on AWA streaming services through Japan, and was subsequently issued with various physical editions on January 18. On March 10, dancer and Happiness member/leader Miyuu announced a brief hiatus due to a knee injury that occurred through January that same year. She confirmed that she was in the process of surgery and rehabilitation.

In late May 2017, LDH announced a new campaign titled E.G. Evolution, consisting of a 7-day countdown; after the seven subsequent days, LDH revealed several changes to E-girls. The first was the disbandment of corresponding band Dream, which consisted of members Shizuka, Aya and Ami; all three members confirmed their graduation from the group, whilst Aya effectively retired from being a musician and performer indefinitely, in order to serve as the creative manager towards the band and the newly-established girl entertainment franchise, E.G. Family. Alongside this, members Miyuu, Ruri Kawamoto, Shuuka Fujii, Manami Shigetome and Mio Nakajima removed themselves from the band, focusing on their activities within their bands Happiness and Flower. According to the girls' website, members Karen Fujii, Reina Washio and Yuzuna Takebe will serve as the bands primary vocalists, and will have no assisting group leader.

Artistry

Music and style

From the start of their career?namely with their debut "Celebration!" and album Lesson 1?the band's music was universally categorized by critics as a dance-influenced J-pop. However, Japanese magazine CD Journal believed that their debut adapted the trend of "soft" K-pop and EDM, two genres which were particularly prominent through the mid-2010s, along with its influenced on the Western market. Furthermore, the magazine noted its similarities between nameless Korean and Japanese bands because of their "catchy" dance melodies, and Billboard Japan commented about their inheritance of the dance genre from brother band Exile, which they described as "DNA". Majority of the content were handled by a variety of Japanese composers and producers, such as Clarabell, Kazuhiro Hara, and frequent songwriter Masoto Kotake, but their single "The Never Ending Story", a cover song originally performed by English singer Limahl, was composed by Giorgio Moroder. Their second album, Colorful Pop (2014), saw a return to their dance-pop style, but a writer of Selective Hearing noticed that the sound was a more "upward trend" than their debut.

The material, particularly the "faster tracks" and cover songs: "Rydeen (Dance All Night)" by Yellow Magic Orchestra, "Koi no Boogie Woogie Train" by Ann Lewis, and "I Heard a Rumour" by Bananarama, were widely praised for the producers abilities to "reconfigure J-pop’s past into the buzzing present." But once again, the ballad entries were slated for their "mood killing" appeal. For their third studio album, E.G. Time (2014), it saw a change in musical style, particularly with the uptempo numbers. Additionally, the band's management, LDH, hired a variety of new producers and composers to work on the album, namely Yasutaka Nakata, Lauren Kaori, Fast Lane, and husband-wife duo T.Kura and Michico. This was their first record to remove a large portion of ballad songs, having been replaced with "aggressive" EDM numbers and "twinkly" electropop anthems. According to Patrick St. Michel, writing for The Japan Times, majority of the recordings have the vocalists singing in unison, which has been a notable factor in various Japanese acts such as AKB48 and their sister groups; the writer identified "Music Flyer" as the most prominent example from E.G. Time. Subsequently, he felt the track re-introduced them back into the K-pop genre.

For their fourth studio album, a double release titled E.G. Crazy (2017), E-girls presented two parallel themes; E.G. Pop and E.G. Cool. The former theme endorsed a "pop[pier]" and "fun" vibe that graced their previous work, whilst E.G. Cool emphasized a "cooler" and "sexy" sound. The first offerings to these themes were the "dynamic" dance-pop anthem "E.G. Summer Rider", and the tropical house number inspired by 1980s disco, "Pink Champagne". Additionally, many tracks from the collection emphasized a variety of Western genres such as French house, rock, hip-hop and dubstep.

Image

On numerous occasions, E-girls have been recognized by publications as an idol group, due to their dominance of the Japanese market, on-going line-up changes and similarities to a variety of Japanese idol bands. However, by the release of their studio album E.G. Time, Patrick St. Michel of The Japan Times identified how the group "buck most of the major idol trends", specifically saying; "They shun idol-standard amateurism in favor of K-pop-like precision," and identified their song "Music Flyer" as the most notable change in this type of appeal. Furthermore, he explained another trait was the typical performance of idol groups singing in "unison", but said "...whereas AKB48 just sound louder, E-Girls turn it into a focused, wordless chant." With the release of their album E.G. Crazy in 2017, E-girls yet again broadened their appeal by emphasising two styles; a "pop[pier]" and "fun" vibe that brings reminiscence of their earlier work, whilst E.G. Cool showcased a more "sexy" image; this was first presented in the jacket covers for their 2016 single "Pink Champagne". Not long after, the girls released their single "Go! Go! Let's Go!", which saw a new transition in image; they adapted a theme titled Japanese Neo Girls, which utilizes different cultures from a Japanese women's perspective. For example, "Go! Go! Let's Go!" focused on a variety of Japanese cultures such as traditional wear (kimono) to Otaku culture.

Furthermore, their promotional recordings: "All Day Long Lady" and "Harajuku Time Bomb" focused on Westernized "office ladies", while the latter was influenced by the style in Harajuku. Throughout their work, E-girls have been known for their "striking visuals and impressive dance numbers", and was stated by a journalist from Nekopop.com that the group were gaining "well-deserved popularity, proving they can bring just as much dancing and great music as their male counterparts." Additionally, the editor, whom conducted a pre-review of their greatest hits album E.G. Smile: E-girls Best (2016), concluded "While Exile is loved by girls all over the world for their soul and dance, E-girls gave those same fans the girl group they could relate to and sparked the beginning of their now four year long catalog of successful hits."

Seifuku dances

As part of the group's singles, the performing members conduct an additional segment to their music video's called a Seifuku Dance (?????, Uniform dance). These small clips are connected to the story line of the parent music videos?which are regularly placed at the start of end of the visual?and generally focus on various dance styles by the performers and its accompanying instrumental composition. Despite this, some singing members, such as Erie Abe, Mayu Sugieda, Karen Fujii, Ruri Kawamoto, Chiharu Muto, Kyoka Ichicki, and Yuzuna Takebe, have appeared in selected visuals. Some compositions from a seifuku dance have been adapted into full-length recordings: "Kurukuru" was used in their track "Move It! (Dream & E-girls Time)", "Odoru Ponpokorin" was sampled into the E-girls song "Boom Boom Christmas", and sections from "Mr. Snowman" were placed in their song "Express (Do Your Dance)". Like their official singles, each performing member is assessed by a line-up change, meaning only selected members are featured in the respective seifuku dance. Each dance was included on the DVD/Blu-ray bundles of their album E.G. Smile: E-girls Best.

Reception

In early 2014, teen magazine Anan, which generally explores various youth cultures such as idol and kawaii culture, included E-girls amongst many other idol groups for their special February issue. In 2015, Nikkei Entertainment released their annual top girl-group bands, and E-girls were ranked at number 4 with 18.4% of the votes. According to the list, over half the entries were idol groups, and six were sister acts of the AKB48 family. At the end of 2016, Oricon conducted an artist ranking and their album E.G. Smile: E-girls Best became their first release to enter the top twenty best-sellers list (placed at number 11), and were ranked the 9th highest-grossing Japanese act with reported revenue up to ¥1.75 billion (an approximate equivalent to $15.57 million USD).

Side projects

Apart from their respective groups Dream, Happiness and Flower, E-girls and LDH have established three side-projects. The first sub-group from E-girls are ShuuKaRen, which consists of sisters Karen Fujii from Happiness and Shuuka Fujii of Flower. This is the first musical release to feature both siblings together, after first distributing their fashion coffee table book Antithese, which garnered critical success and sold over 100,000 units in Japan. LDH conceived ShuuKaRen as "two vocal divas" that create music "based on black [culture]". Their debut single, "Universe", was released on October 5, 2016, and features co-lead vocals by Shuuka; this is the first time Shuuka has provided vocals to any E-girls related effort, and is the first overall member from the group since Ruri Kawamoto to be promoted as a vocalist.

The second sub-group established from E-girls are SudannaYuzuYully, which features sole E-girls member Yuzuna Takebe as the main vocalist, and Happiness' Anna Suda and Yurino as rappers and performers; like the former side-project, it is the first time Suda and Yurino provide vocals to any E-girls work, and also makes Suda and Yurino the third and fourth members to be promoted as vocalists through LDH. The trio, who will base their music around contemporary dance and hip-hop music, will released their debut single "Oh Boy" in March 2017.

Although not a musical or performing act, Happiness member Kaede and Flower member Harumi Sato created a sub-group named Twin Tower, which showcases them as exclusive models for fashion and other product endorsements; they are the first side project to not reveal any vocal or performing activities. They are official represented by LDH, and debuted in October 2015.

Members

Happiness

Flower

Original E-girls

Former members

Discography

Notes

References

External links

  • E-girls Official website (in Japanese)
  • Official website at LDH (in English)
Source : Wikipedia

Top Tracks

Follow Me 1

Follow Me

ごめんなさいのKissing You 2

ごめんなさいのKissing You

CANDY SMILE 3

CANDY SMILE

Diamond Only 4

Diamond Only

One Two Three 5

One Two Three

Celebration! 6

Celebration!

Dance With Me Now! 7

Dance With Me Now!

E.G. Anthem -WE ARE VENUS- 8

E.G. Anthem -WE ARE VENUS-

クルクル 9

クルクル

Highschool love 10

Highschool love

Top Albums

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COLORFUL POP
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E.G. CRAZY
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