Japanese Music Girl Group Profile: Speed – Starting Over, Again

by ebazaar 21 September 2009 No Comment

SPEED’s back in action! They’ve reunited back after 8 years of solo career for each members – certainly a very good news for their fans worldwide. They made it out when they are still so young and hype. SPEED is a Jpop girl group that was formed in 1995 and it their youngest member was only 12 at that time, bringing mostly songs of Pop and Ballad genre. They are the only girl group whose was chosen by Japanese people nationwide through a public vote. All four members are former student of Okinawa Actors School which had also trained popular artist Namie Amuro and another top girl group MAX (Amuro was a former member of MAX).

Japanese Music Girl Group profile - SPEED

Japanese Music Girl Group - SPEED

I’m not going to hide the fact that 10 years ago, I was also a crazy fan of SPEED. Their songs are nice, they have nice decent pop style and they certainly possessed good charisma and showmanship. SPEED consists of four members:-

Hiroko Shimabukuro (D.O.B 1984/4/7, Age: 25, Blood type: A, Born in Okinawa)

hirokoI should say that Hiroko is among the accomplished solo artist among all four. She has produced a few albums, sold a few hit singles, acted in the movie ‘Backdancer’, and certainly quite a number of PVs as well. She has the same birthday as her fellow teammate, Hitoe.

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Eriko Imai (D.O.B 1983/9/22, Age: 26, Blood type: O, Born in Okinawa)

Eriko - Speed JpopEriko has great singing and acting talent, no more or less like the others and just as accomplished like Hiroko in the beginning. She used to released a few hit singles as well as acting in few movies. However, she started to slow down when she got married on 9th June 2004 in a shotgun marriage with 175R lead vocalist, Shogo Kinoshita. Their son, Raimu Kinoshita, was born on October 18, 2004 weighing 3492g. She had a tough time since her son was diagnosed to have some hearing and balancing problem since birth. That is the reason why Eriko started to learn sign language with her son during early 2008. Despite of that, she did released a few singles, kept on composing and writing songs. Her 1st album under the name elly, ‘Neverland’, showcases elly’s composition as well as lyrical skills, this album is also being produced by Eriko herself.

Takako Uehara (D.O.B 1983/1/14, Age: 26, Blood type: A, Born in Okinawa)

Takako - Speed JpopTakako mainly involve in television showbiz more than singing. Her first single was a major hit though, because being produced and collaborated with Ryuichi Kawamura (member of Luna Sea) was actually a big thing back then. Kawamura was a big name. ‘My First Love’ was released in January 1999, and then a few more singles followed. Later, Takako got involved in TV dramas and shows and she was also teenage boys favorite pin-up model. She had produced three photo books of her own. Some pictures even caused certain controversies since it was consider quite obscene.

Hitoe Arakaki (D.O.B 1981/4/7, Age: 28, Blood type: AB, Born in Okinawa)

Hitoe Arakaki - Speed JpopHitoe is an excellent dancer, and talented in arts. After the disbandment of SPEED, Hitoe went to New York in the States to pursue her studies in arts. Back in the days, Hitoe was well-known for her dancing skills and her wild eccentric hairstyles. Now, even while being busy with shows and stuff she’s still teach yoga occasionally in Shibuya, Japan’s Star Light Studio. Hitoe also became active in yoga in which she has obtained the license to teach yoga in Japan. In June 2007, she published a book and DVD combo of yoga lessons.

They have produced altogether about 10 albums, most of which are best albums comprising their hit songs. They have also produced 17 singles and few concert and music video DVDs too. One single that has made major hit in the past was ‘White Love’. It was that song too that actually brought me to the world of SPEED. It was also during their career peak (1997-1998). They were disbanded on the 31st March, 2000 to pursue solo careers. The last tour ‘Final Dome Tour’ has some touchy scenes of each member on their disbandment.

During their solo time, they had been regroup a few times for a short time for charity works, such as the ‘Save the Children’ charity activity in the 2003. And not until recently – on August 20th 2008, announcement were made that they have been reunited permanently. They made a comeback single debut with the song ‘Ashita no Sora’ meaning ‘Yesterday’s Sky’. Well, there are people who listened to them for almost a decade now and thrilled to have them back.

You can check recent news at SPEED official website.

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SPEED was the only girl band in Japan that received the honor and feat of performing at Tokyo Dome -- something that can only be achieved by Japan’s formidable artistes.

You can enjoy their latest single -- SPEED S.p.d (Splendid Pop Dance), at the video of the week segment which you can find at the sidebar of this website. I personally like their new upbest song. It gives them a new fresh and competitive image. Nevertheless, they’re still hot and kicking!




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