One Ok Rock is one of Japan's most explosive acts. They have hosted some of the biggest shows in Japan and have sold more than 3 million records. They have also been topping both the Japanese and international charts since 2014.
It's hard not to love One Ok Rock. Not only are they talented, but they are also very passionate about their craft. In their close to two-decade history, they have forged countless unforgettable memories and songs that have touched many lives.
If you have recently discovered this amazing band and want to learn more about them, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will be going through the band's history, some fun facts about the band members, song and album recommendations, and many more.
Who is One Ok Rock?
One Ok Rock is a Japanese rock band that hails from Tokyo, Japan. They consist of Taka on vocals, Toru on guitar, Ryota on bass, and Tomoya on drums. They are best known for their unique and powerful musical style as well as their ability to express and connect with their listeners.
But what makes One Ok Rock's career special is the journey that they took. They didn’t become a worldwide phenomenon in just one night. They started out as a bunch of kids who dreamt big.
The story of One Ok Rock began in 2005 during Toru Yamashita's high school years. After the disbandment of his Hip Hop group HEADS, he wanted to start a rock band. This was despite the fact that he was not yet a guitar expert.
Toru asked his childhood friend and fellow former HEADS member, Ryota Kohama, to learn the bass. He also asked their upperclassman, Alex Onizawa, who was much more experienced than the both of them, to join them as their lead guitarist.
For drums, he asked his classmate Yû Koyanagi to join. The final missing piece was a vocalist.
Takahiro Moriuchi, who was performing with another local band called Chivalry of Music, caught Toru's interest. And despite being initially rejected, Toru managed to convince Taka to join his band.
Once all the pieces were completed, One Ok Rock started recording indie releases which attracted a major record label. After just two years, they were ready to release their debut album.
After more than a decade of hard work and trials and tribulations, One Ok Rock has managed to be one of Japan's biggest bands and a successful international band.
As for the band's name, its origin is quite quirky. The band used to practice every one o'clock in the afternoon. And since Japanese rock bands loved using English names, the band decided to name themselves after their practice schedule.
Is One Ok Rock Popular In Japan?
Before their international debut, One Ok Rock reached massive success in Japan. Concerts such as Nippon Budokan in 2010, Mighty Long Fall Yokohama in 2014, the Jinsei×Kimi= Tour in 2013, Ambitions Japan Tour in 2017, Eye of the Storm Japan Tour in 2019-2020, and many more arena shows have solidified their place as one of the country's top acts. And despite shifting their focus to the international market, One Ok Rock continues to hold their biggest shows in Japan.
In terms of album sales in Japan, most of their albums are either certified gold or platinum. Several live releases such as the 35xxxv and Ambitions Tour and Documentary reached number 1 in the Oricon Charts.
As for their albums, 35xxxv, Eye of the Storm (Japanese Release), and Ambitions all reached number 1 in the Japanese music charts. Previous releases such as Jinsei×Boku= and Zankyo Reference weren't far behind and reached number 2.
One Ok Rock Members
Toru is the guitarist and the leader of One Ok Rock. He is the band's founder and is responsible for keeping the group together no matter how tough the situation gets. He founded the band in 2005 together with his longtime friend, Ryota Kohama.
Throughout One Ok Rock's history, Toru has guided the band to success. He is known to be very strict, especially with practice time.
He is also known as a responsible person and used to update the band's blog. He is someone whom the other band members deeply respect.
Toru has considerably grown throughout his guitar journey. He initially started as the rhythm guitarist but later transitioned to lead guitarist when they became a four-piece band. His guitar work isn't over the top, but he can undoubtedly bust out some impressive guitar solos when the situation calls for it.
Also, Toru has an incredible guitar collection. He used a white Gibson Les Paul for most of his professional career. He later switched to PRS guitars during their international debut in 2014. Toru also uses other guitars such as a Taylor acoustic guitar, Gibson acoustic guitar, and a Fender Telecaster and Jazzmaster.
Toru has also worked on different projects outside of One Ok Rock. He has produced Milet's debut single "Inside You" and is a guest performer for her song "The Love That We've Made."
Takahiro “Taka” Moriuchi
Taka is the lead vocalist and lyricist of One Ok Rock. He is the son of famous Japanese singers Masako Mori and Shinichi Mori. Just like his parents, Taka was already singing at a professional level at a young age and was part of the boy band NEWS.
He made multiple appearances on TV shows and was already set to be a star. However, after his parents' divorce in 2002, he left his home and changed his last name from Moriuchi to Morita.
Eventually, Taka lost his predestined career. And as stated in interviews as well as their song "Hard To Love," he led a difficult life and could not even secure a decent job. However, this did not stop him from chasing his dreams.
He later dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music. Taka joined the band Chivalry of Music, which caught the attention of Toru Yamashita. Despite being reluctant at first, Taka eventually joined Toru to form One Ok Rock.
Taka's story is quite inspiring. He was able to reach success on his own terms. Despite having natural talent, it was his perseverance and hard work that made One Ok Rock successful.
Taka is best known for the versatility and power of his vocal performances. His voice is so unique that you can easily recognize him. Also, his singing style is very expressive and allows you to feel the messages of his songs no matter what language he is singing in.
Another key trait of Taka is his versatility. One Ok Rock has changed styles several times. But no matter what kind of music they played, Taka was always able to show up.
Also, Taka is highly considered to be one of the best live vocalists today. He is very consistent and is almost always able to perform better than his studio performances.
And lastly, he is someone who is always looking to improve. He wasn't fluent in English at the beginning of his career but was able to put in the time and effort which eventually allowed them to reach international fame. Taka is certainly someone that anyone can look up to.
One other fun fact is that Taka has a younger brother who is also a vocalist of a well-known Japanese band. His brother is Hiroki Moriuchi of My First Story.
Hiro looks very similar to Taka. He also shares the same vocal range and style as Taka. So if you are a big fan of Taka's voice, make sure to also check out Hiro and My First Story.
Tomoya is the band's drummer and is the oldest member of the group. He attended ESP Musical Academy and was a regular substitute for One Ok Rock before officially joining in 2007.
He was introduced to One Ok Rock by an instructor in ESP Musical Academy who knew the band. Their personalities and musical styles quickly gelled. When the band's former drummer Yû Koyanagi left in 2007, Tomoya officially joined and performed on their debut album.
Despite being the oldest member, Tomoya has childish looks, which is why Toru and Taka always bullied him. But despite this, he has remained close friends with the band. Tomoya is the first member to be married and was followed by Ryota.
Tomoya has constantly proven his skill on the drums. The power of his hits has been a core component of all of One Ok Rock's releases. He has also proven himself to be a versatile drummer who can adapt to any style.
At the beginning of their career, One Ok Rock had a more J-Rock sound. However, during the Niche Syndrome era, they adopted a heavier sound. This, of course, made the music more complex.
Tomoya was easily able to adjust by incorporating double bass drums into his arsenal. And even when One Ok Rock opted for a more western sound, Tomoya still incorporated his unique style into their songs.
Tomoya also helps make live performances more exciting by providing background vocals on some songs, such as Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer. Tomoya always has immense stage presence and plays DW Drums that matches their latest album.
Despite his mature looks, Ryota is the youngest member of One Ok Rock. He is the childhood friend of Toru and was also a member of the Hip-Hop group HEADS.
Ryota initially did not know how to play the bass guitar. In fact, he did not know how to play any instruments.
However, after being persuaded by Toru, he eventually learns the bass. And after hours of practicing, he was able to get to a decent level during One Ok Rock's debut.
Ryota is best known for his massive stage presence. He usually performs shirtless, which is meant to emulate the look of his idol, Flea from Red Hot Chili Pepper. He cites Flea to be his primary inspiration for his style and the reason why he picked up the bass.
Like the rest of the members of One Ok Rock, Ryota is a hardworking musician. Despite not being a natural-born musician, he was able to overcome and adapt to various situations. He even considered learning guitar when Alex left the band in 2009.
Ryota is one of the two members who are married (Tomoya being the other one). He is married to Avril Lavigne’s sister, Michelle Lavigne.
To add to his immense stage presence, Ryota plays different basses. Some of his most notable ones are his Warwick Streamer LX4 and LX5 basses. He also usually plays his custom-made LED bass, which always steals the show.
Former One Ok Rock Members
Alexander Reimon "Alex" Onizawa
Alex Onizawa was the original lead guitarist of the band. He attended the same high school as the rest of the original members and was older than the members of the time. Toru approached him because his guitar skills and overall musical skills were more advanced than any of the original members.
Alex played with the band from their debut album up until their 3rd album in 2009. Unfortunately, he was accused of groping a high school student. This was when One Ok Rock was finally gaining some recognition in the local Japanese music scene.
As soon as the news broke, Alex decided to leave the band. This ended One Ok Rock’s J-rock era and ushered a new beginning.
Yû "Tomo" Koyanagi
Yû Koyanagi was the band's original drummer. Like the rest of the original members, he was a high school classmate of Toru.
However, Yû could not commit as the band's official drummer since his real goal was to become a professional actor. He never performed in any studio albums and was only a member from 2005-2006. Tomoya later replaced him during the recording of the band's debut album.
Despite parting ways with One Ok Rock, Yuu remained close friends with all of the members and is often seen hanging out with them. Just like the members of One Ok Rock, Yû Koyanagi was able to have a successful acting career. For fans of manga and anime, he is well known for portraying Chad (Yasutora Sado) in the live-action adaptation of Bleach and Makoto Sugihara in Crows Zero.
One Ok Rock’s Friendship
Ever since their debut in 2007, the four core members of One Ok Rock have remained consistent. And in their long history, they only had two former members. This is because of how the members treat each other.
Taka, Toru, Tomoya, and Ryota all treat each other as family. They faced lots of challenges, got through hard times, and reached success together. And despite not being the best at their craft at one point in time, they chose to stick together and make the best music possible.
The three One Ok Rock Members have a tattoo of their names (TTR). The only person who does not have any tattoos is Toru, who claims that he is afraid of needles.
Can One Ok Rock Speak English?
One Ok Rock has been using both English and Japanese in their songs since 2010. And when they made their international debut, they wrote and performed full English songs. But since Japanese people aren't typically bilingual with English, fans are curious to know if the band can fluently speak English.
Taka has been learning English since 2013. This was because he wanted to become a better songwriter. Today, he can now effectively communicate in English and is the main person interviewed during One Ok Rock's international tours.
Toru is also known to be quite fluent in English. And while he rarely speaks, fans have noted how good his English accent is.
As for Tomoya and Ryota, both are not as good as Taka and Toru. Taka usually assists them during English interviews.
One Ok Rock Merch
In terms of merchandise, One Ok Rock's offerings are pretty standard. Like any other band, they offer T-shirts and other apparel based on the designs of their albums. There is also exclusive apparel that can only be purchased in their live shows and tours.
Apart from apparel and albums, you won't find any collector's items such as action figures, Funko Pops, special edition albums, etc. One Ok Rock does, however, offer a special item that allows them to interact more with their fans.
This special product is the Primal Footmark Photo Book Series that has been in publication since 2013. This photo book is released annually and documents the band's activities in that respective year. It not only shows high-quality shots of their shows but also gives you a glimpse into the band's everyday touring lives.
Additionally, purchasing Primal Footmark gives you access to a website that hosts tons of exclusive content. In a way, this is One Ok Rock's version of a Fanclub similar to idol groups such as Babymetal's The One Fan Club.
One Ok Rock in Anime, Games, and Movies
Despite their massive popularity in Japan, One Ok Rock has never done any opening or ending songs for anime. The only anime-related project they did was with the video game Black Rock Shooter which used the song "No Scared."
One Ok Rock has also provided theme songs for other video games. The most notable one is the Japanese release of the Devil May Cry (DMC) Remake developed by Ninja Theory which used the song "Nothing Helps."
However, One Ok Rock's best-known collaboration is with movies. One Ok Rock provided the theme song for all five movies in the Rurouni Kenshin Live-Action Series.
These movies were incredibly successful and were approved by both casual viewers and fans of the manga and anime. The success of the series also helped introduce One Ok Rock to a global audience.
The first movie released in 2012 used the song "The Beginning." Its sequel, Kyoto Inferno, used "Mighty Long Fall." The third movie, The Legend Ends, used "Heartache." The Final used "Renegades." And lastly, The Beginning uses One Ok Rock's latest song, "Broken Heart of Gold."
Why Did One Ok Rock Change Their Style?
When One Ok Rock made their international debut back in 2014, fans noticed a shift in their musical style. They were slowly but surely sounding more like western bands. It was first seen in 35xxxv and became more apparent with Ambitions and Eye of the Storm.
The majority of their original fans were greatly disappointed because it felt as if One Ok Rock abandoned their unique musical style. However, you need to understand that this is not the first time that One Ok Rock changed their sound.
At the beginning of their career, One Ok Rock had a J-Rock sound that was very similar to other acts at the time. But when they transitioned to a four-man unit, that's when they started sounding heavier and incorporated more English lines into their songs.
Their experimentation with a new style should not come as a surprise since One Ok Rock is a dynamic band that does not wish to sound the same. Also, fans should not worry since they will still perform their signature songs in their live concerts. Also, they still have the same high energy and passion that you know and love.
Additionally, One Ok Rock often reinterprets and rearranges their newer songs in their live releases. And in a way, this allows their newer songs to have a similar style to their older releases.
One Ok Rock Albums
At the time of writing this article, One Ok Rock has a total of nine studio albums. With so many songs, it might be difficult for newcomers to know where to start. Here is our recommended way of listening to One Ok Rock’s extensive discography:
This album is, without a doubt, One Ok Rock's magnum opus. It is the release that catapulted them straight to the international market.
It has lots of great hits such as "The Beginning," "Clock Strikes," "Deeper Deeper," and many more. Additionally, this album best showcases One Ok Rock's unique blend of Japanese and Western musical styles.
Niche Syndrome is the first album that was released under the new four-man formation of One Ok Rock. It introduced the band’s now-iconic musical style.
This album has a lot of staple One Ok Rock songs that are played in almost every show. The highlights of this album include “Wherever You Are,” “Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer,” and “Nobody’s Home.”
Zankyo Reference is the follow-up to Niche Syndrome. It is considered a more refined version of their previous album and has many great songs that are still performed in live shows. Highlights of this album include “No Scared”, “C.h.a.o.s.m.y.t.h.”, and “Re:make”.
35xxxv is the follow-up to Jinsei×Boku= and is One Ok Rock's international debut album. It also has incredibly powerful songs such as "Heartache" and "Mighty Long Fall."
However, it is very much noticeable that this album has a lot of foreign influences. But despite the noticeable change in style, 35xxxv finally landed the band's first number 1 spot in the Japanese music charts.
Ambitions is One Ok Rock's first unique release. In a lot of ways, it abandons One Ok Rock’s iconic sound and replaces it with a more modern Western sound. Despite the shift, there are still plenty of great songs here, such as “We Are,” “Taking Off,” and “Take What You Want.”
One Ok Rock's debut album sounds completely different from the five albums we talked about so far. It sounds more raw and energetic compared to their later releases, which sound more refined.
This is still a great album and features elements we no longer see, such as Toru’s rapping in the song “Yume Yume.” We recommend listening to this album after you have gone through One Ok Rock's core releases to better appreciate how much the group has grown.
Beam of Light and Kanjo Effect
One Ok Rock's second and third albums are very similar to their debut release. These albums seem to serve more of an extension to their first release rather than a true follow-up. There are still gems here, such as "Living Dolls," but is overall not as impressive as their other releases.
Eye of the Storm
Eye of the Storm is One Ok Rock's latest release. It has some great songs such as "Stand Out Fit In" and "Change." However, for a lot of fans, Eye of the Storm doesn't live up to the incredibly high standards that were set by their previous albums. Nevertheless, it is still worth a listen for One Ok Rock fans.
One Ok Rock Songs
If you enjoy listening to individual songs rather than full-length albums, then here are our top recommended songs to get into One Ok Rock:
- The Beginning
- Mighty Long Fall
- Wherever You Are
- Clock Strikes
- Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer
One Ok Rock Collaborations
Throughout the years, One Ok Rock has collaborated with both Japanese and international artists. Some of their most famous collaborations are with Avril Lavigne in the song "Listen," Five Seconds of Summer in the song "Take What You Want," Against the Current in the Song "Dreaming Alone," Simple Plan in the Japanese Release of "Summer Paradise," and Ed Sheeran in the song "Renegades."
For Japanese artists, One Ok Rock has worked with Aimer in the songs "Kataomoi" and "Insane Dream," Take Money for My Pain in the tribute song "Voice," and RADWIMPS in the song "IKIJIBIKI" and "By My Side" (RADWIMPS is best known for providing the soundtracks for the movies "Your Name" and "Weathering With You").
How Long Is a One Ok Rock Concert?
One Ok Rock's concerts usually last about 75 minutes. The setlist depends on the current album tour.
However, based on their Ambitions Tour and Eye of the Storm Tour, One Ok Rock still plays a lot of material from their previous releases. Signature One Ok Rock songs such as “The Beginning,” “Clock Strikes,” “Mighty Long Fall,” and “Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer” can still be expected in many of their newer shows.
How Much Are One Ok Rock Tickets?
One Ok Rock’s concert tickets depend on where you live. For USA Tours, average ticket prices range from 50 to 100 USD.
For Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, tickets range from 57 USD to 173 USD. For Japan Arenas, average ticket prices are around 7500 JPY.