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Tokio

Standing apart from many of the Japanese boy bands by virtue of their instrumental abilities, Tokio appeared in 1994 as part of the hit factory known as Johnny's and Associates. The group provided theme music for a long list of television dramas and anime shows over the years, developing a fan base with a pop format closer to American power pop than to the ultra-saccharine J-pop that dominated the Japanese airwaves (though they walked the line between the two at times). In another departure from J-pop, the band is not given to choreography (likely a side effect of the members actually playing their instruments). Their 2006 single "Sorafune" became their largest hit to date, despite their popularity over the previous decade in the industry prior. Theme songs have remained the group's bread and butter over the years. Singles have been picked up for use by the bullet train authority and by the Japanese contingent to the FIFA tournaments. The members have individually made long appearances in various movies, television shows, and ventured into solo musical outings. They have even supplied vocals for various animated features. Tokio has remained embedded in the mainstream consciousness, and hovers on the high end of the charts as a result. 2008's Sugar peaked at number six on the Oricon charts, keeping the group in the spotlight, though perhaps at a lower level than some of their Johnny's stablemates. ~ Adam Greenberg
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