Scandal (stylized SCANDAL) is a Japanese pop group. Proclaiming themselves as “The Most Powerful Japanese Girlie Pop Rock”, they are composed of four high school girls from Osaka, Japan: Haruna Ono, Tomomi Ogawa, Mami Sasazaki, and Rina Suzuki. Scandal is very energetic, mostly due to the fact that Ono, the eldest and leader of the band, shares lead vocals with the other three members, in order to not have a focus on one girl in particular and to give each time in the limelight.
The four girls came together as music-loving high school friends to form Scandal, and decided to write and play their own songs while juggling their regular school lives. As time went on, the group started to get offers from clubs and music halls around Osaka and Kyoto.
Eventually, over one hundred fans began to consistently attend the live performances Scandal performed on Tokyo’s streets and in Shiroten, Osaka, causing the band to become noticed more in the eyes of the Japanese public. In August 2007, Scandal seized the opportunity to participate in a special event at Shibuya Club Asia, a highly recognized and respected club in Shibuya. It was during this time that record label Kitty Records (a subsidiary of Kitty Films) first asked the four girls if they would like to have their music recorded with them. Several months later, the girls had worked out a flexible independent agreement with Kitty in partnership with Tower Records, and SCANDAL started to become more mainstream.
Their first indie single was released on March 3, 2008 in celebration of Girl’s Day, which, despite being ranked second on Tower Record’s “Indies Weekly Chart”, sold out throughout Japan and had a hard time being kept in stock due to high demand. In an attempt to alleviate the fan’s troubles in getting this album, the single was released on both the US and Japanese iTunes Music Store on April 9, 2008. Two more singles (in CD form) were released in the months following, both being ranked number 1 on the “Indies Weekly Chart”.
Right after their first release, Scandal left Japan to go on their first international tour, “Japan Nite US Tour 2008″, followed by two concerts at the Japanese cultural and anime convention, “Sakura-Con 2008″ from March 16 to March 30.
Scandal’s music has been featured in a range of popular media: their first single, “Space Ranger”, is the opening to Kyoto Sports Weekly, and their second single, “Koi Moyō” is the main theme of the movie Corazon de Melon. Their song, “Start”, is the theme song for Star Ocean: Second Evolution and is available on the game’s soundtrack. More recently, “Daydream” was featured on a tribute album to the classic multi-genre Japanese band, Judy and Mary, and their song “Shōjo S” is the tenth opening of the anime series “Bleach”
They have also been featured in commercials, promoting a line of Cecil McBee cosmetics, for Nike, featuring four different colors of their footwear, and were chosen to represent Pocari Sweat in posters and in the promotional video for their song “BEAUTeen!” as part of their summer 2009 campaign.
An interesting note about the group is the unique way in which they chose to promote themselves. Since they are fans of Japanese animation and manga, they wanted to be represented in animated form, turning each member into an animated character. The animated SCANDAL is featured on Japanese Television, and a series of promotional videos on the band’s website.
In early September 2008, Scandal began talks with the head of Sony Music Japan due to the fact that with Kitty, their CDs were made in very limited quantities which caused them to sell out quickly. They soon worked out a contract with Sony, who signed them on to their Epic Records label, and the group moved away from the indie music scene. However, due to Sony’s ongoing disagreements with Apple Inc. over their iTunes Music Store and Sony’s own Mora, the band’s music which was formerly available on iTunes, was quickly removed from both the US and Japanese iTunes stores. Scandal will release their first full album in Japan on October 21, 2009.