We’re now at the final chapter of the Jun Togawa saga of this series and we’ll now be tackling the backup band that became another one of her own units: YAPOOS.
Context: Formed during the wake of Princess Tama’s release as well as with the suspension of Guernica’s activities, the band that was originally named Jun Togawa and YAPOOS, was formed together with former HALMENS drummer Toshiro Izumi and other musicians who themselves came from the Japanese indie scene at the time like Nobuo Nakahara who was the bassist for the band Portable Rock, Kinniku Shoujo-tai guitarist Norihiro “BERA” Ishizuka, and drummer Atsunobu Yakabe who came from the New Wave band Pink.
The band made their first release as “Jun Togawa and YAPOOS” with the live album aptly named Ura Tamahime (Live Princess Tama) which contained songs from the then newly-released Princess Tama album as well as some HALMENS covers.
Said album was recorded at Laforet Museum Harajuku on February 19th, 1984 to promote the Princess Tama album.
The band would then do live performances from 1985-1986 culminating in a VHS release of all their live performances during that time period. This would also be the last time that the band will be named “Jun Togawa and YAPOOS” as by 1987, it would morph into a full-fledged band with Togawa on vocals.
1987 would also be the same year that they would release their first single as a full-fledged rock band, the weirdly named “Barbara Sexeroid”. A song that talks about being a sex robot in some dystopian Japanese future that only Togawa can conjure up in her own mind.
The single was released together with the band’s first album YAPOOS Keikaku (YAPOOS’ plan) which contained other hits like “Kiss wo” and “Nikuya no youni“. This would also make them the poster child of the ero-guro movement. Don’t google that at work.
The second album, Dai Tenshi no Youni (Like An Archangel) was then released in September of 1988 and this was the highest ranking YAPOOS album on the Oricon charts (number 36 for a month compared to YAPOOS Keikaku which only lasted for a week at number 75). Unlike Keikaku however, Dai Tenshi was more guitar riff-laden than the synth-heavy predecessor.
The 1990s would be a decade of slight changes for the band as there will be a change in styles in their albums (both lyrically and musically). Starting from the 1991 album Dial Y which was based on Togawa’s love for spy movies.
1992 would see the band’s most diverse album yet in terms of music. Dadada ism would have Susumu Hirasawa of P-MODEL and Berserk 1997 fame help them with the album, providing music tracks for two songs: Virus and Condor Gaton Dekiru.
The last studio album to be relased under the YAPOOS name was HYS (pronounced as his as in the first part of the word hysteria) which was then released in 1995. HYS would be a return to Dial Y‘s subject matter although this time it would be under the mind of the criminal. It is also some sort of a return to YAPOOS Keikaku‘s sound, not as piercing as Dadada ism but not much leaning into guitar rich rock like Dai tenshi.
The band would then go on and be a live studio band in the years to come releasing a mini album here or there with their latest release being in 2020 aptly titled “Suspicious behavior of Yapoos the 1st year of Reiwa era” which you can listen to on YouTube music.
Now it’s time to list the top tracks that I would recommend to new YAPOOS listeners.
Men’s Junan – Don’t let the beat fool you, this is a song about a stalker who follows her lover everywhere and I mean everywhere.
Pat Spellman at Boshi/Juusei did a translation of this song and commented that Togawa is more straightforward with this song that her usual standard fare. This is also one of the few singles YAPOOS ever released in their lifetime as a band.
Not Dead Luna – For those who love Suki Suki Daisuki and understood the subject matter behind it, I present to you Not Dead Luna. From the Dadada ism album, it talks about a failed attempt at suicide after a break up of some sort.
Yeah, this song is not for everybody as it talks about commiting seppuku.
Uchuu Shikan Kouhousei (Space Cadet) – One of my favorites from their first album, it’s a throwback to the APOGEE and PERIGEE days wherein a space cadet longs for her lover on the other side of the cosmos.
What made me love this song is the synth sound that, again, reminds me of that APOGEE and PERIGEE album plus the radio effects at the end especially at the end of the song wherein someone just says “END. TRANSMISSION”.
Is it worth it to collect the whole YAPOOS discography – YES! I would higly recommend YAPOOS to anybody who wanted to start their Jun Togawa collection as, in my opinion, the strongest out of her works. I recommend to start at the first album then work all the way though HYS. You can then move on to their live performances, especially their 1985-1986 tours to get acquainted with Jun’s solo works.
Whew! I am finally done with this three parter. I might do something like this again in the future but for now, I’ll take a rest and see if I can cover OtaCute’s July Cosplay Festival (and get ready for the fifth installment of YouTuber Spotlight wherein we will take on YouTube archivists).
I would really like to thank the following sites for the trove of Togawa related information translated in English: