Active since 2011, it took a while for vocalist / guitarist Juko Suzuki and vocalist / bassist Misaki Fujiwara to get recognised in Asia’s metal scene. Nowadays however, it’s safe to say that the band has a massive global following online, evident by the 1.2 million views (October 2018) garnered by their music video Tenohira de odoru. Meanwhile, their latest video "re:program" was able to gain 150,000 views in just a matter of months. Further proof of Sokoninaru’s global fame is the fact that they also recently officially launched their own English website, a major step in the band’s efforts to appeal to overseas audiences. And seeing as Sokoninaru is now slated for a major European tour early next year, they’re bound to attract more fans of rock, metal, and good old melodic chaos.
During the last decade, Japanese culture has exploded in the UK. This is highly apparent in the UK’s wide array of Japanese-influenced media, including TV, film, music, and even online gaming. On the BBC, "The Art of Japanese Life" prompts audiences to join Dr. James Fox in examining the intricacies of Japanese art and culture.
Another reason of this desire for more Japanese culture is the increasing number of digital media dedicated to the country. The Japanese gaming industry is one of the biggest in the world, and its games consoles and titles dominant markets across the globe. The response to this has been that modern digital companies are now trying to tap into these growing markets to find new audiences. Online Asian games provider Expatbets has a dedicated Japanese slot game called "Sakura Fortune" that combines two parts of Japan’s heritage, the lone warrior and the cherry blossom, both of which attract millions of visitors each year. Japanese-inspired entertainment has become so big that a lot of people’s first contact with Japan’s culture is through these games, which then leads them on to discover more about the country. The European tour of Sokoninaru is a sign that western audiences are a part of this growing interest, and that music fans are seeking out more obscure parts of Japanese culture to find new and exciting talent.
All of these factors will combine to give Sokoninaru an unusually warm welcome in cold, wet London on February 2019. In a way, it can be said that, one of the greatest proponents of modern metal will be bringing metal back home to the UK.
Words: Madison Scott