The Blue Hearts (ザ・ブルーハーツ, Za Burū Hātsu?) was a popular Japanese punk rock band that performed from the latter half of the 1980s to the early half of the 1990s. The have been compared to such bands as the Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Ramones. In 2004, The Blue Hearts were named by HMV as the 19th most successful and influential Japanese music group.
Its members were Hiroto Kōmoto (vocalist), Masatoshi Mashima (guitarist), Junnosuke Kawaguchi (bassist) and Tetsuya Kajiwara (drummer). Mikio Shirai was not an official member of the band, but often toured with them as their keyboardist. Formed in 1985, the group made its major debut in May 1987, and released its first album, the self-titled The Blue Hearts, and followed that up with seven more albums. Though they started on an independent label, each album sold more copies than the previous one, with their last recording selling in the millions.
In addition to having popular albums, they also had many popular singles. The two most well-known are "Train-Train" and "Linda Linda", which can be found on many karaoke machines. A cover version of "Linda Linda" was used in the 2004 dramas Socrates in Love and Gachi Baka, as well as the 2005 film Linda Linda Linda, the plot of which centers on a high school girls' band practicing The Blue Hearts' songs for a school concert. The song also appears in the 2005 Nintendo DS video game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan,. Other songs, including "Train-Train", "Owaranai Uta" and "Hito ni Yasashiku", have been featured in the Konami arcade games Drummania and Guitar Freaks.
They were seen as controversial in Japan, where antics such as using the Japanese word for crazy, an expletive in their culture, and spitting in television cameras got them banned from TV for a year.
After The Blue Hearts broke up in 1995, Kōmoto and Mashima joined together with three new band members to form a new group, The High-Lows. The new band's lyrics were less likely to be social commentaries, as they tended to be on the surreal side. In addition to retaining the hard core fans of The Blue Hearts, The High-Lows were also able to attract new fans and lasted another ten years. After The High-Lows broke up in 2005, Kōmoto and Mashima again formed a new band in 2006, this time calling themselves The Cro-Magnons.
After the break up of The Blue Hearts, both Kōmoto and Mashima chose not to sing any of the bands songs, with few exceptions. Kōmoto has sung "Boku no Migite" while performing live concerts with other artists and Mashima has performed "Aozora" at some concerts, too.