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Hokkaido, Japan (1994 – 2004)

Whiteberry were a five-piece all-girl pop/rock band from Hokkaido, Japan. Although not reaching more than cult status outside of their native country (many American J-pop fans consider them to be a cross between punk pioneers The Ramones and R&B superstars TLC), the group gained a loyal following with their recordings and live performances.

The band - vocalist Yuki Maeda, guitarist Aya Inatsuki, bassist Yukari Hasegawa, keyboardist Rimi Mizusawa, and drummer Erika Kawamura - formed in 1994 while the members - all lifelong friends, while Maeda and Kawamura were also cousins - were just starting junior high school. A few years and a string of local performances later, the group came to the notice of members of popular Japanese rock band JUDY AND MARY and were offered a recording deal with Sony Japan’s Pop Artist imprint in 1999.

The group, still in high school at the time, recorded and released their first EP after school, which they quickly followed up with several singles, all original material with the exception of their fourth, a cover of the Jitterin’ Jinn hit “Natsumatsuri”. The single became the band’s most popular number and is now more identified with them than with the original group. Capitalizing on the momentum, the group completed and released their debut full-length album, “hatsu”.

After a fifth single, “Akubi” (a rearranged new recording of a song from their EP), the group divided their time between completing their high school education and working on the follow up album, “Chameleon”.


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