Koichi Korenaga



Koichi Korenaga
Born: December 25, 1961
Composer: Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, The Legend of Black Heaven, Love Hina, etc.
Arranger: BGCT2040 songs, Aiko Nakano's "Rosa", FJ Keiko's "Synchronicity", etc.
Producer: Unlimits, ONE OK ROCK, etc.
Guitarist: FJ, FJ YUUKA, Saeko Chiba, See-Saw, Kalafina, Yuki Kajiura, etc.
Twitter: KORE1225
Nickname: Korechan (コレちゃん)
...He began his career in 1985 at age 24, becoming a part-time guitarist for the pop band Rebecca; although always credited as a "support musician", he played for them in recordings and concerts until their breakup six years later in 1991.

...After Rebecca's breakup, he and other ex-Rebecca members Noriyuki Takahashi (bass) and Yutaka Odawara (drums) formed the group BABY'S BREATH together with singer/guitarist Manabu Miyahara and keyboardist Toshifumi Shibata. They released two albums in 1991, both of which included one song he composed. Although they have apparently not dissolved, they perform rarely due to the members' involvements in other projects.

...In late 1993, he joined the backing band for pop/rock singer Takashi Utsunomiya. He was featured in three of Utsunomiya's music videos (Trouble in Heaven, Dance Dance Dance, and Innocent Blue), and performed in concerts and several TV lives, but left the band before Utsunomiya's next major concert in 1996.

...In 1998, he wrote the soundtrack of the anime Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040; in 1999, the soundtrack of the anime The Legend of Black Heaven; and in 2000, the soundtrack of the anime Love Hina. Working with fellow musician Ryo Sakai under the name '4Peace', he composed the soundtrack for the anime Maburaho in 2003. The soundtracks have normally received positive reviews: AnimeNewsNetwork.com reviews cited the "thumpin' soundtrack" as one of Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040's pluses, calling it "the best thing about [the show]"; described the soundtrack of Love Hina as "cute and emotional" as well as "pleasant"; and called Maburaho's soundtrack "remarkable at times" (though also "synthesized light pop at its most mediocre").

...At an unknown date, most likely sometime between 1999 and 2001, he joined the band JUNGAPOP, which had previously released two albums as a trio. It is currently a five-person unit, comprised of Korenaga, singer/guitarist Ippei Onoe, bassist Tomoharu "Jr" Takahashi (no relation to Rebecca's bassist), drummer Ryoji Sakaguchi, and keyboardist Hitoshi Minowa. As this unit, JUNGAPOP released a third album in 2003 and, according to Jr's official blog, the members are currently working on another.

...In 2009, he and other ex-Rebecca musicians - Noriyuki Takahashi, Odawara, Obawo Nakajima (percussion), and Akio Dobashi (keyboard) - formed a group called FIVE JAM, which as its name implies is a casual unit. However, they have not performed together more than twice.

...He began work as an arranger in the early 1990s; his earliest known arrangement work was for Ruriko Kuboh's single "Otoko". He has since arranged songs for various artists, including Savage Genius and Yuki Kajiura, as well as re-arranging several vocal insert songs for the Bubblegum Crisis Collector's File 1999 release. Also, he has arranged/co-arranged a total of 17 songs for the group ONE OK ROCK. As a producer, he has worked with ONE OK ROCK and Unlimits, producing the former's single "Re:make/No Scared" and seven songs from Unlimits' album "Tranquilizer".

...Currently, he mainly performs in recordings and lives for Yuki Kajiura, but also participates in various live sessions around Tokyo and works for other artists.


I'm an endless fan of this guy, as I'm sure mostly everyone knows. In my opinion, there's no guitarist in Japan or the rest of the world who can measure up to him.

So basically, this thread is for the Korechan fandom - his performances, his singing, his tweets, his OSTs and arrangements. Anything positive related to Korechan goes here!
I'll be posting a short list of his best Youtube videos and such soon~ :sparkleguy:
^ Wait...you mean everyone was waiting for me to do it? :white:
^ Oh that's neat! :dote: Well you were the first fan of him around so you were diserving to be the one to make the thread.

Must admit, I half-expected to see your treatise instead of a factual post LOL
ninetales said:
Koichi Korenaga
Arranger: BGCT2040 songs, Aiko Nakano's "Rosa", FJ Keiko's "Synchronicity", etc.

Please rearrange more songs!
Yep. I knew I could count on a fellow fan! :plot:

I'm a self-confessed guitar geek and I have to say he's a brilliant musician. Not just because of his own playing style but also because of the fact that his playing fits into the arrangements of the songs...none of that 'lead guitarist syndrome' where the musician's ego gets the better of him. He gets those little moments in the limelight - remember the foot-on-the-monitor solo in the FJ anniversary performance of Salva Nos? :XD: - but his work with Kajiura is that of a talented guy working hard on stage *as part of the band*.

I'm not sure where his influences come from, so if anyone has interviews where he talks about that stuff I'd really like to read them. He does some really cool bluesy jams but it also sounds like it's in the style of the 80s virtuoso players like Joe Satriani too...the solo in Kalafina's Destination Unknown is every bit as good as what Kirk Hammett's done with Metallica btw.

Honestly, there are some really good players out there who don't get as much credit as the more well-known ones, just because they're not on mainstream TV and radio...Korenaga-sensei's a case in point.

I'm going to leave it there before I start going through Google Images to find out what guitars and amps he uses... :uh..:
^ +1 :goodjob:

And on that exact note, here's my aforementioned treatise. Slight fangirling ahead~

Why I like Korechan!

Let's get the trivial reasons out of the way first, shall we?

1. He's good-looking. As aesthetic as this is, it certainly helps when you're watching him. And what's more, he's always been good-looking. In his 20s he was utterly adorable, in his 30s he was smoking hot, in his 40s he was handsome, and he seems to be carrying on the tradition in his 50s now.

2. He puts on a visual performance you wouldn't believe, every single time. If he hits a certain note or runs through a certain melody, you can be sure that his face will reflect the mood he's creating. I've seen him look arrogant, pained, happy or even lost in thought, and all those expressions help to create an atmosphere around him.
a. Add to that the way he moves on stage; whether it's dropping to his knees, doing a random high kick, spinning around, or even just taking a step or two backwards, he's done it.
b. He also holds his guitar like it's an extension of his body, but never moving it unless doing so would fit into his performance. Compare this to that guitarist Yuki who performed in Kala's Progressive tour - the guy had to hold his guitar straight up every time he played a solo, which in my opinion resulted in him struggling to get anything out. Korechan never does this except in certain situations, and it works.

3. He seems to be a reasonably nice guy. Take, for example, when I've asked him questions now and again on Twitter. Back in the day I used to just ask whenever he was tweeting, which wasn't the best idea - once he apparently didn't have time and tweeted back "no more questions please". After I stopped feeling like an idiot (although I still want to crawl into a deep hole whenever I think of that), I started to realize that this was polite.
In contrast, take Nozaki Morio, who sells his own CDs and T-shirts, and has consistently ignored every email I've sent to try ordering anything. Korechan could very easily have started ignoring everything I asked him, but since then he's answered me at least twice with messages amounting to "sorry, I'm busy so I can't answer you". To me, that says he's a nice guy.

Now, on to the more important stuff - his guitar playing.

1. First and foremost, the sound of his guitar is unparalleled no matter which one he uses - even acoustics. When you listen to the full Hello live with Korechan and two other guitarists, his solo is easily recognizable just because of the rich, full, jazzy tone, which fits the song unbelievably better than the two other guitarists' more trebly, "hard rock" sounds.
This extends to any (and I mean ANY out of everything I've heard) song he plays in. No matter what style he's playing, you can be sure that his guitar will have the most pleasant (or headbanging) sound possible.

2. And that brings me to his endless amount of playing styles. He can play rock, hard rock, jazz, and acoustic, each with the same amount of detail and emotion. Take D.U. or E.G.O., in which he blasts away without stopping for a good minute; or take Inca Rose or Amai Yuuwaku, in which he wanders through a softer jazzy solo; or take Wednesday Morning, in which he provides an almost nostalgic-sounding background to the song. Outside the Kajiura lineup, we've got his happy and Southern-sounding Hick It Up, his bluesy and mournful I've Tried, and his absolutely lovely acoustic Though I Have To Leave Soon.

3. And that, in turn, brings me to his sense of place, so to speak. In explaining this, I'll compare Korechan to Niikun of girugamesh. Now, giru is mainly a metal-rock band with hints of pop, so they don't have many ballads aside from the melodramatic Saikai. But when you listen to Niikun's solo there, it's basically the same as any of his other solos - loud and a tad whiny. Compare this to any of the ballad-style songs that Korechan's played in: in Emerald Green or Mune no Yukue he played somewhat '90s-esque solos, in Lirica his style was bold and deep, in Sajin no Kanata e live it was almost jaunty and joyful, in Utsukushisa he filled his solo with something undeniably tragic and epic...in short, he changes the mood of his playing depending on the mood of the song, not just its tempo. For upbeat examples, just listen to the difference between the solos in E.G.O., Frenetic and Magnolia - the first is a truck with no brakes, the second is smooth and dangerous, and the third is exotic and just plain joyful.

4. Lastly are all the little things he adds to his performance. I've actually got names for all of them, believe it or not...
a. The trills - running back and forth between two close-together notes for a while
b. The rolling chords - going through four notes of a chord quickly, while alternating between chords
c. The inflections - quickly whipping his hand up and down the fretboard to make the slightest effect in between notes
d. The diesel engine - can't be described as anything but a roar, like the beginning of his Salva Nos Vol. 4 solo
e. The humming - using the volume control to cut off the beginning of a note, "fading" it in gradually instead
Naturally, he uses these to perfection in anything he plays. Trills and rolling chords are a basic part of his repertoire, used in a lot of long improvised solos; inflections can be fit in almost anywhere, but I've noticed that he only uses them when there's enough time to fit them in properly; the diesel engine is reserved for the most powerful performances; and the humming is reserved for the most gentle.
So, this is the thread you talked about :ohoho: Yes, I like Korenaga a lot; he deserves a place in my sign basically because of what Niney and Martin already said: his musicality, which can adapt to different styles and moods, and deliver beautiful solos and accompaniments, fitting the songs precisely. As Martin said, he doesn't let his ego take over; I commented to him and Niney before how I like his melodic style, like the solo of Toki no Mukou, the ending melodies of stone cold, and nearly anything I can recall right now - even the solo of a rocking tune like Ongaku, where he starts with a melody line and heat things up gradually, whereas other guitarists would just shower notes around like kids with machine guns. And I also like double-stops (playing two or more notes together) hell a lot, and he uses them greatly. I don't think I know even 5% of his work that can be heard around, but I already like him a lot.

The diesel engine
That is called a dive bomb - but "The Diesel Engine" is a name ten times better!! :goodjob: And indeed, that on vol.#4 was one of the best guitar roars I ever heard. Sounded really like :glower:

And it's quite funny (in a good way) to see Niney talking about things like guitar tone and techniques like a guitar geek, when she admits that Korenaga is the only guitar player she likes. Just shows how big this love is :goodjob: :XD:
Hi ninetales, could you post some links to clips or just reference particular recordings or YK lives that highlight the best of Koichi Kernaga's performances?
HAHA count me in those who were silently waiting for Niney making such a thread :ohoho:
Agreed on the distinctive-ness of his playing...after a while you start to spot what songs he plays on. It says a lot when you can recognise a musician's playing like that! I went back and listened to the Fiction II album again earlier today, and his style is all over it. E.G.O. is breathless and almost techno; and yet on the Kalafina tracks like Aria he does all these fast tapping/trills (not sure which unless I see a vid of it) and jumps up and down the fretboard. I wasn't sure if he uses a whammy or some other pitch-shifting effects pedal on Magnolia but nope...that's probably just pure speed and skill. :blood:

Then again, the guitar parts on, say, Sandpiper, Hikari no Senritsu or Te to Te to Me to Me are folk-y or take on an exotic vibe. Taking those, the synthpop, rock-y and the blues/jazz stuff he does with other artists, is there any style of guitar music that this guy doesn't do? :swt:

While I'm on the subject of Fiction II: the album version of the Image Theme from Xenosaga II is a good example of how Korenaga-sensei works his guitar part so well into the context of the arrangement. There are palm-muted chords early on during the vocal parts to ramp up the tension, but it's mostly the lyrics that drive those parts of the song. It's when the vocals drop out that he lets a solo fly...it's a great version of the tune, but the guitar track really enhances it (all the vids on YT are of a different version, sadly).

george1234 said:
^ Yes it was him. :)
Ah, now I remember: When 'Everlasting Songs' was released, after reading Yuki's comments on the album in the translation of her blog post I thought the arranger of 'synchronicity' was female because I didn't know his name back then & 'Koichi' sounded female to me..no offense though :bow:

Kerahna said:
omg i just heard him sing from that link in the vol 9 thread and woooowwww :nosebleed:
Wasn't that just a guitarXpiano duet between him and Yuki..!?! :fwa:

AAAAAnd..HE'S IN HIS 50S!?!?! :omg:
I can't believe that he's in his 50s!!!! He looks like if he's in his 40s at most!!!