Ringo Sheena at the 2016 Space Shower Music Video Awards.
November 25, 1978
Urawa, Saitama, Japan
Yumiko Shiina (椎名 裕美子 Shiina Yumiko, born November 25, 1978), known by her stage name Ringo Sheena[Note 1] (椎名 林檎 Shiina Ringo), is a Japanese singer, songwriter and musician. She was also the founder and lead vocalist of the band Tokyo Jihen.
Sheena was born with an esophageal atresia in which the esophagus narrows as it approaches the stomach. Treatment of this involved several operations, at least one of which required her right shoulder blade to be cut open. These surgeries left Sheena with large scars on her shoulder blades, said to give the impression that an angel's wings had been removed.
Sheena released her first official single "Kōfukuron" in May 1998, when she was 19 years old. She subsequently made singles "Kabukichō no Joō" and "Koko de Kiss Shite", the latter becoming her first hit.
This was followed by the release of her first album, Muzai Moratorium, in February 1999. The album was a major hit. "Gips" was due to be the next single, but when Sheena had to cancel recording due to illness, "Honnō" was released as the fourth single instead. Shina chose a hospital as the setting for the music video for "Honnō".
Sheena had initially indicated that she would retire as "Sheena Ringo" when she had released three albums. At the time the second album was released, she was among the top three Japanese female artists, along with Hikaru Utada and Ayumi Hamasaki, in terms of popularity and annual income. However, she was uncomfortable with being regarded as an icon, and wanted her career to branch out more from the mainstream. When she began to produce her third album under the tentative title "Fushigi, Waizatsu, Ekisentorikku (不思議・猥雑・エキセントリック Wonder, Vulgar, Eccentric)" she intended to make it her last solo album.
She released the single "Mayonaka wa Junketsu" in March 2001, with the intention of including it on a third album. The music video was created in a retro-anime style that depicted Ringo as a sort of mid-'60s spy movie heroine. In 2002, she released a two-disc multilingual cover album Utaite Myōri: Sono Ichi. Since she felt that a cover album did not count as a bona fide album, she began to work on her third original album.
Towards the conclusion of her solo career, she released her final solo single, "Ringo no Uta" ("Apple's Song"), which was adopted by the national children's song TV program Minna no Uta. This song had a summation of her career, and the music video included references to all of her previous videos.
In 2004, Sheena undertook the role of music director for the stage play KKP (Kentaro Kobayashi Produce) #004 Lens,[Note 3] which is based on the story of her short film Tanpen Kinema Hyaku-Iro Megane.
On May 31, 2004, Sheena formed a band called Tokyo Jihen (東京事変 Tōkyō Jihen, "The Tokyo Incidents"). The band was first introduced in Sheena's Sugoroku Ecstasy tour and is featured on Sheena's Electric Mole DVD.
The original lineup of Tokyo Jihen was Ringo Sheena (vocals, guitar, melodica); Mikio Hirama (ヒラマミキオ Hirama Mikio, also known as Mikki) (guitar, backing vocals); Seiji Kameda (亀田誠治 Kameda Seiji) (bass guitar); H Zett M (H是都M HZM), also known as Masayuki Hiizumi (ヒイズミマサユ機 Hiizumi Masayuki, from jazz instrumental band PE'Z), (keyboard/piano); and Toshiki Hata (刄田綴色 Hata Toshiki) (drums). All of them were members of the back-up band for Sheena Ringo's solo tour "Sugoroku Ecstasy" in 2003.
Hiizumi and Hirama left Tokyo Jihen in July 2005, and the band selected two new members: Ryosuke Nagaoka (長岡亮介 Nagaoka Ryosuke), also known as Ukigumo (浮雲 Drifting Cloud), on guitar and backing vocals, and Keitaro Izawa (伊澤啓太郎 Izawa Keitaro), also known as Ichiyou Izawa (伊澤一葉 Izawa Ichiyou), on keyboards in September 2005. The band released its second album featuring the new lineup in January 2006 and played two concerts, at the Osaka-Jo Hall in Osaka and the Budokan in Tokyo, in February 2006.
In late 2006, Ringo announced that she would resume work as a solo artist as the Music Director for the 2007 film Sakuran.[Note 4] The album Heisei Fūzoku (2007) is the soundtrack from this film. Violinist Neko Saitō and the band Soil & "Pimp" Sessions appear on the album. A song featuring her and Soil, "Karisome Otome (Death Jazz version)" was released on iTunes Japan exclusively on November 11, 2006. It went to the top of the charts and remained there for days.
In February 2009, Sheena had written music for Japanese rock duo Puffy AmiYumi. The duo's member Ami was introduced to Sheena by Hikaru Utada. Ami is a fan of Sheena's music, which amounted to their friendship together.
In March 2009, Sheena Ringo received the newcomer Fine Arts Award in the Popular Culture category from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In May of the same year, Sheena released a solo single titled "Ariamaru Tomi", which was used as the theme song for the TV drama Smile. In June, Sheena released her solo album titled Sanmon Gossip after a long hiatus. On December 2, 2009, Sheena releases the single "Nōdōteki Sanpunkan" with Tokyo Jihen after an interval of about two years.
Sheena is an accomplished musician and songwriter who writes music spanning numerous genres. She is well known for her eccentricity, rolling her "r"s and creating promotional music videos with striking visuals.
She admired Eddi Reader's voice, but felt her own voice was not as clear and sounded hoarse. She admired Janis Ian's singing and wrote "Seventeen" in tribute to Ian's "At Seventeen". She later covered "Love Is Blind". She listens to many genres of music. At the time of her debut, she has ten closely written pages of lists of her favorite musicians. They included various genres such as classical music, Japanese and American popular music from the 1950s and 1960s, contemporary rock, and the local band Fukuoka.
She mainly plays rhythm guitar, but she plays other musical instruments. During live shows she sometimes plays the piano and occasionally plays the bass guitar. While recording, she sometimes plays piano and drums, and occasionally uses uncommon musical instruments such as a melodica and a shamisen.
At her audition in 1996, she introduced herself as "Sheena Ringo" for the first time. "Ringo" means "apple" in Japanese. She said that "Ringo" originated from her class nickname when she often blushed in public, and from The Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr.
She declared recently that she followed the naming of the pen name of her favorite manga artist, Sensha Yoshida. His first name is just a name of an object like Ringo ("Sensha" in this case meaning a "tank" in English). She thought that those who heard her name would be shocked by that.
Sheena's name often appeared on the books, movies, TV dramas and songs, such as the Japanese movie All About Lily Chou-Chou (with The Beatles, Björk, and UA), Maximum the Hormone's song "Sheena basu tei de matsu.", Kreva's single "Idome",[Note 5] the Japanese movie Linda Linda Linda,[Note 6] the TV drama Furuhata Ninzaburō final series, the book by Taro Aso who is the 92nd Prime Minister of Japan Totetsumonai Nihon (as a singer representative of Jpop with Hikaru Utada).
Lenny Kravitz stated that he admired Ringo's music video and both her way of making music and the presentation, and said that he wanted to meet her in 2000. When Courtney Love visited Japan in 2001, she was recommended several Japanese female rock singers by the music magazine or of rockin'on. Sheena and Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her[Note 7] were in Courtney's favor. Courtney tried to contact Sheena or to give the song to Sheena, but she failed. Mika mentioned Ringo as one of his favorite Japanese artists, alongside Puffy AmiYumi, The Yellow Monkey, Yoko Kanno, and the Yoshida Brothers; in several interviews during his visit to Japan in 2007. Jack Barnett of These New Puritans who was visiting Japan for the Summer Sonic 08 said in an interview that he was a great fan of Ringo Sheena and bought all her works while he was there, as they were not available in the United Kingdom.
Her third album, Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana, was ranked second in CNN International Asia's list of "the 2000s' most under-appreciated Japanese music of the last decade" on December 22, 2009. Sheena also got a mention in The Guardian as one of Japan's artists "deserve to be seen and heard in the west" in 2010.
Sheena's older brother Junpei Shiina is an R&B musician, who debuted in 2000 under Sony. Since 2006, he has been managed by Kronekodow, Sheena's personal management agency. The pair have collaborated musically several times. In 2002, they covered three songs in English: Marvin Gaye's "The Onion Song" for Sheena's album Utaite Myōri, "Where Is the Love" (originally performed by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway) for Junpei Shiina's album Discover, and Toto's "Georgy Porgy." "Georgy Porgy" was recorded as a part of a special unit called Yokoshima, featuring Jumpei Shiina on keyboards and Ringo Sheena on chorus. In 2007, the pair sang a duet on her single "Kono Yo no Kagiri."
In November 2000, Sheena married guitarist Junji Yayoshi, who was a member of her backing band Gyakutai Glycogen. Sheena gave birth to a son in July 2001. The pair then later divorced in January 2002.
In September 2013, gossip magazine Josei Jishin published an article that linked her romantically with music director Yuichi Kodama and stating that she was secretly giving birth to her second child. Sheena addressed these rumours publicly during her Tōtaikai concerts in November 2013, announcing that she gave birth in spring of 2013 to a girl. As this was close to the release of her single "Irohanihoheto/Kodoku no Akatsuki," she did not feel it was appropriate to link the birth of her daughter with single promotions, so decided not to announce it at the time. The footage of her announcement was released on her Tōtaikai DVD in March 2014.
|Electric guitars||Duesenberg Starplayer II||surf green||She bought it by installments while still an amateur.|
|Duesenberg Starplayer TV||silver sparkle|
|black-and-gold checkered pattern using gold leaf||Her signature model, "Ichimatsu (市松)". This was sold as a limited ion for Sheena Ringo's 5th anniversary.|
|Duesenberg V-Caster||vintage white|
|Duesenberg Rocket||black and white|
|Fender Jaguar Special||Made by Fender Japan|
|Fender Telecaster||Custom-made by Fender Japan|
|Fender Stratocaster Jimi Hendrix tribute|
|Gibson Flying V||antique natural|
|Gibson RD Artist||natural||Recommended by Ukigumo|
|Nagare||blue||This guitar is based on the Fender Jazzmaster, and is equipped with a flashbulb so it shines while playing.|
|Rickenbacker 620||jetglo||She bought it with her first royalties.|
|Tele Phantom||red||Made by Songbird Guitar. This guitar uses "Vox Phatnom markⅥ" as the motif, and the structure is Telecaster. It is the same model of guitar as Ukigumo except for color.|
|Acoustic guitars||K.Yairi FK-1J|
|Bass guitars||Danelectro 58 Longhorn||aqua burst|
|Amplifiers||Orange Overdrive OR412||She began to use this under the influence of Susumu Nishikawa who was her session guitarist in the early days.|
|Effects units||Pro Co RAT2|
|Keyboard instruments||Toy piano||She used it on the "Senko Ecstasy" tour.|
|Melodica||She used it on the "Dynamite Out" tour.|
念願の女の子を授かりまして、現在育児中です。ごめんなさい。 だけど、その時お報告申し上げなかったのは赤ちゃんのリリースと、椎名林檎最新シングルのリリースが、見事にバッティングしており、折角の真っ新な命を図らずも親の商売の宣伝に駆り出す恰好にしてしまうような事態を、危惧したためです。(I was gifted my hearts desire, a little girl, who's currently nursing. I'm very sorry. However, I didn't say anything at the time because the release of my baby, and the release of my new single were amazingly scheduled for the same time. I was worried about having a long-awaited brand new life unexpectedly tangled up with her parent's publicity for work.)