Native name つんく♂
Born (1968-10-29) October 29, 1968
  • Songwriter
  • vocalist
  • talent manager
  • record producer
  • musician
  • actor
  • television presenter
Spouse(s) Kanako Idemitsu (m. 2006)
Children 3

Musical career

Origin Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Years active 1988–present
Associated acts
Website Tsunku.net

Tsunku (つんく, often written as つんく♂, born October 29, 1968) is a prolific Japanese record producer, songwriter, and vocalist.[1] Total sales of the singles he has written exceed 37.9 million copies, making him the fifth best-selling lyricist in Japan.[2]

He is best known for having two major roles in the Japanese music landscape: first as the lead singer of the popular rock group Sharam Q, and now as the producer, primary composer, lyricist, and (until 2014) primary studio backing vocalist for highly acclaimed idol group Morning Musume, in addition to Aya Matsuura and other associated idols under the Hello! Project banner, for whom he has written and produced the vast majority of their chart-topping hits. He has also produced music for other Japanese artists, including Ayumi Hamasaki's first number one single.[3] As his musical influences he cites The Beatles, Japanese popular music (especially kayōkyoku), American and European hits being played on the radio when he was a schoolboy, disco acts such as Chic, Kool & the Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire, and bands like Duran Duran and The Power Station.[1][4][5]

Personal life

In June 2006, Tsunku married Kanako Idemitsu (出光 加奈子), a 25-year-old former model from Fukuoka.[6] The couple have fraternal twins (one boy, one girl) born in 2008[7][8][9][10] and one daughter who was born in 2011.[11][12][13]


Tsunku later worked with Nintendo and J.P.ROOM to create the music video game, Rhythm Tengoku. It was released for the Game Boy Advance on August 3, 2006, and later as an arcade on September 20, 2007. He also worked on Rhythm Tengoku Gold for the Nintendo DS,[1] Minna no Rhythm Tengoku for the Wii, and Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus for the Nintendo 3DS. The DS, Wii, and 3DS games were released as Rhythm Heaven(DS, NTSC), Rhythm Paradise(DS, PAL), Rhythm Heaven Fever(Wii, NTSC), Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise(Wii, PAL), Rhythm Heaven Megamix(3DS, NTSC), and Rhythm Paradise Megamix(3DS, PAL). Rhythm Tengoku for the GBA was never released outside of Japan.

On October 1, 2006, it was announced that Tsunku had created a new company called TNX consisting of singers such as Ami Tokito and other people including Tatsuya Naka, a magician who appeared on Hello! Morning.

On September 26, 2007, Tsunku released a compilation album with the temporary title of "Sharam Q ~ Morning Musume" ~Tsunku 15 Years in Entertainment Commemoration Album~, containing songs by both Sharam Q and Morning Musume, and another one on December 5, 2007 titled Tsunku Best Work Collection, containing songs sung by Tsunku himself.[14]

Music composition and lyrical works

Hello! Project

Tsunku is responsible for majority of the musical composition and lyrics in Hello! Project, noticeably for Morning Musume where all of their singles have ranked in the Oricon Weekly Singles Top 5 (excluding "Morning Coffee" and "Mikan"). Arranging is typically left to outside parties with track records in arranging popular anime and game music.

His works are mainly pop-oriented with catchy melodies and romantic, idealistic and sometimes even humorous lyrics, the latter in particular often being pitched to appeal to a young audience. However, many of the female vocalists who perform his songs have a large, dedicated fan base composed of older male wota, as well as male fans who are not wota, both of whom are usually in their twenties and thirties, and occasionally older. Some of his works in the late 2000s were particularly mature and hard-hitting (considering the ages of the girls singing them), such as the Morning Musume singles "Kanashimi Twilight, "Onna ni Sachi Are" and "Resonant Blue". Although his own work as a soloist and in Sharam Q tends to lean towards pop-rock, he is best known for working with various arrangers to create highly melodic, richly-textured sequencer-driven electronic dance music which often features synthesizers, as well as guitar riffs and solos which sometimes hint at hard rock or heavy metal influences (such as in Morning Musume's "Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan" and Cute's "Forever Love"). Typical vocal arrangements in the songs he writes for Hello! Project's groups tend to revolve around the members taking turns at singing lines and sometimes even small parts of lines in succession, building up to a chorus in which most (if not all) members sing in unison rather than using vocal harmonies; any harmonies that are present in the songs are often sung by other people (including Tsunku himself, who records his backing vocals so as to appear to sing "along with" the girls on their studio recordings during key parts of songs such as during choruses and on certain phrases, in a voice an octave lower than theirs). However, there have been some exceptions, such as the Morning Musume songs "Morning Coffee", "Furusato", "Memory Seishun no Hikari", "Love Machine" and "I Wish", where most (if not all) of the backing vocals were sung by the group's members themselves. Furthermore, in the past few years, it has become even more common for members of Hello! Project's groups to provide the backing vocals for their songs themselves.

Recent years have also seen Hello! Project moving in a new direction musically, with prominent elements of dubstep and electro being incorporated into much of their recorded output, resulting in songs which seem at times to be almost experimental in style, at least by idol music standards.

Nice Girl Project!

Tsunku is also involved in Nice Girl Project! (NICE GIRL プロジェクト!).

2011 – present

As a result of the Japanese earthquake 2011, Tsunku wrote a song titled "Love is here ~Kibou no Hikari~" dedicated to the victims. Tsunku is one of the many Japanese celebrities who have stepped up to support the victims and their loved ones.[15]

In March 2014, a shocking blog post by Tsunku was posted, saying that he had laryngeal cancer, this was found out after having throat surgery due to its unspecified condition. He announced on his official site that he has been seeking treatment for it.[16][17] On April 4, 2015, Tsunku revealed that he had his vocal cords removed as part of his cancer treatment.[18] In his memoir, "Dakara, Ikiru", which was published in September 2015 - it was revealed that he stepped down as Hello! Project's General Manager sometime after Morning Musume's New York concert that happened on October 5, 2014.[19] He still remains involved with Morning Musume as its Sound Producer.[20]

List of music composition and lyrical works

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
List of works
Release date Name Music composition / lyric Performer Single Album Reference & notes
1992-7-22 Jū Hakka Getsu (18ヶ月 18 Months) music composition* & lyrics Sharam Q Jū Ha18 ka Getsu *music co-composed with Hatake
1992-9-23 Sakuretsu! Henachoco Punch (炸裂!へなちょこパンチ Explosion! Novice Punch) music composition & lyrics Sharam Q --- Sakuretsu! Henachoco Punch
1992-9-23 ラーメン大好き小池さんの唄 lyrics Sharam Q --- Sakuretsu! Henachoco Punch
1992-9-23 お嬢様 lyrics Sharam Q --- Sakuretsu! Henachoco Punch
1992-9-23 現代の不良になれない少年たち music composition & lyrics Sharam Q --- Sakuretsu! Henachoco Punch
1992-9-23 パパとイきたい! music composition* & lyrics Sharam Q --- Sakuretsu! Henachoco Punch *music co-composed with Hatake
1992-9-23 どうして「スキ」と言えなかったの? music composition* & lyrics Sharam Q --- Sakuretsu! Henachoco Punch *music co-composed with Hatake
1993-2-24 Tottemo Merry-Go-Round (とってもメリーゴーランド Really Merry-Go-Round) music composition & lyrics Sharam Q Tottemo Merry-Go-Round
1993-3-24 友達はいますか music composition* & lyrics Sharam Q Urekko e no Michi Jūtaichū (売れっ子への道 渋滞中 The Road to My Favourite Kid (Congested)) *music co-composed with Shū
1998-1-28 Morning Coffee music composition & lyrics Morning Musume Morning Coffee First Time
2012-3-28 "Mirai ga Watashi o Matteiru" (未来が私を待っている The Future is Waiting For Me) lyrics Afilia Saga East *music composed by Chiyomaru Shikura



# Title Release date
1 A Hard Day's Night December 6, 2000
2 Take 1 February 18, 2004
3 Type2 (タイプ2) July 13, 2005
4 V3~Seishun Cover~ (V3~青春カバー~) June 28, 2006
5 "Sharam Q ~ Morning Musume" ~Tsunku 15 Years in Entertainment Commemoration Album~
September 26, 2007
6 "Tsunku Best Work Collection" (「つんく♂ベスト作品集」) December 5, 2007


# Title Release date
1 "Love ~Dakiatte~" (Love~抱き合って~) April 28, 1999
2 "Touch Me" November 3, 1999
3 "Suggoi Ne!" (すっごいね!) February 27, 2002
4 "Shoppai ne" (しょっぱいね) September 26, 2012


  1. 1 2 3 "Tsunku on Rhythm Heaven". IGN Entertainment, Inc. April 9, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  2. "【オリコン】秋元康氏、作詞シングル総売上が1億枚突破「34年間の積み重ね」". Oricon (in Japanese). 2015-12-09. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  3. つんく♂オフィシャルウェブサイト (in Japanese). tsunku.jp. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. "Tsunku♂ special radio interview with Momoclo's producer Hyadain (translation)". December 4, 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
  5. "[Monthly BARKS Tsunku♂ Long Interview vol.2]Sharam Q Forever Unfinished; From the Secret Story of "Single Bed" to Morning Musume. (Part Two)". August 21, 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
  6. Transcribed from ThePPN: Tsunku
  7. "Tsunku to Become a Father!" (in Japanese). sanspo.com. March 25, 2008.
  8. つんく♂よりお知らせ. Tsunku (in Japanese). Tsunku's official blog. March 26, 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  9. "March 25, 2008 Tsunku Official Blog" (in Japanese). March 25, 2008.
  10. "Tsunku's comments after the birth of his twins" (in Japanese). mainichi.jp. April 30, 2008.
  11. ナタリー – つんく♂、第3子女児誕生を報告 (in Japanese). Natalie (Natasha,Inc.). March 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  12. "Tsunku now a father of three". Tokyograph. March 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  13. "Tsunku becomes a father again to a new baby girl!". Tokyohive. March 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  14. "Tsunku♂ to release two BEST albums". Ikimasshoi+. July 12, 2007.
  15. "Tsunku writes song for earthquake victims". Tokyofever. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  16. "つんく♂より皆様へご報告" (in Japanese). tsunku.net. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  17. Greening, Chris. "Rhythm Heaven music producer Tsunku recovering from cancer". Game Music Online. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  18. "つんく♂、ガン治療のため声帯摘出".
  19. "つんく♂衝撃の初告白!ハロプロのプロデューサー"卒業していた"".
  20. "NHKさんで!鞘師里保".
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