Crafting epic, soaring, guitar-based numbers designed to connect with arena-sized crowds, rock quartet Mr.Children helped kick off a Japanese rock revival in the ‘90s that continues to shape the genre today. The group, composed of lead vocalist Kazutoshi Sakurai, guitarist Kenichi Tahara, bassist Keisuke Nakagawa, and drummer Hideya Suzuki came together in Tokyo in 1989. Emerging from the ashes of another project, The Walls, the four used this new outfit as a fresh start to explore U2-esque anthemic rock built around sky-bound guitar playing and Sakurai’s metaphor-heavy lyrical approach. By the early ‘90s, Mr.Children connected with producer Takeshi Kobayashi, who added keyboards to their sound and shaped the band into a powerhouse act. After a period where Eurodance-flavored pop ruled the Japanese charts, Mr.Children’s electrifying rock shifted the paradigm, powered by chugging cuts such as “Innocent World” and the twinkly, saxophone-assisted “Tomorrow Never Knows.” They launched a band boom that set the path for groups like THE YELLOW MONKEY and BUMP OF CHICKEN, while also inspiring ensuing bands. Mr.Children has continued to refine their sound and tackle a wide range of subject matter from love (“Hanabi”) to politics (“So Let’s Get Truth”). There’s no doubt that the quartet shaped the sound of modern Japanese rock and have stayed at the epicenter of the genre ever since.