About Sheena Ringo
One of Japanese music’s boldest talents, Sheena Ringo has always bucked against the conventions and restrictions that have often stymied women in J-pop. Born in Saitama, in 1978, Sheena was only a teenager when she landed a deal with EMI after winning a talent contest. But with a musical vision based on a disparate set of inspirations that included Bjӧrk, grunge, and Tony! Toni! Toné!—as well as her determination to write her own material and (gasp!) play guitar—Sheena set her own trajectory after launching her career in 1998. For every single as effervescent as her first hit, “Koufukuron,” there was a curveball like “Kabuki-cho No Joou,” a sexually charged alt-rocker inspired by the red-light district in Shinjuku. Sheena’s provocative sensibility was just as clear in her videos and her live shows like those on 2000’s Gekokujyo Xstasy tour, which Sheena performed in a blood-soaked dress in a set designed to resemble an operating room. In 2003, she surprised her fans again when she suspended her solo career to form Tokyo Jihen (a.k.a. Tokyo Incidents), a wildly adventurous band that mixed elements of funk, jazz, and rock. After resuming her career under her own name in 2012, Sheena continued to upend expectations with singles like 2019’s “Gate of Living,” a collision of French chanson-style pop and eerie electronics that somehow boasts the orchestral grandeur of a Bond-movie theme song, too.