20 Facts About Shonen Knife


This Thursday the legendary Shonen Knife are playing the cluny, and to follow on from our 20 facts about Godzilla article, we thought we would publish 20 fun facts about Shonen Knife to get you as excited as we are for the gig.


  1. Shonen Knife (少年ナイフ) literally translates as ‘Boy Knife’.
  2. The band are from the city of Osaka in Japan.
  3. The group has had several member changes since their formation in 1981, Naoko Yamano (山野直子) who provides vocals and plays guitar has been the one constant member of the group since its formation.
  4. Shonen Knife have an affinity for The Ramones and have performed entire concerts under the name ‘The Osaka Ramones’ playing nothing but Ramones covers. In 2011 the band released an album of these Ramones covers.
  5. When asked to describe their music they have come up with the phrase “oo-oo-ultra-eccentric-super-cult-punk-pop-band-shonen-knife!” Which is pretty accurate if you ask me.
  6. Kurt Cobain was a big fan of the band and said “When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical nine-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.”
  7. Cobain would later ask Shonen Knife to open for Nirvana on their 1991 tour of the UK.
  8. The band contributed the song “Buttercup (I’m A Super Girl) to the soundtrack of the Cartoon Network series The Powerpuff Girls.
  9. Other soundtracks the group have appeared on include “Blade”, “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift” and “The Parent Trap”.
  10. Shonen Knife have an extensive discography, including 15 original studio albums, 6 EPs, a cover album and a live album.
  11. MTV’s Beavis and Butthead featured the band’s single “Tomato Head” on their show and critiqued it in their usual fashion. Click here to see the episode (Click on the videoweed option, scroll down and play the video. Shonen Knife starts at 1.20).
  12. The Japanese guitar manufacturer Fugigen created a guitar for Naoko appropriately named “Naoko Yamano Signature Model”. It is only available in salmon pink, her favourite colour. WARNING: You may not look as cool as her with it.
  13. There have been two separate tribute albums made covering Shonen Knife’s songs. Bands contributing included Sonic Youth, L7 and Red Kross.
  14. The British radio personality John Peel was an early international supporter of the band and began to give them airtime in 1987. The band would later record a “John Peel Session” on BBC radio in 1991.
  15. Current Bassist Ritsuko Taneda (種田律子) had previously been a member of the J-pop groups Denki Candy and Keihan Girl before joining in 2006.
  16. The snazzy outfits that the group wear are usually designed by former member Atsuko Yamano (Naoko’s sister).
  17. Atsuko Yamano retired from the band to marry but has remained close to Shonen Knife and normally acts as a guest member to play some songs whenever the group play Los Angeles.
  18. The band released a book, chronicling the band’s journey and illustrated with many uniquely cheerful drawings. The book is called “Shonen Knife Land”.
  19. While remaining a firm underground cult band Shonen Knife has also appeared on some big stages, including playing the travelling rock festival Lollapalooza in 1994.
  20. Shonen Knife started after the three founding members became sick of their mundane office clerk jobs and decided to do something about it


You can follow the band on twitter here

Ritsuko @SK_Ritsuko – Naoko @ShonenKife




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