Yanakoto Sotto Mute to Fall Silent

Winter turns to spring. The cherry blossoms bloom and fall. Idol units form and disband. It is the natural cycle of seasons.

… but it doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s been almost six years since Maniac dubbed Yanakoto Sotto Mute “the Perfect Modern Idols”, five years since they dropped a near perfect album in Bubble, three-and-a-half years since this happened,

and two years since their excellence was recognized with a well-deserved major label debut.

Watching their progress has been like witnessing a graceful yet inevitable force;  the emergence of proof of justice in the world; the triumph of artistic substance, raw talent and emotional power over the superficial gimmicks and saccharine artifice that permeate modern idol and pop.

For the past six years, Yanamu has simply delivered superbly crafted music and stunningly executed performances.  And the members themselves, Mani, Nadeshiko, Ichika, Ayaka (and former members Rena and Tsukasa), have always been possessed with style and grace and humor and wit.


Yanakoto Sotto Mute will disband on June 26th.

From the member statements, Nadeshiko decided to withdraw as her efforts to excel as an idol were taking a toll on her health: “I made the decision because I could clearly recognize that it was not eternal, both physically and mentally.” Mani said that she recently began to feel a that her future lies in a different direction while Ichika did not want to continue on without the members she has shared the stage with. Newest member Ayaka said she did not feel confident enough to take the role as leader of the group, so she would withdraw with the other members. Neither Nade-chan or Ichika have any future plans to carry on careers as idols, while Ayaka wants to continue as a performer.  I can only assume from her statement that Mani Mani has plans for the future as an performing artist as well.

Within the disheartening announcements, there are a few glimmers of hope. The disbandment is framed as the “end of the current system”, and Ayaka’s insecurity about being some future Yanamu’s center seems to imply that there is the intention, at least, for the group to carry on. While it is difficult to imagine Yanamu without the distinctive voices of Mani Mani and, especially, Nade-chan, it is not inconceivable for a new cast to make stellar work of the incomparable catalog of songs that the group has compiled over the last six years.

Between mid-may and June, the six-year-old Yanakoto Sotto Mute will hold a final tour appropriately titled “YSM SIX”.  Hopefully we will get some livestreaming options for those shows as it doesn’t look like us overseas folks will get the opportunity to say farewell in person.