O!susume – Lucky Kilimanjaro

Broadcast 21: Lucky Kilimanjaro

I don’t remember exactly how I learned about Lucky Kilimanjaro; in fact, they’ve seemed to nicely materialize into my own cloud of music that I listen to as if they had always belonged there. In any case, they’ve been on my radar for some time as being a band that always produces enjoyable electronic dance music, which seems to be a genre that I’ve been gravitating towards more and more lately. But more than just that, they’ve taken a lot of inspiration from city pop—a genre of Japanese pop music from the 70s and 80s, which gives them a great retro spin. They’ve been on repeat for me recently, so I’m excited to get into this month’s O! recommendation!


Years Active: 2014 – Present (2022)

Core Members: Yukimaru Kumaki 熊木幸丸 (vocal / synthesizer), Masaki Shibata 柴田昌輝 (drums), Seiji Tamaura 山浦聖司 (bass), Mao Otaki 大瀧真央 (synthesizer), Koji Matsuzaki 松崎浩二 (guitar), Rami ラミ (percussion)

Point of Origin: Tokyo


Who is Lucky Kilimanjaro?

Lucky Kilimanjaro is a city pop and techno-pop band with a 6 member ensemble who got their start in their University’s light music club. Since 2014, they’ve been releasing mood-boosting music where each song is sure to make you dance, first through BUDDY RECORDS (2015) and B.F.N (2017), and then with their major label debut with DREAMUSIC in 2018. Yukimaru Kumaki writes and composes the songs, and their 6 member ensemble allows them to have a full sound while still expressing an uplifting concept. The band’s motto, which translates into something like “make every day dance,” is truly at the essence of who Lucky Kilimanjaro is. While their music is upbeat, I think it has a unique depth to it with their fusion of city pop and techno-pop as well.

What exactly is city pop? Imagine living and working in a city in Japan in the 80s and going into a cafe—what music is playing as you sit down? It might be city pop—an offshoot genre of “new music,” inspired by Western music—but made specifically for and by city folks. With elements of r&b, soft rock, funk, and electronic music thrown in, city pop has always been more of a vibe than a specific sound. You may have already enjoyed some city pop with Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love,” an 80s song that gained an international following in the 2010s, ultimately helping revitalize the city pop genre as a whole. Around the same time in the 70s and 80s, Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra pioneered the music genre electropop, also known as techno-pop in Japan—which significantly had a lasting impact on Japanese pop music as well as synth music all around the world. Lucky Kilimanjaro pulls from each genre, expressing the nostalgia of city pop, and experimenting with synth sounds to create their own unique perspective.


Passing Through The Night Alone

“ひとりの夜を抜け” (Hitori no yoru o nuke – “Passing Through The Night Alone”) is a music video that captures one of my favorite ways to listen to music—alone with headphones, outside on a walk while enjoying my surroundings. Suddenly something as solitary as listening to music becomes transformed by a full unique sonic universe where dancing feels just as normal as walking, regardless of who may be around. This song from Lucky Kilimanjaro’s 2018 EP HUG, feels like the perfect soundtrack to express that feeling with its low key vibe that has a great synth beat to it. “Passing Through The Night Alone” is a great video and song to showcase their city pop influences and overall vibe, so don’t forget to add this song to your walking playlist (or check out our playlist for all of our O!susume RadioBeat songs here or here).



If you’re looking for a mood booster, look no further! Directly referencing the house music genre, “HOUSE” is a lighthearted dance song from 2019 that instantly uplifts, casually presenting the full 6 member musical ensemble that makes up Lucky Kilimanjaro.

While city pop and techno-pop were emerging in the 70s and 80s in Japan, house music was emerging around the same time in Chicago, USA. This song seems to be a direct experiment in the house genre, infused within the lyrics to the song, even referencing 125 beats per minute, the tempo that House music usually sits around.

Yukimaru Kumaki’s vocals impeccably ebb and flow over the music, where it’s obvious a lot of detail work was sprinkled into the background vocals and sounds, ultimately giving the song an effervescent enthusiasm. While I don’t know much about the intricacies of dance music and synth music, this song sets a fun and enjoyable tone that I hope puts you in a good disposition!


Neverending Dance

“果てることないダンス” (Hatorukotonai Dance – “Neverending Dance”) from Lucky Kilimanjaro’s 2022 album TOUGH PLAY, is one of the first music videos I watched from the band when I was searching for music during the pandemic. In the video, Yukimaru wakes up in the woods at night with a headlamp and happens upon a blue lightsaber. He then finds someone with a red lightsaber, and the rest of the video is fighting, losing, getting up and fighting again, over and over in some sort of never ending game.

Like the other videos I’ve seen from them, this seems like a very simple and nice expression of the song, seemingly effortless but obviously well-thought out—just like their music in general. One of my favorite aspects of the group is Yukimaru’s vocals; his voice seems very fluid, gentle and lyrical at times, which ends up being a great accompaniment to the music. This song in particular has really grown on me with time, but there are a lot of other songs by Lucky Kilimanjaro that I’ve been enjoying recently that I’ll add at the end in case you want to listen to more.


Bonus: The Sun

Because I had a hard time deciding on what songs to recommend today, I thought I would share just one more music video called “太陽” (Taiyou – The Sun) from the 2021 album DAILY BOP. Lucky Kilimanjaro has a few music videos that feature a dancer, and this one stars Sara Hirano, with choreography and dance inspired by yurinasia, which they’ve worked with before on “楽園” (Rakuen – “Paradise”). I love the bright sound of this song and the 80s imagery in the video, so I thought this would be a great video to end on. I hope it inspires you to “make every day dance”!



足りない夜にまかせて https://youtu.be/1Qeo1jTWqVk

春はもうすぐそこ https://youtu.be/WImCkPUEBmU

Deadline Dancer https://youtu.be/G8DIlKz2ccA

車のかげでキスを https://youtu.be/ESwKhNMZCfI


Website: http://luckykilimanjaro.net/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lucky_klmnjr

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/LuckyKilimanjaro

Listen: https://lnk.to/LK_fuzzysummer









This Broadcast was written by Erin; you can find them on instagram at @thekniterin.