O!susume – Hitorie/wowaka

Broadcast 31: Hitorie/wowaka

Recently I was able to see my favorite band, Placebo, in concert (tied with my other favorite artist Dir En Grey), and while waiting for the concert to begin my partner Eve (and sometimes guest author on O!susume) mentioned a Vocaloid producer she had gotten into called wowaka who had passed away in 2019 at the age of 31. While searching for more information about the artist, I found out that he was a part of the band that I had listened to in the past and loved called Hitorie. I decided to revisit the band and recommend both wowaka and Hitorie today, so whether you love Vocaloid or J-Rock, this post is for you!


Years Active: 2011 – Present (2023)

Core Members: Shinoda シノダ (vocals and guitar), Ygarshy イガラシ (bass), Yumao ゆーまお (drums)

Previous Members: wowaka ヲワカ aka Genjitsutouhi-P (現実逃避P) (vocals and guitar)


Who is Hitorie/wowaka?

In 2008 while still a college student composing music for his band, wowaka first listened to Vocaloid music when he found the song “Last Night, Good Night,” by livetune. After learning that the song was produced and created by one person, wowaka decidedly quit his band and started his own Vocaloid journey on the video platform Niconico, utilizing Vocaloid singer Hatsune Miku, where he quickly gained a cult following for his catchy melodies, obscure lyrics, and chaotic elements.

In 2011, wowaka released his own album of Vocaloid songs called “Unhappy Refrain,” which was one of the first Vocaloid albums to be published on CD. Not only was wowaka successful at creating catchy Vocaloid music that expanded the format into something that was taken more seriously in the larger music community with the album reaching 6th on the Oricon charts, but he also helped elevate the Vocaloid community by helping to start a record label called Balloom in 2011 along with other popular Niconico musicians.

After releasing “Unhappy Refrain,” wowaka took a step back from Vocaloid and started his own rock band called Hitorie Atelier ひとりアトリエ with Ygarshy イガラシ on bass, and Yumao ゆーまお on drums. In 2012 the band’s name changed to Hitorie ヒトリエ and Shinoda シノダ joined the band as backing vocalist and guitarist, and eventually he became the lead vocalist and guitarist for band after wowaka’s passing in 2019.

Hitorie is where I became acquainted with wowaka’s work, but after listening to his Vocaloid songs I’ve grown to appreciate both sides of his artistry. wowaka wrote all of Hitorie’s songs up until 2019, and his vocals are beautiful and flexible, expressing some of the same chaos present in his Vocaloid work but in new and exhilarating ways. I think the rest of the band has also been able to meet that energy and continue on in their own way, continuing on wowaka’s legacy and making some great music post 2019, so I’ll share a little bit about that in my song recs!


Rollin’ Girl

“Rollin’ Girl” is the ear-worm that is the whole inspiration for this recommendation today. “Rollin’ Girl” is a Vocaloid song featuring Hatsune Miku and has one of the catchiest and replayable keyboard melodies I’ve ever heard. There’s a reason why this song has a cult following as well as countless covers, including one from Nano (who Nagi recommended recently). “Rollin’ Girl” is simple yet chaotic with a touch of melancholy that’s able to be expressed through the synth soundscape and background details. Hitorie has a great live tribute of the song after wowaka’s passing with English subtitles here: https://youtu.be/gv73K9_2Jfc and there’s also a great live version with wowaka’s vocals here: https://youtu.be/Bv8d-XFfL4A

Honestly, there’s something addicting about listening to different covers and versions, and there’s plenty out there to choose from!



“Polaris” is the first track on the band’s 2019 album HOWLS (the last album with wowaka) and is a great example of Hitorie’s music. My favorite part of Hitorie is wowaka’s vocals, which are light and elastic as well as very pretty and resonant. The production of the band’s music is a natural progression from wowaka’s Vocaloid work, with their textured instrumentals scattered about as well as their intentional vocal flexibility that delves into disarray when needed. There’s something about wowaka’s inflection that reminds me of the staccato intonation of the vocalist in the band Frederic that really intrigues me, and I love the varied and rhythmic use of it in the songs overall.


Unknown Mother Goose – wowaka

“アンノウン・マザーグース” (“Unknown Mother Goose”) was released in 2017 by wowaka after a 6 year Vocaloid hiatus for the 10 year Hatsune Miku anniversary compilation album Re:Start, and is also his last Vocaloid production. This song includes a newer version of Hatsune Miku (V4X Dark) as well as vocals from wowaka which melt together in a nice and soothing way.

Hitorie did a version of this song which was included in their 2017 album ai/SOlate, which I’m including below. I think it’s great to listen to these two versions side by side because it really shows how strong each version is in their own format and how they take inspiration from each other. I especially like how the song is interpreted in the Hitorie version around the 1 and 3 minute mark, really recreating the disorder from the Vocaloid version in an effective and pleasurable way.


Unknown Mother Goose – Hitorie

Again, here is the Hitorie version of the song with wowaka’s gorgeous vocals that are smooth and resonant at certain times while also climbing into that fast-paced talking style that I personally love in music. After listening to the Vocaloid version of the song, I didn’t expect the Hitorie version to be so good, but it expressed the same tension and soundscape in a wonderful way.


high gain

“high gain” is a single released on Hitorie’s 2021 album REAMP with Shinoda on vocals. It’s always a difficult decision for a band to figure out how to continue after losing one of their members, and I’m happy to see Hitorie continuing on with Shinoda who was on backup vocals and guitar before as the main singer and guitarist now. This song is genuinely a delight to listen to, and I like the direction they are going in. The vocalist has a great style with this song also including the fast-talking vocals that I mentioned loving before with wowaka—along with some softer vocals and just all around solid instrumentals.

Overall, I’m happy that Hitorie has been an accessible way for me to get more into Vocaloid since it’s a format that I haven’t explored that much before. wowaka released only a few Vocaloid songs in total, but it’s clear that his songs are beloved by many and his songs have definitely been on repeat for me and my partner recently. Hitorie also has a great discography to check out with some truly beautiful songs as well as some more loose and melancholic rock songs. Hitorie is still producing some awesome music, and I’m excited to listen to more of their music with Shinoda as the lead singer going forward. If you have any song recommendations of Hitorie’s newer music or Vocaloid producers in general, I’d love to hear it!



Website: https://www.hitorie.jp/



How Wowaka Changed Vocaloid Forever https://youtu.be/BDps109blBE



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