Name: 太陽とシスコムーン (Taiyou to Ciscomoon) –> T&Cボンバー (T&C Bomber)
Date of debut:April 21st, 1999
Record label: zetima
Disbanded: October 9th, 2000
Taiyou to Ciscomoon, later re-named to T&C Bomber, was a Japanese dance and vocal group managed by producer Tsunku and the agency UFA. «Hello! Project» was a name for all the girl groups Tsunku managed at the time. He was constantly having auditions for new groups to add to his rooster.
When the group debuted, they got the name 太陽とシスコムーン . It means Sun and Ciscomoon, and has been romanized officially in different ways; «TAIYO&CISCOMOON», «SUN&CISCOMOON», «Taiyou to Ciscomoon», «Taiyo & Ciscomoon» and «Taiyou to Ciscomoon».
On November 22nd, 1998, Tsunku announced on the tv show ASAYAN his idea for a new girl group. He launched the idea saying:
«For this time around, we are looking for girls with special talents who have enough experiences. To give you some examples: someone who can dance well, someone who has learned Minyo-style singing professionally, someone who is striving to become talented singers like Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.”
The audition was called «Tsunku Producer Geinoujin Atarashii Unit Audition» (芸能人新ユニットオーディション), and there were 500 applications in total. After their application forms were examined, 10% of the applicants managed to remain in the audition. After that, Tsunku and the segment producer interviewed each applicant face to face. 8 candidates were selected as the finalists:
(1) Atsuko Inaba, a former idol from Osaka Performance Doll
(2) Yumi Kobayashi (小林優美), a former idol going by the name ABYSS.
(3) Miwa Kominato, an experienxed folk singer and mother of two.
(4) Miho Shinoda, a former athlete competing in the Olympics.
(5) Ayako Johei (城平絢子), real name Mie Chihaya (千早 真永)), a former Takarazuka Kagekidan (an all-female musical theater troupe).
(6) Kiyoko Hoshino (星野貴代子), a former member of the idol group Milk (みるく).
(7) Kaori Yamaguchi (山口香緒里), an actress.
(8) RuRu, a singer from China
They were then separated into 2 groups, each containing 4 people. The groups were sent out to San Francisco for 40 days of boot camp training session by Tsunku.
Tsunku named the first group with Shinoda, RuRu, Johei and Hoshino as “San Fran”; the second group with Inaba, Kominato, Kobayashi and Yamaguchi as “Cisco moon”. (Together, they were “San Francisco Moon”). Each week, Tsunku was checking the videos sent from San Francisco to examine each member’s progress. Half way into the boot camp, he selected three girls; Atsuko Inaba (an experienced idol singer), Miho Shinoda (a sports athlete) and Miwa Kominato (a minyo singer).
The last audition took place among the 5 remaining candidates. After showing her devotion to music and vocal skills, RuRu was selected as the 4th member of the unit. She had applied for the audition solely based on Tsunku’s comments saying he wanted someone who could sing like Whitney Houston. She sang «I will always love you» at her audition, and blew Tsunku away with her great vocal ability.
After having chosen the final four, they were sent to four different cities in the United states to work on their vocals and dance. Inaba was sent to Atlanta (famous for gospel and soul), Kominato to Detroit (famous for Motown), Shinoda to Memphis (famous for southern blues music), and Honda to Chigago (famous for blues and rhythm). They spent three weeks improving themselves before they officially debuted in April of 1999.
The unit’s name was decided by Tsunku as “Taiyo To Ciscomoon” (Note: “Taiyo=Sun=San (same sound in Japanese)+Ciscomoon” = San (Fran)cisco Moon). He also suggested other names, such as Gattsu 1.2.3 (ガッツ1.2.3.), Guts1.2.3., Cisco3 (シスコ3), Adult Queens (アダルトクィーン), Morning Okami. (モーニング狼。), Moonlight Zoku (ムーンライト族。), Taiyou to Moonlight Musume, (太陽とムーンライト娘。), and Taiyou to Morning Okami (太陽とモーニング狼。).
They released their first single, «Tsuki to Taiyou», on April 21st. Originally, the unit was formed under a contract of releasing only one song. (Tsunku and the agency had said that if their debut song placed lower than Morning Musume’s debut song, there was no point in continuing producing this group). But to their great surprise, the debut song, “Tsuki To Taiyou” landed 6th place for the ORICON chart during its first release week, later moving up to 4th place. After it’s success, it was announced the group were going on a «single release spree»; each month a new single would be released from April to September. The next singles to be released was «Gatakimera», «Uchuu de La Ta Ta», «Everyday Everywhere» and «Magic of Love», followed by their debut album «One» in October.
As annual school festival season was approaching, (Note: Annual school festivals (“Gakuensai”) provide musicians’ with opportunities for small gigs), everything seemed to be going smoothly.
But there was one incident that changed the unit. They were told the restructuring plan to improve the quality of the unit.
In order to become better performers with consistency and high skills, the agency asked Tsunku to reconsider the unit’s dynamics. After examining videos from various school festivals, Tsunku made a decision to let go of Kominato. The decision would become in effect for the release of the following single. The reason for letting Kominato go was because she was having a hard time keeping up with the fast-pace of the rhythm in both singing and dancing. The rumor has it that it was the record label’s pre-planned action to let Kominato go. While being absent from the group, she studied dance.
After the release of their debut album, Taiyou to Ciscomoon released their sixth single, «Marui Taiyo» as a trio. At the same time, they also recieved two awards: Dai 32-kai Nihon Yuusentaishou (第32回 日本有線大賞) and Dai 41-kai Nihon Record Taishou (第41回 日本レコード大賞). They accepted the awards as a trio due to Kominato's absence.
For each single the group released, the sales figured dropped rapidly. Their first single sold almost 200.000 copies, while the latest one only sold 30.000 copies. All though Taiyo to Ciscomoon was a unique group due to their style of music, which were either dance songs full of rhythm, or jazz/soul inspired songs full of heavy vocals, it was the other girl groups within Hello! Project who had high sales figures.
When Kominato returned to to the group a few months later, their agency decided to change the group’s name to «T&C Bomber». Maybe as an attempt to revamp the group and create a new image? It was the girl groups with cutesy videos and bubblegum-pop tunes who had high sales figures (Pucchimoni had sold over 1.000.000 copies of their debut single).
Before doing anything else as a group after the name change, Tsunku had decided to shuffle all the girls he produced. He split up all the groups and shuffled the girls together between their respective groups, coming up with three new groups; Kiiro5, Akagumi4 and Aoiro7. The members of T&C Bomber were split and shuffled and spent time recording and releasing the singles within this project.
After the shuffle singles went on sale in March, it would only be a month before they released their first single under their new name. It is called «Don’t Stop Renaichuu», and sold approx. 20.000 copies.
In July they released what would be their last single, Mahiru no Shinkirou. The song was described by Tsunku as oriental funk, and had a new sound to it (similar to Heike Michiyo’s «Murasaki Shikibu»). This song was featured in the movie «Country Girl Hokkaido Bokujo Monogatari», in which T&C Bomber had a guest appearance.
Tsunku said in his book "Love Theory" (a book about what constitutes a “good woman” in the mind of Tsunku) released this year that:
"Ugliness was always the theme with Taiyou to Ciscomoon from the beginning. When I created this unit on ASAYAN, I was naturally thinking about the group I’d created before them: Morning Musume. Morning Musume was based on the theme of “cuteness,” so when it was time to figure out the new group’s direction, the first thing I thought of was “funkiness.” And when you speak of funkiness? Well, my image of it also includes “ugliness.”
And the members pulled it off great. Once the auditions had ended and the members were decided, we sent them to America, telling them to go “become funky and come back.” And when they came back, they’d become amazing. Shinoda’s ganguro style and afro in particular were just wonderful. I had to give her an honest round of applause when she came back. “That’s great. You’re a funny one.“
Just like how Morning Musume showed with “LOVE Machine,” when you’re trying to be funky you can’t be hung up on your feelings and let them stop you. Take the stereotypical person at parties who goes “alright, I’m going to do an impression!” and then they do some terrible impression while looking all embarrassed about it. Don’t you just feel like punching people like that? It’s us who feel embarrassed watching you. “Who cares if you look anything like who you’re doing an impression of — just do it properly!” That’s what I think. The dancing in “LOVE Machine” and the funkiness of Taiyou to Ciscomoon are funny because they do it so seriously. And more than anything, it’s cool!
Shinoda, too, could look cute if she wanted to. She could easily make herself look prettier. But she consciously made the decision to look ugly, and she made it look good. If you’re someone who doubts their own looks, that’s something that shows — even if you think it won’t. Everyone else becomes embarrassed for you. But someone like Shinoda — who so obviously thinks “my face is completely fine as it is!” — has a different aura entirely."
On August 27th, during ASAYAN, they released the news of the unit’s upcoming breakup in October. The reason was so that each artist could focus on solo activities.
The same month, the group went on a tour called «CONCERT TOUR 2000 YO! YO! Taiyo-La! Muunsan no Dance Tengoku» . They had been on one tour before («Gatameki-live»), but this was their first concert to be recorded and released on vhs and dvd.
The concert was released on August 30th, with cat nr EPVE-5010 (VHS) and EPBE-5010 (DVD). It reached #27 on the Oricon charts and charted for one week.
Opening~Gatamekira (GTS more energy remix)
Marui Taiyou (丸い太陽)
Sunrise Sore Demo Hi wa Noboru (Sunriseそれでも陽は昇る)
Be Cool Down
DON’T STOP Renaichuu (DON’T STOP 恋愛中)
Magic of Love(Interlude)
You Can’t Hurry Love
So Much In Love
Tsuki to Taiyou (月と太陽) [optional multi-angel]
Uchuu de La Ta Ta (宇宙でLa Ta Ta)
Magic of Love
Zurui Onna (T&C BOMBER Version) (ズルい女 (T&C BOMBER Version))
ENDLESS LOVE ~I Love You More~
After the concert, the agency had made a statement saying that T&C Bomber would disband at the end of the year. This caused the group to release their second album, «2nd Stage», which was released in September of 2000. This was followed by a farewell concert tour, which started in October. The tour was called «DO-DA! Taiyo & Ciscomoon vs T&C Bomber». Their words of farewell were:
Kominato: Thank you for the last year and a half. Your cheering voices reached into my heart and gave me the strength to go on. Until next time… See you.
Shinoda: It’s been a year and a half since I met everyone. With everyone’s help, I was able to form so many great memories. I’m going to keep on working hard, so until the day I see you again… Thank you for everything.
Inaba: That year and a half went by so quickly. But I have so many memories from it. Thank you for all your support. And please keep on supporting me.
RuRu: Thank you for everything! Keep your eyes on us from now. Jin hou ye qing duo guan zhao. Zai jian.
The agency released a video collection on VHS and DVD called «All Taiyou to Ciscomoon·T&C Bomber» on December 12th, and this was the last thing T&C Bomber «did» together (Until 2008). It has 8 tracks (all of their music videos), and has the cat. numbers EPVE-5012 (VHS) and EPBE-5012 (DVD).
Tsunku was asked what the reasons for disbanding the group was, in which he said that he had been helping reviving them (nb: probably referring to the name change and Kominato's dance lessons), and that they were supposed to be a one shot unit releasing only a song for a commercial. The real reasons are probably that there were difficulties with members as they all belonged to different agencies; indifference of goal as a group (RuRu debuted in Taiwan right after the disbanding); sales going down; as well as Hello! Project cutting their ties with the TV program ASAYAN in late 2000.
Shortly after the disbandenment of the group, Ruru Honda, Miwa Kominato and Miho Shinoda left the agency. Kominato had been asked to debut as a solo enka/minyo singer, but she chose to stay away from the major spotlight (shortly after, Yuki Maeda made her debut within Hello! Project as an enka singer). Atsuko Inaba however, stayed with the agency, and a new audition was announced, called «Inaba Atsuko Atarashii Unit Audition» («Inaba Atsuko New Unit Audition»). This ran from December 2000 up until May 2001, but the audition was unsuccesful and a new unit featuring Inaba was shelved.
Eight years later in 2008, the group came back together in order to celebrate their ten year anniversary and the release of their best of-album. The only member to not attend was RuRu, as she had commitment to working as a vocal couch in Taiwan. They continued having concerts and attending various events until they held their reunion and farewell concert «Are Kara 10nen Taiyo to Ciscomoon Live 2009 Last & New Decade».
HEY! Mahiru no Shinkirou (HEY!真昼の蜃気楼)
Sunrise Sore Demo Hi wa Noboru (Sunriseそれでも陽は昇る)
Medley: Chinmoku (沈黙), Versus, Be Cool Down, Kawaii Hito (かわいい男性 ), Get on my Love
Uchuu de La Ta Ta (宇宙でＬａＴａＴａ)
Medley: Don’t Stop Renaichuu (Don’t Stop恋愛中 ), Go Go Tokyo (ゴーゴー東京 ), Mata Yacchatta -Shibuya de All no Hi- (またやっちゃった～渋谷でALLの日～), Office Love, Ai no Kaisuu (愛の回数), Marui Taiyou -winter ver.- (丸い太陽)
Be My Love
Tsuki to Taiyou (月と太陽)
Magic of Love
ENDLESS LOVE -I Love You More-
Zurui Onna (T&C BOMBER Version) (ズルイ女 (T&C BOMBER Version))
YES! Shiawase (YES!しあわせ)
Magic of Love
Mega Best Sale Commemoration Release at HMV Shibuya
Melon Greeting Guest Appereance
Are Kara 10nen! -Taiyo to Ciscomoon, Saisho de Saigo no Talk Live-
Last & New Decade Backstage Movie
Honban Chokuzen Interview
Memorial Slide Show
The DVD was released in January 2010 as a fan club release (with cat nr UFBW-1017), and concluded Taiyou to Ciscomoon as a group until 2013, when Hello! Project held a concert called Hello! Project Countdown 2013 ~Hello & Good Bye~. Taiyo to Ciscomoon (minus RuRu) was one of the acts performing on stage along with several other graduated members.
A few years later, in the summer of 2015, all four members of Taiyo to Ciscomoon got together for a special talk / live event (one night only).
From time to time Miwa Kominato posts old school stuff at her twitter