Posted January 28, 2018 by Yuri Mangahas in Music

The Evolving Storm That is ONE OK ROCK


Truly, they have taken most of the globe by storm. From their humble roots in an ordinary high school in Japan, ONE OK ROCK has since become a household name not just in the Japanese rock industry, but in the international music scene. After eight studio albums and countless music tours onshore and abroad, the four-man band had proven that they are a force to reckon with.

Now that the band is about to perform their second encore in Manila, we at FlipGeeks revisit their beginnings, evolution, as well as each of the member’s profiles.

From Regular 1:00 Weekends to ONE OK ROCK

The foundation for ONE OK ROCK began when Toru Yamashita, then a high school student, wanted to start a band. He told his friend Ryota Kohama, a fellow member of the hip hop dance group Heads, to learn the bass and asked Alex Onizawa to join. After seeing Taka Morita perform in a cover band, Toru insisted that he join. Drummer Tomoya Kanki had been playing with them since 2006, but only became an official member when they debuted in 2007.

The band’s name, ONE OK ROCK, comes from “one o’clock”, the time that the band used to practice on weekends. However, noticing that the Japanese language made no distinction between r’s and l’s, they changed “o’clock” to “o’crock” (or “o’krock”), which was then separated to become “ok rock”.

From Punk Rock to Western Sounds

After releasing their second studio album Beam of Light in 2008, the band felt like they weren’t in the right mood during the creation of the album, mentioning that they have not captured the right sound and trademark, thus hindering them from “growing” as a group. It took them countless trials and another studio album (Kanjou Effect) in November 2008 when the group decided to settle on the western audio aesthetic, which has since became OOR’s trademark.


It was the studio album Kanjou Effect in November 2008 that introduced One OK Rock’s trademark sound as a band.

Truth be told, their decision brought them the success they yearned since their early days. They have then headlined various music festivals in Asia, and had performed as guests in a number of concerts by international music acts. But it was their inclusion in the live-action adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin’s soundtrack that elevated them further to mainstream success.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The Men Behind The Name

The group started with five members: Lead vocalist Taka Morita, rhythm guitarist Toru Yamashita, bassist Ryota Kohama, drummer Tomoya Kanki, and lead guitarist Alex Onizawa. After the latter’s departure to US in 2009, the band felt for a time that they won’t be able to move on without Onizawa on board. However, they have ultimately decided to continue as a four-man group, with Toru taking on Alex’ position as lead guitarist.


Taka Morita (born April 17, 1988 in Tokyo), known professionally as Taka, serves as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the group. Prior to his inclusion with OOR, he once fronted a band known as NEWS back in 2003. Apart from his vocal contributions in the group, he has also collaborated with musicians and bands such as Aimer, Sum 41, Simple Plan, RADWIMPS, and Against the Current. He also performed alongside the remaining members of Linkin Park during the tribute for the late Chester Bennington in 2017.


Toru Yamashita (born December 7, 1988 in Osaka), better known as Toru, is the guitarist and leader of the group. He was in the hip-hop group HEADS with Ryota Kohama prior to their membership with OOR back in 2002. He is heavily influenced by Foo Fighters, The Smashing Pumpkins, Enter Shikari, Linkin Park, Good Charlotte, Sleeping With Sirens, Nirvana, The Used, Avril Lavigne, and Biffy Clyro. He often uses Gibson Les Paul guitars, but has since alternated with PRS guitars.


Ryota Kohama (born September 4, 1989), more known as Ryota, is the bassist of the group. He was a part of the hip-hop group HEADS with Toru before it disbanded in 2002. Ryota has used many different basses, but he mostly uses Warwick basses. He has three Warwick Streamer LX4 and two Warwick Streamer LX5 with different color. Ryota prefers to play clean, but sometimes he adds distortion to his bassline. He has also married Avril Lavigne’s sister Michelle Lavigne in February 2017, and is now a dad to a lovely baby girl.


Tomoya Kanki (born June 27, 1987 in Hyogo), better known as Tomoya, is the drummer and percussionist of the group. He played drums on ONE OK ROCK indie releases but did not officially join until 2007. Tomoya came from ESP Musical Academy where he used to be a teacher. He has the most curious hobbies among the band members and the eldest member of ONE OK ROCK. He is the one who often updates the ONE OK ROCK blog. Like Ryota, he has also entered the married life in 2017.

As the name of their latest album implies, there is more to come for ONE OK ROCK. Evolving at each passing time, it would seem that there is no stopping the band from dominating the world stage, eventually fulfilling their life-long ambitions.

Catch ONE OK ROCK as they perform live in Manila tomorrow (January 29, 2018). For tickets, visit SM Tickets online. Gates open at 4pm, and the actual concert begins at 8pm. 

Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.