On December 7th, 2023, Japanese girl group ATARASHII GAKKO! made their U.S. television debut, performing their hit single “Tokyo Calling” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Clad in their signature school uniforms and helmets, the four-piece group delivered an energetic performance that brought the music video’s iconic visuals to the American late-night stage.
Since its YouTube premiere on October 19th, 2023, the “Tokyo Calling” music video has already amassed 5 million views. Its visuals pay homage to classic Japanese Kaiju and Tokusatsu films like Godzilla and Ultraman. The group’s stage attire at their Jimmy Kimmel performance was a replica of the stylized superhero-inspired uniforms worn in the music video. Their lively choreography and charismatic facial expressions also mirrored sequences from the popular video.
Fan reactions to the late night debut highlight the group’s growing international appeal. YouTube commenter @textbookapologist wrote, “Shout out to yonkey. This beat is just menacing.” While @TheAMaazing said, “Why can’t I stop listening to this, banger tune.” The show’s viewers were equally impressed, with the Jimmy Kimmel Live YouTube upload of the performance gaining almost 300,000 views in 4 days.
The four members of ATARSHII GAKKO! are Mizyu, Rin, Suzuka, and Kanon. With their Jimmy Kimmel Live performance, the group continues to gain momentum in the West after a string of international festival appearances in 2022 and their first North American tour in early 2023.
Formed in 2015, ATARASHII GAKKO! rejects conformity in Japanese society. Their sound fuses jazz and pop, while their lyrics tackle pressing social issues. As Japanese publication MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON wrote, the group adopted a philosophy of challenging the norms. This rebellious spirit manifests through the group’s avant-garde visuals and conceptual performances.
“Tokyo Calling” becomes more uplifting sonically towards the end – the lyrics shifting to themes of unity and hope. The group’s message seems to resonate widely, with the single proving to be their biggest international hit thus far. As the group continues to amass global fans, their Jimmy Kimmel Live performance marks an important career milestone. Perhaps it’s only the beginning of ATARASHII GAKKO!’s quest to bring their unique vision to the world stage.