On artwork and promotional material, the band name is typeset in all capitals as "EXILE". The leader of the group is Hiro, who debuted as a member of Zoo under For Life Music, but Exile has released their singles and albums under Avex Group's label Rhythm Zone. Hiro and Avex's president Max Matsuura came from the same high school
In total, they have sold over 17 million records just in Japan.
The current leader Hiro was originally in the band Zoo before they split up in 1995. In 1999, he started a new group called J Soul Brothers, which later changed its name to Exile in 2001. (But the name of J Soul Brothers was later revived by Hiro again in 2007 when he helped to form another 7-member group under the new J Soul Brothers moniker.)
Atsushi and Shun became the lead vocalists of the group. Atsushi is a fan of American R&B group Boyz II Men. In November 2003, Exile remade Zoo's hit single "Choo Choo Train", which became a strong promotional single for their third studio album Exile Entertainment. The album sold over a million copies. They took part in the NHK K?haku Uta Gassen of the year, singing "Choo Choo Train." At first, their music style was influenced by R&B, but their style later became more pop-oriented form. Their 2004 single "Real World" became their first number-one single on Oricon weekly charts. They released the collaboration "Scream" with Japanese rock band Glay in July 2005, peaking at No. 1 and selling over 500,000 copies on Oricon charts.
The group released "Tada...Aitakute" in December 2005 and "Yes!" in March 2006. Both singles topped the Oricon weekly charts. However, Shun left the group in March 2006 and became a solo singer. After the group sought a new vocalist from the public, Takahiro joined the group in September 2006. Takahiro originally tried to become a hairdresser in his school days, but eventually joined the group as a vocalist.
On February 14, 2007, the group released the single "Michi," which became their first number-one single on the Oricon charts since Takahiro joined the group. Their 2007 studio album, Exile Love, became the highest selling album of Japan in 2008, selling nearly 1.5 million copies on Oricon charts. Their compilation album Exile Ballad Best sold nearly 1 million copies in its first week on Oricon charts, making it the highest first week sales for an album of Japan in 2008. The song, "Ti Amo", was certified Million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for 1,000,000 full-track ringtone digital music downloads (Chaku Uta Full).They also won the Grand Prix Award at the 50th edition of Japan Record Awards for "Ti Amo".
In 2009, Exile's song "The Next Door" was featured as the theme of Japanese edition of Street Fighter IV. The song was released at the iTunes Store on February 22, 2009. The English version "The Next Door -Indestructible-" was used for the international edition of the game. The English version was released as the third track of their single "The Hurricane (Fireworks)" on July 22, 2009, featuring American rapper Flo Rida.
On March 1, 2009, Exile and J Soul Brothers announced to merge as a 14-member group. They released their first studio album under the 14 members, Aisubeki Mirai e, on December 2, 2009. They won the Grand Prix Award for the song, "Someday", at the 51st Japan Record Awards.
On May 19, 2010, the CD of the suite "Taiy? no Kuni" , or "The Country of the Sun," written by Yasushi Akimoto and sung by Exile, was released for the 20 years anniversary of the accedence of the Emperor of Japan Akihito. However, the CD was not reflected on the Oricon charts
Hiro, real name Hiroyuki Igarashi June 1, 1969 – leader of the group
Makidai, real name Daisuke Maki October 27, 1975
Matsu, real name Toshio Matsumoto born May 27, 1975.
Usa, real name Yoshihiro Usami born February 2, 1977.
Akira, real name Ry?hei Kurosawa born August 23, 1981 – was a member of Rather Unique and joined the group 2006 summer.
Kenchi, real name Ken'ichir? Teratsuji born September 28, 1979.
Keiji, real name Keiji Kuroki born January 21, 1980.
Tetsuya, real name Tetsuya Tsuchida born February 18, 1981.
Naoto, real name Naoto Kataoka born August 30, 1983.
Naoki, real name Naoki Kobayashi born November 10, 1984.
Atsushi, real name Atsushi Sat? born April 30, 1980.
Takahiro, real name Takahiro Tasaki born December 8, 1984 – the new vocalist chosen to replace Shun during the "Exile Vocal Battle Audition 2006: Asian Dream" summer audition.
Vocalists & Performers
Nesmith, real name Nesmith Ryuta Karimu born August 1, 1983.
Shokichi, real name Shokichi Yagi born October 3, 1985.
Shun, real name Shunsuke Kiyokiba born January 11, 1980 – currently a solo artist under his real name.