Japanese electropop band, formed in 1978.
The principal members are Haruomi Hosono (bass), Yukihiro Takahashi (drums) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (keyboards).
The band was originally conceived as a one-off studio project by Hosono, the other two members being recruited session musicians - the idea was to produce an album fusing orientalist exotica (cf their cover version of Martin Denny's Firecracker) with modern electronics. However the first album (with its cutting-edge production) was very popular, and the studio project grew into a fully fledged touring band and career for its three members.
Making abundant use of new synthesizers, samplers, digital and computer recording technology as it became available, their popularity and influence extended beyond Japan. Generally the band are highly regarded as pioneers of electronic music, and continue to be remixed and sampled by modern artists.
The band had stopped working together by 1984 (deliberately using a Japanese term meaning "spreading out" or "branching out" rather than saying they were "splitting up"); the three members returning to their solo careers but continuing to collaborate. They released a one-off reunion album, Technodon, in 1993.
The early 2000s saw Hosono & Takahashi reunited in a project called Sketch Show. On a number of occasions Ryuichi Sakamoto has joined in on Sketch Show performances and recording sessions. He later proposed they rename the unit "Human Audio Sponge" when he participates, although outside Japan they also used "Yellow Magic Orchestra" until ownership issues with former label Alfa were resolved, so subsequent live releases use the original band name.
Oricon chart statistics -
Technopolis : 9 in Oricon chart, 293,000 copies sold
Rydeen: 15 in Oricon chart, 225,000 copies sold
Tighten Up: 43 in Oricon chart, 38,000 copies sold
Kimi Ni Mune Kyun: 2 in Oricon chart, 347,000 copies sold
Kageki Na Shukujo: 15 in Oricon chart, 79,000 copies sold
Ishin Denshin: 23 on Oricon chart, 57,000 copies sold
Yellow Magic Orchestra (US Mix): 20 on Oricon chart, 250,000 copies sold
Solid State Survivor: 1 on Oricon chart, 1,021,000 copies sold
Public Pressure: 1 on Oricon chart, 393,000 copies sold
Multiplies (Mini LP): 1 on Oricon chart, 412,000 copies sold
Multiplies (US version): 7 on Oricon chart, 186,000 copies sold
BGM: 2 on Oricon chart, 275,000 copies sold
Technodelic: 4 on Oricon chart, 118,000 copies sold
Naughty Boys: 1 on Oricon chart, 243,000 copies sold
Naughty Boys Instrumental: 18 on Oricon chart, 31,000 copies sold
Service: 5 on Oricon chart, 135,000 copies sold
After Service: 2 on Oricon chart, 123,000 copies sold
(Source - booklet of the compilation "We Love YMO", 1998)