American audiences may have been familiar with Pizzicato Five for the past six years, but the group is actually 15 years old.
According to All Music Guide, Pizzicato Five formed as far back as 1979, when university students Konishi Yasuharu and Takanami Keitaro first met at a local music society meeting.
They recruited fellow society member Ryo Kamamiya but didn't find a singer till late 1984, when Sasaki Mamiko joined the band. Pizzicato Five made its debut in 1986 but went through a series of line-up changes. Sasaki and Kamamiya left the group in 1988, replaced by vocalist Takao Tajima, who in turn quit the following year.
Nomiya Maki assumed singing duties in 1990, and by 1994, Pizzicato Five secured a label deal in the United States. Takanami quit shortly after the release of the band's debut EP, "Five By Five," and Pizzicato Five has been a duo ever since.
After releasing two collections of the its past work on Matador, Pizzicato Five released its first full collection of original work in the States with 1997's Happy End of the World.
Since then, the group has released two more albums on the American label, Playboy and Playgirl in 1999 and the cleverly-titled The Fifth Release on Matador in 2000.
Nomiya Maki released a solo album in Japan, and after releasing a new studio album in their native homeland, the duo announced the end of Pizzicato Five in March 2001.