How did Akira Tsuneoka die? Drummer of Hi-standard band cause of death and obituary

Akira Tsuneoka
Akira Tsuneoka

Akira Tsuneoka, the drummer for the band Hi-STANDARD and Summertime, passed away unexpectedly on February 14. Let’s see, how did Akira Tsuneoka die and Akira Tsuneoka cause of death in detail.

How did Akira Tsuneoka die?

Akira Tsuneoka, the famous Japanese drummer, passed away at the age of 51. This sad news was announced on the SNS of Pizza of Death, a label belonging to Hi-Standard.

The statement from the band reads, Dear fans and concerned parties,

Akira Tsuneoka, the drummer of our company Hi-STANDARD passed away on February 14, 2023.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are currently confirming the details. Thank you for your understanding.

We would like to ask the media to be considerate of the deep sorrow of their families, relatives, and members, and to refrain from posting articles based on interviews or speculation.”

Tsuneoka was a founding member of Hi-Standard in 1991. The three-piece rose to prominence in the late ’90s after signing to Fat Wreck Chords. He remained with the band until his untimely passing. We’ll be keeping Akira’s family, friends, and bandmates in our thoughts.”

Who was Akira Tsuneoka?

Tsuneoka was born in 1971. He used to play the guitar, but when he was in his third year of junior high school, he played the drums and fell in love with them. 

After graduating from high school, he was invited by Akihiro Namba to join the studio, where he founded Hi-STANDARD alongside Ken Yokoyama and others. 

Originally it was a quartet, but the vocalist withdrew, and it became a trio organization that continues today. 

He said in an interview in January 2018, which was published on the cover, “We thought about what the three of us could do and what the three of us wanted to do, and we kept getting better and better.” I look back on those days.

Akira Tsuneoka Musical Career:

The first mini-album, “LAST OF SUNNY DAY,” was published in 1994. They rocked the music industry with their English-language lyrics and punk sound. 

They released their full-length album “Growing Up” the next year, in 1995, and made their major-label debut.  It was also made available internationally, which provided a chance to spread the name of Hi-STANDARD. 

The band’s fame grew over time, and their 1997 single “ANGRY FIST” peaked at number four on the Oricon list. 

He hosted AIR JAM, his first music festival, in the same year.  Melocore is a well-established scene with enduring popularity. 

His playing style, which is focused on an exhilarating beat with lots of speed, has gained a lot of fans. He said in an interview, “I was honestly happy about the growth of the band. On the other hand, I was worried about ‘what will happen from now on?’ “

In 1999, independent label PIZZA OF DEATH released “MAKING THE ROAD.” Despite being an independent label, they have achieved a milestone in the Japanese music industry by selling more than 1 million copies both domestically and abroad. 

AIR JAM 2000 took place at Chiba Marine Stadium in 2000. With an overwhelming crowd, the band performed at its peak, but Hi-STANDARD broke up after this point. 

Mr. Tsuneoka tried to avoid music after the break, but Matsuda “CHABE” Takeji invited him to join CUBISMO GRAFICO FIVE. He also took part in THE BEAT BREAKER and LOW IQ. 

He began working as a session drummer around the same period and has since supported Chatmonchy, Elmaro, and Yoko Kanno. 

Three people decorated the covers of the drum magazine, bass magazine, and guitar magazine in order to create a single image when the three publications were placed side by side to honor the band’s total rebirth. 

Akira Tsuneoka
A three-magazine interlocking project realized at the release timing of “The Gift”. Mr. Tsuneoka decorated the cover


The resumption of Hi-operations STANDARD was announced to support the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. 

It is reported that “STAY GOLD” was the first song the three of them wrote together after a long break. For the first time in 11 years, AIR JAM 2011 was hosted at Yokohama Stadium in September, and they made a big bird’s comeback.

Akira Tsuneoka Albums:

For the first time in 16 years, they released the single “Another Starting Line” in 2016. The long-awaited album’s arrival was anticipated, but “The Gift” arrived in 2017. 

The lengthy interview lasted for more than 4 hours, and despite his poor interviewing skills, he spoke at length about his upbringing, the band’s rebirth, and obscure details of the album’s recording. 

In response to the question, “Purely, without overdoing it, I want to perform naturally, not just playing, but I want to be a little more natural while being swept away by the time.”

A three-magazine project that was completed in time for the release of “The Gift.” For the first time, Mr. Tsuneoka decorated the cover.

He founded the summertime in 2020 alongside Shige Murata. Additionally, he performs frequently as a session drummer, taking part in live shows and recordings by artists including Eriko Hashimoto, Aimyon, YOUR SONG IS GOOD., Curly Giraffe, and Hidefumi Ino.

In 2021, when he turned 50, he held a solo live titled “AKIRA 50%” and celebrated the milestone of his life with musicians who are closely related to him.

Akira Tsuneoka cause of death:

Tsuneoka, who influenced many players as a drummer for Hi-STANDARD, passed away suddenly. He was 51 years old. Akira Tsuneoka cause of death was not disclosed. 

His sudden demise shocked everyone who knew him. Following the death announcement, social media was flooded with tributes. 

Tributes to Akira Tsuneoka:

Rhythm & Drums Magazine posted,

R.I.P. 章Hi-STANDARD drummer who “invented” the one and only beat, Yokohama Shokyu
Hi-STANDARD, summertime drummer, Mr. Sho Tsuko passed away on February 14. Announced on SNS of PIZZA OF DEATH, a Hi-STANDARD affiliated label. 51 years of age.
May your soul rest in peace.

Toru Futamura Hoshikawa posted,

“I won’t forget when you said to me “stay gold”” Thank you Akira Tsuneoka, we never forget you!
R.I.P. posteed,

Unexpected, heartbreaking news. Rest in peace, Akira.

Eboi Oca posted,

Punk rock music… Japanese Hi-Standard drummer Akira Tsuneoka passed away… tsk tsk RIP

Gilz tweeted,

RIP @AkiratsuneokA, drummer of Hi-STANDARD. My god this is so shocking and heartbreaking.. So long Tsune-san


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