Dragon Ash (ドラゴンアッシュ, Doragon Asshu?) are a Japanese rap rock group founded in 1996 by Kenji "Kj" Furuya and Sakurai Makoto. They were one of the first groups to popularize hip hop in Japan. They brought a western flavor to Japanese music and helped to turn rap music mainstream, with a mixture of reggae, hip hop, metal, punk, drum 'n' bass, rhythm 'n' blues and Spanish music influences. Some of their best known songs include "Shizuka na Hibi no Kaidan Wo", "Grateful Days", "Life Goes On", and "I Love Hip Hop". Kenji has stated in several interviews that the reason Dragon Ash started out as a pseudo-punk band was because, at the time, punk was popular in Japan, and his handlers felt that the hip hop image would not sell. He has also noted that hip hop has always been first in his book, but he did what was necessary to become successful in the industry. Dragon Ash is a member of Mob Squad, which is an affiliation with the bands Source and Endive.