Japanese song

Cultivating the Heart of Japanese Song in the United States

Noriko Yonami performs a duet of “Amagi Goe” with Mr. Arai. (Photos by TOMOKO NAGAI / Rafu Shimpo)

Nippon Kashu Kyokai USA Tomonokai (Japan Singers Association USA Friendship Club) had its inauguration ceremony on September 5th at the Miyako Hybrid hotel in Torrance.

USA Tomonokai was born from a meeting between the association and its founder, Akira Fujimoto, who visited Japan in June. Fujimoto is passionate about his belief that Japanese songs will be a source of vitality for Japanese and English speakers, and that they will spread and develop in the United States.

The members of the board of directors of the Japanese association congratulated the American branch. Video messages were sent by Chairman Yasuo Tanabe, Chairman of the Board Michito Goda and Board members Shizue Abe and Linda Yamamoto. They thanked the Tomonokai for seeking to extend Japanese musical culture to the United States and expressed their wish to come to the United States to perform a day after the passage of COVID-19.

Yamamoto said, “We are doing our best during the pandemic. We are in the same boat. “

At the ceremony with around 40 attendees, Tomonokai looked at his future through a PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Shinichi Hirokawa, Chairman of the Board of Tomonokai, who hopes to grow the US network of Tomonokai members.

Presenter Eriko Sanjo (far left) with the six award winners.

He presented some examples of Japanese song culture that has been adapted to foreign music, such as Latin rhythms. He noted that by the 1970s the Ventures had composed very “Japanese” hit songs such as “Ame no Midosuji” and that “Japanese urban pop music in the 80s” is sort of all the rage in the States. -United at this time.

He projected the possibility of a Japanese song culture in the United States. Thinking of the English-speaking audience, the group established their English website earlier than the Japanese site.

“If Mr. Fujimoto is the CEO of a company’s Japanese head office, I’m in the overseas branch,” Hirokawa explained, “You know, Japanese sushi has become an international food with the invention of the roll. Californian. I think it’s the same with song culture. I want to adapt Japanese song culture to the international landscape.

The ceremony was followed by the presentation of the “Professional Singer Certificate” from the Nippon Kashu Kyokai audition program. Among the local singers were Shoko Helm, who achieved the highest score in the audition singing “Haha no Ai” (Mother’s Love); Akira Fujimoto singing “Hana mo Arashi mo”; and Japanese-American singer Mark Sanno singing “Ai San San”.

Kevin Kamei, a participant who respects the goal of Tomonokai, said: “I believe that the songs represent the heart of the countries. They represent human joy and the life they live. I feel very Japanese when I sing and imitate Hiroshi Itsuki’s gestures.

Tomonokai is supporting two local Japanese song events so far in the first half of next year in the hopes that in-person events are generally safe by then. One is the Spring Song Festival on March 26 and the other is the Himawari Karaoke Club 30th Anniversary Show on June 19, for which singer Yuji Kitagawa, a Japanese artist, will be a special guest.

For more information, email [email protected] or go online at https://www.nipponkashukyoukaiusa.org/ or http://www.nkk.or.jp/sp/index .html.