Don't Dream It, Be It: Jero's Enchanting Enka Legacy

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 1, 2012 11:33pm | Post a Comment
In Japan, you'd have to living under a rock to not know Jero (or ジェロ) and prior to 2003 an event listing like the concert poster pictured below might have drawn attention for all the wrong reasons (see: Other).

enka singer jero african american history month japan jerome white

There is certainly nothing inherently other about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native Jero, Jerome Charles White, Jr., but he stands apart from the pack in that he has, before the age of thirty, achieved living his dream of becoming the first successful African-American Enka singer in Japanese music history.

jero jerome charles white enka singer japanese pop vocals black history month african american mixed heritage jero enka singer grandmother takiko japan american back history month african mixed heritage traditional pop vocals

Jero grew up among a str
ong influence of Japanese culture and began singing Enka at an early age due to his Japanese grandmother Takiko's enthusiasm for the genre. She had met Jero's grandfather, an African-American serviceman, at a dance in Yokohama during World War II. They married, had a daughter - Jero's mother Harumi - and eventually moved to Pittsburgh, his grandfather's hometown. Though his parents divorced when he was still very young Jero was reared under the cultural influence and familial guidance of his Japanese grandmother and his Japan-born mother in a mixed-heritage household.

On the 3rd Day of *J-Pop* Christmas: Puffy's "R.G.W."

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 23, 2011 10:33pm | Post a Comment
This next addition to the 12 Days of J-Pop Christmas list comes color-coded and choreographed for high-impact holiday fun. Put on your boogie shoes, here comes Puffy in decked out in red, green and white with their music video for "R.G.W." Only two more days 'til Christmas

On the 4th Day of *J-Pop* Christmas: Halcali's "Strawberry Chips" lift some tree skirts!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 22, 2011 12:00am | Post a Comment
Today's addish to the 12 Days of J-Pop Christmas countdown is a special one for the holiday hams in my house as this video for Halcali's hip-hoppin', bottle-poppin and pillow-fightin'  Christmas hit "Strawberry Chips" directly influenced the design and style of the Tree Skirts - that loveable duo that brought a little naughty but nice Christmas cheer to this years' Amobepalooza/holiday party jam (if I do say so myself). Anyhoo, if you find yourself short on the sort of girlish charm and whimsy that makes one want to have a post-shopping spree sleepover pie-toss then this is a visual experience to revel in.

On the 5th Day of *J-Pop* Christmas: I remember when all I wanted for Chritmas was [a] Unicorn

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 21, 2011 12:00am | Post a Comment
unicorn japanese pop j-pop band yuki ga furu machi holiday christmas new year song tamio okuda rock
It's come to this. I'm indulging today in posting what just might be the "fiiiive goooolllld riiiiiings!" equivalent to my most beloved personal favorites when it comes to this addition to the 12 Days of J-Pop Christmas countdown, the wonderful, white Christmas-y 「雪が降る町」(or perhaps "Snow Town" for a blunt translation) by late 80's/early 90's Japanese pop/rock unit Unicorn. This song isn't necessarily a Christmas song, but something more of a New Year's jam replete nostalgic lyrics fed by an emotional current moated with eddies of loss and regret, the kind of feelings a winter home-coming begets. Depending on how it gets to you, that feeling alone is Christmas-ish enough to warrant inclusion here. Also, there's snow!

It's no wonder the song begins with a lyric indicating a dislike for going out among the the holiday crowds, the city boy opting instead for an "over the river and though the woods" type of getaway to his down-home backwoods beginnings with the knowledge that snow is already falling there "again this year". He ponders getting a souvenir for his sweetheart and then contemplates the few remaining days in the year before adopting something of a fuck it, it's the end of the year attitude, reveling in the simpler times realness of the postcard perfect country snowscape.

Maybe it's because I always get a little homesick around this time of year, maybe I'm swimming against my own emotional currents and eddies linked to Christmases past. Maybe, just maybe I'm overdoing it a bit, but I like I said up top I'm indulging myself today. :p

Unicorn - 「雪が降る町」(Yuki ga furu Machi)

On the 6th Day of *J-Pop* Christmas: Chara's "X'mas Spirit!"

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 20, 2011 12:00am | Post a Comment
japanese pop j-pop chara x'mas spirit spirits carol christmas album holiday single fashion singer diva
I. Love. Chara. Her filthy doll-baby voice is so sweet it's like diabetes on icing and the lady is always serving quirky pretty face, face, face and turning out fierce fashions. At best her acoustic pop is catchy and anthemic, her hippy-dippy freak-flag never far from fully unfurled. Below, clocking in at the half-way point in the 12 Days of *J-PopChristmas countdown, I give you Chara performing alongside lithe-legged, high-heeled dancing Christmas gifts in her jazzy-ass video for "X'mas Spirits!"

Chara - "X'mas Spirits!"

BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  >>  NEXT