5 Japanese Artists you may not know before

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

#Enka (演歌) is a popular Japanese #music genre considered to resemble traditional Japanese #music stylistically. Modern #enka, however, is a relatively recent musical form, while adopting a more traditional musical style in its vocalism than

#Ryukoka(流行歌)music, popular during the prewar years.

① Tottori Shunyo (1900-1932)

Enka was once considered as a #politic-related genre, in #MeijiPeriod just like #AllenGinsberg's anti-war speech in the anti-war movement. An occupation called #Enka-Shi(street singer) emerged at that time, #TottoriShunyo is one of the most famous Enka-Shi.

In the #TaishoPeriod(1912–26), enka-shi began to incorporate the violin, thus their songs were called violin enka. Shunyo was good at composition, and After his release of Kago no Tori, he signed with Orient Records to became the fully contructed composer.

Here is one of his hit records, #AsakusaKouta(Asakusa Ballad),

Awaya Noriko(1907-1999)

Accurately, #AwayaNoriko was a not an Enka singer, She critized Enka many times in the past, Noriko was a Japanese female #SopranoChanteuse and popular music (ryūkōka) singer. She was dubbed the "Queen of Blues" in Japan.

She was the oldest daughter of a wealthy merchant. In 1910, her family's home was destroyed in the #AomoriCityfire. Ten years later they were bankrupt, and in 1923 she, along with her mother and younger sister, went to Tokyo. She studyed piano and vocal in a music school (currently Tokyo College of Music )in Tokyo, with the aim of becoming Opera singer, she tried quite hard to study classical music at the same time.

However, due to her poverty, she had to sing pop song in Asakusa Denkikan for earning money, she was once forced to leave school for a year for her pop career. After then, she worked as a nude model. Eventually, she returned to the music academy, and graduated top of her class in 1929.

One of her hit song, #別れのブルース, #Farewellintheblues

③ Misora Hibari (1937‐1989)

Misora Hibari was a Japanese singer, actress and cultural icon.

Misora was born in Yokohama. Her father is a #fishmonger.

Her recording career began, aged 12, in 1949. She changed her stage name to Hibari Misora, which means "lark in the beautiful sky," and starred in the film Nodojiman-kyō jidai(のど自慢狂時代). The film gained her nationwide recognition. She recorded her first single Kappa Boogie-Woogie for Columbia Records later that year.It became a commercial hit, selling more than 450,000 copies. She subsequently recorded "#Kanashikikuchibue", which was featured on a radio program and was a national hit.

④ Mikawa Kenichi (1946-now)

Mikawa is Japanese singer and TV personality, known for his outspoken views and onē (elder sister) style.

He recorded a number of hit songs as a male enka singer in the 1960s and 1970s. The most well-known of his songs include "Sasoriza no Onna" and "Yanagase Blues". His career went into decline in the mid-1970s, but revived about 10 years later when he adopted his current style. He makes frequent appearances on TV talk and variety shows, and is also known as a regular performer on Kōhaku Uta Gassen, the popular New Year's Eve music show. One of the highlights of that show is his annual contest with enka singer Sachiko Kobayashi for the most elaborate costume.

Mikawa is openly gay.

⑤ Fuji Keiko (1951-2013)

Abe Junko, known primarily by the stage name Keiko Fuj was a Japanese enka singer and actress. She had success in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s with her ballad-type songs. She was married on-and-off with Utada Teruzane and was the mother of Japanese singer songwriter Utada Hikaru.

Fuji was born in Iwate Prefecture, where her father was a rōkyoku singer. Her mother was a rōkyoku shamisen player . As a child, Fuji sometimes accompanied her parents and sang with them when they were on tour.

Her debut album, Shinjuku no Onna/Enka no Hoshi Fuji Keiko no Subete (新宿の女/演歌の星 藤圭子のすべて Shinjuku woman, my everything), released 5 March 1970, topped the Oricon album chart for 20 consecutive weeks, and her next album Onna no Blues (女のブルース, Woman's Blues), released 5 July 1970, continued topping that chart for 17 consecutive weeks. She topped the Oricon album chart for a 37 consecutive weeks, an incredible record in Japan's music history. Her debut album's number-one record of 20 consecutive weeks remains the longest consecutive number-one record in Oricon history.

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