I like the mix of enka singing and jazzy brass. Fuji-san, mother of singer Hikaru Utada committed suicide in Nishi Shinjuku this week.
I discovered enka heart-throb Hikawa Kiyoshi (氷川きよし) on the New Year’s Eve Kouhaku show. He did a big enka ballad in an over-sexed Arabian Nights production with gyrating belly-dancers. I love how in this image above he’s in front of a (very not gay) rainbow. It’s good to see that some youths are willing to entertain the nation’s growing population of elderly.
CNNGo has a fun interview with Numata Manabu, a Tokyo photographer who has been creating commercial and artistic images of male hosts for five years. I love these group portraits. Numata-san wants the viewer to see the hosts as individuals, and believes that many are smart and hard-working.
Numata-san also describes a progression in male hosts’ visual style, from old-school enka, to Kimutaku look-alikes, other popular Johnny’s boys, gyaruo and visual-kei. I think the kimono look is extra-festive!