Namie Amuro’s ‘BEST FICTION’ wins Japan Record Awards Best Album

The Japan Record Awards were held on Tuesday. The big winner was EXILE, who added the top prize to their growing list of honors this year. Their song ‘Ti Amo’ was chosen for the Japan Record Award out of 12 nominees, which included artists such as Kiyoshi Hikawa, TVXQ, and Kumi Koda. For EXILE, this is one step up from last year, when they won the Best Singer award with ‘Toki no Kakera.’

The title of Best New Artist was given to enka singer Jero, while Best Singer went to Mitsuko Nakamura. It was already known earlier this month that Namie Amuro’s ‘BEST FICTION’ was chosen for Best Album.

(Link: EXILE, Jero win Japan Record Awards – Tokyograph.)

MINA to rejoin MAX!

After leaving MAX in 2002, original member MINA has returned to the group filling in the spot left by the exit of AKI back in August of this year (who ironically took her place). In 2002, MINA left the group to raise her child (she now has two children) and since last year has been active locally in Okinawa as a dance instructor for the audition show “Okinawan Aidoru (Idol)” on RBC. (“Okinawan Aidoru” featured Takako Uehara [SPEED] and comedy duo Kyan x Kyan as MC.)

To mark MINA’s return to the group, a new single titled “Are you ready?” is scheduled to be released on December 10th as a bonus track on their latest compilation album “NEW EDITION~MAXIMUM HITS~.” This won’t be just a rerelease, but rather, new arrangements and a new sound of their mega hit songs. The CD, available in two versions, can be pre-ordered at CD Japan: CD+DVD or CD-only.

MAX Official Website

(Via goo Entertainment News.)

Syakari celebrates 10th anniversary with a best of album

Pop group Syakari will be marking their 10th anniversary with their very first best of album titled “10th anniversary BEST~Boku to Iu Na no Chizu~.” The 15-track album will be released on 10/22/08 and retail for ¥2,800.

Included is their single (above YouTube clip) “Taiyou no Hito” and the best of album spans their album releases from 1999’s “Kotoba no Kawari ni” to 2007’s “Uta Yabira”—they’ve released six albums to date.


Trivia: Syakari’s lead vocalist, Chiaki (from Chatan), got her start singing chorus for DIAMANTES, drummer/guitarist/sanshin/percussionist Kannari (Kazunari Uechi) started out with Rinken Band, and guitarist Masaru is often featured on albums from other artists. The name Syakari is a rearranged version of the area of Chatan that Chiaki is from, Jagaru, known for their eisaa.

(Via Campus Record Staff Blog.)

Monpachi to release best album – Tokyograph

Popular rock band MONGOL800 (also known as ‘Monpachi’) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a best hits album, titled ‘etc works.’ The collection features not only their own songs, but also collaborations with other artists (such as RYUKYUDISKO and RIP SLYME) and covers they performed for the tribute albums of Unicorn and Husking Bee.

‘etc works’ hits stores on July 8.

(Link: Monpachi to release best album – Tokyograph.)

With four albums in their discography (the last one 2006’s “Daniel), “etc works” covers a decade’s worth of material for the band. While we don’t have a track listing yet, it’s a sure bet that “Chiisana Koi no Uta” (the YouTube video above) will be in it.

Joutou (best) of 2007

What’s a blog without a Best of 2007 list? I’ve been planning to do one for a couple of weeks now but you know how that goes so here it is, barebones and just in for the final day of 2007.


Artist: Kazutoshi Matsuda
Title: Diigunii
Genre: Shimauta
Released: 6/15/2007
It took him a few sessions with other musicians to finally release his own but it was well-worth the wait. I loved the whole album upon first listen (I may’ve called it “Shamichiriti Ver. 2”) with the tracks that received the most plays in iTunes: “Kuyami Bushi”, “Asadoya Yunta” (it’s probably not the version you’re thinking of), “Chatan Mura”, “Eisaa Gashira” and “Hama Sodachi”.


Artist: Cocco
Title: Jugon (Dugong) no Mieru Oka
Genre: J-pop
Released: 11/21/2007 (Japan nationwide release version)
An emotional song filled of love for a pair of dugongs that returned to Henoko, Okinawa. It also features Cocco on the sanshin and singing lyrics to an Okinawan children’s song called “Ittaa Anmaa Maakaiga” towards the end of the song.


Artist: Yui Aragaki
Title: Sora
Genre: J-pop
Released: 12/5/2007
It would be pretty hard to mention anything related to Okinawan pop culture in 2007 without mentioning Gakky’s name. She tore it up on several of Oricon’s popularity rankings, released three films, a drama (the entertaining “Papa to Musume no Nanokakan”) and of course, her debut album.


Title: Okinawa Iyashiuta ∼ Chimugusui
Genre: Shimauta, O-pop
Released: 10/24/2007
A really good mix of artists both minyou and pop, and a lot of really nice songs. Honestly, my sole reason to purchase it was the Toru Yonaha song “Nishikaji” so the rest of the songs on the album was just a bonus. Songs that stand out for me: “Hoshi no Sekai” by tink tink, “recorder II” by Makico Miyara (of Churamana) and “Nachikasa nu Kaze” by Ishigakijima duo Orange Clover. (Of the three, I’m totally in love with Makico’s voice at the moment.)

Title: Miikaji ∼ Tubi Tui nu Gutu ni ∼
Genre: Shimauta
Released: 4/26/2007
A compilation that’s a glimpse into the future of the Okinawan minyou world with one artist — Kazutoshi Matsuda (see Best Album) — who’s already made a big name for himself in 2007. Next to reach up from this compilation in 2008? Tatsuya Shimabukuro who is currently recording for his album. My favorite? Akane Murayoshi. The version of her “Miyarabi nu Hana” that’s in this compilation pales in comparison to the one with an acoustic guitar backing her but still worth a listen.