2021 Marks SPEED’s 25th Anniversary

Wow, it’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since SPEED made their debut. To commemorate this occasion the group released a special box set called SPEED MUSIC BOX -ALL THE MEMORIES- for ¥19,968 ($199 USD) containing several booklets, CDs, and Blu-rays — definitely a must-have item for diehard fans. Of the 4 members, …

YouTube: Yonaha Tōru Band Live at Output Naha

Enjoy this live concert of the Yonaha Tōru Band from their performance at output in Naha December 30, 2020. Tōru is a musician who’s able to masterfully perform in both koten (classical) and minyou (folk) — add roots pop to that too. He has two channels on YouTube but this is the one that’s being …

Miyazawa Kazufumi on J-MELO

If you have the NHK World app (website link) be sure to catch the latest episode (1/10) of J-MELO (it’s on VOD until March 12, 2021) to see Miyazawa Kazufumi perform an acoustic (sanshin-only) version of Shimauta. It’s always interesting to see an artist’s rendition of a song they’ve played 100’s (probably 1000’s in this …

Rory (アーサー) the Ryukyuan Villager in Animal Crossing

Rory (アーサー [aasaa] in the Japanese-language version) is a lion jock villager in the Animal Crossing video game fr0m Nintendo (above photos are from the New Horizons version of the game — he first appeared in the New Leaf version of the game) who is Ryukyuan. Playing the English-language version of the game doesn’t give …

A Look at Apple Music’s Top Songs of 2020: Japan Playlist

So how did music artists from Okinawa (or Okinawan) fair in Apple Music’s Top Songs of 2020: Japan playlist? Let’s take a look… And, it’s 0 (zero). Yep, pretty sad. Looking at 2019’s playlist, we see Da Pump’s U.S.A. and Mongol800’s Chiisana Koi no Uta (note that this song is originally from their 2001 album …

71st Kouhaku Uta-Gassen with Nikaido Fumi

Yes, it was a very different NHK Kouhaku Uta-Gassen (the 71st) with the ongoing pandemic performances were done without an audience. But for those that are fans of Okinawan pop culture, we can celebrate that popular actress Nikaido Fumi (Naha, Okinawa) was one of the announcers for the annual song battle. She currently starts in …

Shurayo by Frou Frou (Imogen Heap & Guy Sigsworth)

In addition to being a fan of Okinawan music, I also listen to a lot of other music and have been a fan of Imogen Heap and her band with Guy Sigsworth, Frou Frou. In 2019 they released an EP called Shurayo featuring the tracks Shurayo, Shimauta, and Shurayo (Mika’s Version). So you must be …

Event: 3rd Eisa Drum Festival at Kapi’olani Community College on May 11th

3rd Eisa Drum Festival at Kapi’olani Community College on May 11th A Celebration of Okinawan Culture with Drums, Lions, Music, and Karate Kapi’olani Community College and the Office of Student Activities are pleased to present the third Eisa Drum Festival on Saturday, May 11 from 5:30 to 9 pm, on the Great Lawn (center of …