Ok if you’ve been reading the site this week you can see I am slowly getting more and more lost in a world of YMO and YMO-related material… One of my friends, renowned illustrator and DJ Jiro Bevis, has Japanese roots and is a total head when it comes to all things YMO so he was the natural choice to ask for his favourite YouTube clips in this area. Here’s Jiro…
After my first visit to Japan in ’91 I became pretty obsessed with everything Japanese, especially Dragon Ball, Super Famicom and commercials. Me and my brother would get our Auntie in Japan to tape hours of TV commercials and send them over. We’d then have to spend £50 for each VHS to get them transferred from NTSC to PAL so we could watch them. Our particular favourite was a chocolate commercial with Van Damme, we liked it so much we got the chocolate sent over too and would smell it just like Jean Claude would.
Looking back now it was a pretty weird thing to do but it has given me a greater knowledge of Japanese TV and commercials in the early 90s. Here are 10 of my favourite music related videos from Japan, sadly loads have been removed in recent years but there’s still some good ones. Enjoy.
Sakamoto made loads of music for commercials, he starred in a couple Insurance ads, one of them where he chops wood has been removed but this one with him precisely ironing a shirt is still up to enjoy.
Hosono was one of the first musicians to work with computer games and made a lot of the early music for Namco including PacMan. Here he is for a Famicom commercial with his track ‘Non-Standard Mixture’ used.
There’s a bunch of good footage of Ippu Do’s hit ‘September Love’, a few with footage of them in London (https://youtu.be/3ouV5SDGdcQ) but I like the commercial with a young Brooke Shields best.
This band are called Ramu, they’ve got a couple really nice tracks. The reason I’ve included this commercial though is because of the scary orange baby at the end.
Holger Czukay clearly isn’t Japanese but I had to add this, what other country would ever consider using Czukay’s ‘Persian Love’ for a commercial?
Not all the videos here are commercials, here is a Tatsuro Yamashita track ‘Down Town’ sung and made famous by the band EPO, it was used as the theme tune for a popular Japanese light entertainment show that also contained Beat Takeshi who can be seen in the clip.
My favourite Japanese record is Test Pattern’s Apres Midi, other than that and a couple tracks on a compilation they never released anything and information is pretty slim. There is however footage of them performing 2 songs that have never been released, it’s got some pretty neat graphics too and Hosono chats a bit.
I guess this is like the Japanese equivalent of Band Aid, it was a collaboration of all the Yen Record artists as a tribute to the director of the label who had recently passed away. The track isn’t that good but it’s pretty cool to see so many great Japanese musicians together including Inoyama Land, Testpattern, Sandii, Miharu Koshi as well as Hosono and Takahashi who’s label it was.
2 of my favourite things combined, Sakamoto’s Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and KU Ibiza. Nothing else to say.
My favourite YMO live performance, performing Sakamoto’s classic ‘1,000’ Knieves’ with Akiko Yano on keyboard, Logic System’s Hideki Matsutake on synth and Kazumi Watanabe on guitar.https://youtu.be/Ac7cXfDWRr4 (Embed is not allowed on this video so you’ll have to copy and paste the link).
Seigen Ono live performance.
Miharu Koshi live performance.
Dip In the Pool music video.
Apogee & Perigee music video.
YMO music video.
Sakamoto & Nam June Paik art piece.