It’s kinda old news now…but there’s a new popular Enka singer in Japan.
“Enka” is a traditional type of Japanese music, often called Japanese Blues.
It is extremely popular with elderly Japanese people. That generation listened to Enka since they were young…but young people today don’t usually listen to Enka. They like pop music.
But “Jero“, the 26 year old Enka singer, is re-introducing Enka music to young fans.
The most surprising thing about “Jero” isn’t that he’s young. It’s that he’s a black American from Pennsylvania who sings these traditional Japanese songs while wearing hip-hop style clothes!
His real name is Jerome White and he’s 1/4 Japanese. His Japanese grandmother introduced him to Enka music.
He studied the Japanese language and came to Tokyo about five years ago. He’s fluent in the Japanese language now. And he made his debut last February with the song 「海雪」 (“Umi-yuki”).
I don’t really like Enka music much (I don’t like American Blues music either)…and the novelty of Jero doesn’t make me listen to Enka, so I never give him much thought.
But I was reminded of him because I just saw him in a TV commercial for a canned coffee. So I decided to write a blog about the first foreign Enka singer.