22 May

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.

5 Responses to “Jero”

  1. kidkameleon June 29, 2008 at 1:33 am #

    Wow, he is fascinating to me. He is doing something phenomenal. Do you think he’ll have a long career? I always wanted to come to Japan, and make movies. Thank you for the comment, and keep me posted about Jero, and anything else happening in Japan, I would love to cover more topics.

    This is my blog.

    These are my movies.

    Take Care!!


  2. tokyo5 May 25, 2008 at 2:03 am #

    >I wonder if Jero sings the songs in a traditional way or adds a hip-hop spin. Do you know?

    Sure, I know. I’ve seen him perform on TV a number of times.

    He sings the songs exactly as any “Japanese” Enka singer would.
    I don’t think he’d be as popular as he is if he put a hip-hop flavor on the songs or changed them any other way.

    He’s popular because people were surprised that a foreigner could sing the songs just like a Japanese singer.


  3. Mb May 25, 2008 at 12:42 am #

    I’ve never heard of Enka. I wonder if Jero sings the songs in a traditional way or adds a hip-hop spin. Do you know?


  4. tokyo5 May 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm #

    Thanks for visiting my site…and leaving a comment.
    Feel free to comment as often as you like.

    I saw on you site that you’re studying Japanese.
    That’s great. What made you decide to?

    Leave messages in Japanese on this site if you want!


  5. Stephen May 22, 2008 at 4:01 am #

    Same here. I don’t care for Enka, but I think he’s a pretty cool guy. 🙂


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