Tag Archives: 演歌

花見 in USA?

9 Mar

A number of years ago, Japan gave America 桜の木 (Cherry blossom trees) as a symbol of friendship.

They’re planted in Washington DC.

(Cherry blossoms) are very popular in Japan. They are a symbol of Spring in Japan.
Japanese love them not only for their beauty…but also their fragility. They only stay in bloom for a week or so…and then gently fall to the ground like a beautiful pink snowfall. They’re like a symbol of the beauty and shortness of life.

Every Spring, Japanese people sit under the 桜の木 (Cherry blossom trees) to have a picnic together and enjoy the view.
It’s called 「花見」 (Hanami)…or “Cherry Blossom Viewing”.

I was surprised that America has Japanese-style 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing) festivals every Spring in Washington DC under the 桜の木 (Cherry blossom trees) from Japan.

Are these festivals popular in America like they are in Japan? Have you ever been?

At this year’s 花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing) festival in Washington DC on March 28, Jero will be performing.

Jero is a 27-year old Enka singer.

Enka is a traditional Japanese blues type music that is popular mostly with older Japanese people.

So, it’s surprising that Jero is a young Enka singer. But more surprising is that he’s a black American. And he sings Enka while dressed in hip-hop fashion (Enka singers usually wear 着物 (kimono).

ジェロ (Jero)

ジェロ (Jero)

I wrote a post about Jero before. Click here to read it.

Jero

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.