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Isao Tomita is best known in Britain for his abominable synthesizer soundtrack SNOWFLAKES ARE DANCING, which was a big hit when RCA released it in 1974. However, Tomita had already gained considerable success in his own country, as early as 1956 composing the electronic music score for the Olympics Gymnastics Team.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
This 1970s folk singer released his self-titled debut LP in 1975, and his second NIKUSEI in 1976. His singing style is said to come from the Kan Mikami school of 'scream your fucking head off'.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Yasunao Tone was an avant-garde composer and co-founder of Tokyo's legendary group Ongaku, with Takehisa Kosugi. Tone was one of the first Japanese artists active in composing "events" and improvisational music, and he has been active in the Fluxus movement since 1962. Tone's story appears in considerable detail in Chapter 2 of Japrocksampler.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Juni Lush – vocals
Tstomu Ogawa (Junio Nakahara) – guitar
Masayuki Aoki - bass
Hideya/Shuye Kobayashi – drums

Often touted as the Japanese Black Sabbath by blowhards and those who’ve not actually heard the music, the excellently named Too Much hailed from the large city port of Kobe, where the band members grew up sucking in all kinds of western influences from the LPs and 7” singles that came in on the boats. One of the band – guitarist Junio Nakahara – had spent the late ‘60s in the blues group The Helpful Soul, whose sole LP features in this book’s Top 50 on account of its deeply inspired 10-minutes plus plodathon ‘Peace For Fools’. However, as its audience could never have perceived The Helpful Soul as anything more than another Group Sounds act, guitarist Nakahara decided to jump on the burgeoning New Rock bandwagon by forming the more appropriately named Too Much. Nakahara’s inspiration came from the TOO MUCH concert that The Helpful Soul played with the newly-formed Blues Creation, in Kyoto at the end of February 1970. The hippy phrase ‘too much’ was already utterly clichéd in the West by this time, but it was iconic and easily pronounceable to Japanese. In the process, Nakahara hooked up with hard rock singer Juni Lush, changed his own name to the more substantially New Rock-sounding Tsomu Ogawa(!), and dragged high school mates Hideya Kobayashi and Masayuki Aoki along as the rhythm section. They signed a deal with Atlantic Records in the summer of 1970, and wrote a whole slew of mindless proto-metal anthems, including the excellent ‘Grease It Out’, ‘Love Is You’ and ‘Gonna Take You’. These were duly recorded and sounded mindlessly, monolithically, perfectly suited to the lowbrow audience Too Much was aiming to please. Unfortunately, the Atlantic businessmen saw in the be-afro’d Juni Lush another potential star in the mould of Flower Travellin’ Band’s Joe Yamanaka, and they pressured the band into adding several mawkishly sentimetal ballads to the debut LP in order to widen their audience. The results were disastrous. No one needed yet another version of Bobby Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’, particularly the Nipponashville abortion that Too Much delivered. Hey, but neither did they require ‘Song For My Lady’, the arduously phlegmatic 12-minute album closer which arrived replete with megastring sections, Michel LaGrande pianos, Moody Blues flute solos and nere a six-string razor in sight. Too Much was just not enough, and they split soon after the album was released.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Orchestra leader Miyama Toshiyuki was such a talent spotter that his ensemble become a breeding ground for new musicians, many of whom came to use their place in his orchestra as a springboard to greater success.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Toshi Ichiyanagi
Yuji Takahashi
Joji Yuasa
Hiraki Hiyashi
Minao Shibata
Yoriaki Matsudaira
Toru Takemitsu

Transonic was a forward-thinking union of avant-garde artists, who formed in 1973, in order to discuss and promote their music better.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Yuya Utchida is one of the most important figures in post-war japanese music. His story unfolds throughout the length of Japrocksampler.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
As a playwright, director and avant-garde dramatist, Shuji Terayama was one of the most important and creative of all post war Japanese artists. His Wikipedia entry is considerable, and should be consulted.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Led by one time saxophonist, Group Ongaku member and experimental composer Yasunao Tone, Team Random was Japan’s first computer art group. This collective programmed Univac mainframes in order to perform Tone’s own compositions. Team Random was the organisation behind the first computer art festival in 1966, entitled BIOGODE PROCESS MUSIC FESTIVAL.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
The story of Shuji Terayama's Tenjo Sajiki theatre company is told in detail in Chapter 10 of Japrocksampler.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007