The Other Side of Lost in Translation


Fascination with Gaijin and Half Tarento (Talents, Media Personalities)

In '60s-'70s,
there were many Gaijin & Half(mixed race) talents
in Japanese entertainment industry.
Most of Half talents were half White and half Japanese,
but some of them were half Black or even half Indian.

Japanese really adored those Gaijin & Half talents.

ヒデとロザンナ(Hide and Rozanna)
singing their huge hit "愛は傷つきやすく"(Love is vulnerable)
from 1969. She is Italian.
They eventually got married but Hide died from cancer.
She raised their three kids by herself.

This Hawaiian obscure folk duo became BIG in Japan,
Betsy & Chris singing their memorable hit
"白色は恋人の色"(White is my lover's color).

Graciela Susana singing one of her hits in Japan, "Adoro"
Argentine's obscure singer became BIG in Japan.

Daniel Vidal was a French singer
and she had a successful singing career in france as well.
This was her appearance on Japanese TV in 1998
though this hit was from 1970.
This song made all Japanese want to go to Paris
where all the most sophisticated things were, they belived so.
But it was absolutely out of reach for average Japanese,
only what they could do was dreamng about it
and immitating French culture like singing Chanson.

山本リンダ, Linda Yamamoto singing her signature hit
This song is about the woman thinking
she deserves to be with the richest man in the world
because of her beauty
and she will conquer the world with it,
making all men her slaves.
Oh My!, I love her.
Actually the beauty was the other reason of
Japanese fascination with Half talents,
who were considered much more beautiful than
average Japanese.
Linda's dad was American G.I. and sadly died during Korean War.

Golden Half singing one of their hits "Adam & Eve"
One of the members, Runa Takayama became an adult film star
after this group disbanded.
Cloistered Nun: Runa's Confession (1976)
It is available on DVD in U.S. now,
a very campy and erotic revenge story by a young nun.
Check it out.
Many of '70s Nikkatsu Roman Porno are very interesting films.
I will talk about them some other time.

辺見マリ, Mari Henmi singing her signature hit
"経験"(Experience), she was only 20 years old at that time
but amazingly sexy and mature.
Her dad was Hispanic.

小山ルミ, Rumi Koyama singing one of her hits
"孤独の街角"(Lonley Streetcorner)

There were many Half singers like Michi Aoyama(Half Black),
Aki Izumi, Miki Obata, Sherry, Maggie Minenko,
Joe Yamanaka(He was Half Black as well), Carmen Maki,
Lily and Ken Sanders(Another Half Black Guy).

Though Japanese economy was booming in '60s,
still Japan was far from rich country.
In '70s, average Japanese people's lives
definitley improved a lot.
Almost all of them had color TV, stereo, telephone,
washing machine, refrigi and so on.
However, still traveling abroad was
a privilige for affluent class.
In '80s, finally average Japanese could afford to
have a vacation trip to abroad,
finally Japan became a wealthy nation.
During '60s and '70s, traveling abroad was
a dream beyond dreams for most of Japanese.

After the war, most of Japanese are starving
and wearing rugs, cities were ruins.
As they watched Hollywood films
where people had luxualies,
which reminded them of how miserable their realities were.
it is not difficult to imagine that
one of the driving forces that Japanese worked so hard
to re-build their economy was this yarning that
they wanted be like the WEST,
they wanted to be like White people.

During '60s and '70s when being like the WEST
was still the unreachable dream for most of Japanese,
those Gaijin and Half talents brought the WEST
a little closer to Japanese.
Also Japanese loved to hear Gaijin singing in Japanese.
As some Japanese love to try sing in English
because they love and love to immitate the western culture,
they feel like they are loved back by the WEST
when they hear Gaijins singing in Japanese.

Besides those Gaijins who were obscure but made big in Japan,
many Japanese loved to listen to the music of
American and European stars as well.
But I heard, in those days, many of American rock bands
did not play seriously for Japanese audience.
Why did they have to play seriously for yellow monkeys?
I guess it was simply laughable for them
to just stand in front of the sea of yellow faces.
BTW that no loger happens since Japan became to be known
as the economical force in the world.

Now Japan is no loger poor country
but still you see many Gaijin and Half Talents on TV
because Japanese love affair with the West still continues,
which brought us Jero.

Jero is a quater Japanese, American Black Enka sensation.
Enka is the traditional Japanese popular ballad song
which is usually about lamenting on lost loves
and hardships of lives,
which most of younger generation do not like to listen to
as it is not cool for them.
Most of Japanese laughed when they heard that
a Black guy singing Enka
because the images of a Black guy
does not fit the images of Enka at all.
just like probablly it sounds funny for westerners
when they hear Asians do rap/HipHop
because the images of Asians do not fit the images of rap.
But Jero turned out to be quite successful.
Because Japanese feel they are loved back by the West
when they hear Gaijin singing in Japanese
and in this case, Especially because of Enka,
which is the traditional Japanese song
even younger Japanese do not like to listen to,
and it is something Japanese believe only Japanese can dig.
The idea the a Gaijin likes to immitate
this Japanese traditional culture realy blew their minds.
To be honest with you, I think Jero is a fine Enka singer
but not a great one.
On this video, he sings the song called "夜空"(Night Sky)
which was a big hit from '70s
and the original was much better, I think.
But he is still young.

And finally this is the reality of Asians
in American entertainment industry.

he became famous because he was a super stereotype,
Asian is supposed to be ugly, chinky, gooky, dorky
and cannot sing or dance, or any other cool things.

BTW that guy from KDD TV is Ken Tanaka, isn't he?
If you do not know him, do search on YouTube.
I did not know he was an actor as well,
a very talented guy.

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