May 15, 2009, 3:02 am
Filed under: Zzz

RIP Imawano Kiyoshiro 忌野清志郎

“The King Of Japanese Rock n Roll”

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It’s hard to describe this for those who don’t know anything about the man, but on May 2nd, 2009, Japan lost a legendary rock god; a true rock n roller, Imawano Kiyoshiro 忌野清志郎.  He started in the 70s with his band RC Succession…and just kept going. He died at 58.  It’s of course impossible to simplify it into these terms, but basically he was Japan’s John Lennon/Mick Jagger/Bowie … something along those lines. When I first heard his music I wasn’t hooked right away, but the more my girlfriend told me about him,  and the more I could understand the lyrics and what he was all about, I fell in love with the man. As far as “overall awesome guy” and true artist goes, he’s definitely my favorite musician in Japan.

On May 9th, 2009 a public funeral was held for him in Aoyama, Tokyo. From AT LEAST 9am to the last train at 12:30 at night people lined up to pay their respects. People waited up to six hours to get in, and an estimated 40,000 people attended.

It was a BEAUTIFUL event and I am SO glad I went.

Here are some crappy videos I took on my cell phone from inside the event.  These videos are what you would see after waiting somewhere between 3.5 to 7 hours to get in the place.

Here are some more photos I took from the event; again, crappy cell phone camera.  Sorry.


The end of the “short” Line.










Lastly, let me put a video or two up of the late, great Imawano Kiyoshiro.

First, note the helmet, same as the crowned picture above.  This is a legendary TV performance of the song “Timers” .  It’s a cover of The Monkeys with the lyrics changed to a song about Marijuana; this is especially bad ass being that it’s Japan and on TV. 大麻 or Taima means Marijuana.  He then goes into a song just destroying FM TOKYO, the radio station that had banned his music (sales of his cds were also banned) for having a song that was anti-nuclear and a crazy punk version of the national anthem Kimi ga Yo. (From my understanding the national anthem is a song praising the emperror saying “Kimi ga Yo” = “The world is Yours”.  Kiyoshiro basically says  “The world is yours (the people), the world is mine, the world is all of ours”)   The way he tears into FM TOKYO is outlandish, hilarious, and I can’t believe it was allowed on TV.

An incredibly touching version of Imagine.

A lyrically amazing anti-government version of Love Me Tender.  With a painful, tear-jerker of a phrase at the end after bashing the government saying ” but Oh My Darling, I love you, and I want to live a long life…”

Not sure if this entry will mean much to those who don’t speak Japanese/don’t know or care about this guy, BUT personally, I can barely watch the videos without tearing up.



3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

ah! now i know where i heard his name from.
darn!!! 58.. what a great loss…
i wish i could have been there too…
btw i am going to link your page to my blog =)

Comment by luna


Comment by pressrec

[…] truly great, but would just never pass a taste-testing of music snobs back home.  Case in point, Imawano Kiyoshiro, the man is basically a hero/legend in the world of Japanese rock.  I absolutely love him and shed […]

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