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Where Are They Now? Japan and friends since Japan
After Japan split up David immediately
had a hit with "Forbidden Colours" and went on to establish a solo
recording career which continues to this day. His releases have
consistently charted in the UK, Italy, Japan and other parts of Europe,
though not high enough for him to be that visible in the media these
days. And, we are told, that is what David personally prefers. His solo
albums include "Brilliant Trees" (which went top 5), "Gone To Earth",
"Secrets Of The Beehive", "Approaching Silence", "Dead Bees On A Cake"
(which got into the top 20 in 1999, top 10 in Continental Europe)
"Camphor" and "Everything & Nothing" (a compilation of his
favourite tracks and the best place to start for new listeners). He has
also recorded albums with Robert Fripp and Holger Czukay, plus
collaborated on a regular basis with his friend Ryuichi Sakamoto. In
1991 David and the other former Japan members recorded the "Rain Tree
Crow" album which is also highly recommended.
started his own record label SamadhiSound in 2001.
official site is located at www.davidsylvian.com
After Japan, Mick recorded with a variety of
artists including Midge Ure, Kate Bush, David Torn and Yello. He
recorded one album with Pete Murphy as Dalis Car. Following a series of
solo albums in the 80's and 90's (check out "Dreams Of Reasons Produce
Monsters", "Bestial Cluster" and "Each Eye A Path" for some of his best
work), Mick joined the group NiNa with ex-members of The Plastics and
Kate Pierson (B-52's), who hit No1 in Japan over Christmas and New Year
1999/2000. After Pierson and a couple of others left, the group
recruited Masami Tsuchiya and Vivian Hsu and became the D.E.P. Mick has
recorded on a regular basis over the years with Steve Jansen and
Richard Barbieri and is a co-owner of their record label
Medium Productions. As a trio, JBK, they have released two
albums, "Ism" and "Playing In A Room With People", both of which are
well worth getting. Recently he also worked on an EP with Miu Sakamoto
(Ryuichi Sakamoto and Akiko Yano's daughter) and Sugizo from the major
Japanese band Luna Sea.
lives in London but spends an increasing amount of his time in Japan
and the Far East due to work commitments.
Steve has been constantly busy in the music
industry since the Japan split, working on a regular basis with his
friend Yukihiro Takahashi (YMO), appearing on his albums and playing
live on many tours from the 1982 onwards. He has also contributed to
most of his brother David Sylvian's solo work, including the high
profile "Zero Landmine" project. Along with Mick and Rich he is a
co-owner of the Medium label. Steve has played live and in sessions for
Propaganda, No Man, Mandalay, Masami Tsuchiya and Akiko Yano. His best
work is arguably alongside Richard Barbieri ("Stone To Flesh" includes
the stunning "Sleepers Awake", plus I would also recommend the "Pulse"
album with Yukihiro Takahashi and "Catch The Fall" by The Dolphin
Brothers). Together with Rich and Mick, as JBK, Steve has
released "Playing In A Room With People" and "Ism". In 2003, he is
working on new material with David Sylvian.
lives in London with his wife and son Jude.
As well as working on several projects
alongside Steve and Mick for Medium, Rich is a member of the rock group
Porcupine Tree, and as such has played live across the UK, Europe and
the USA on a regular basis. More than any other ex-Japan member he has
been involved with the UK alternative music scene. In addition to his
many recordings with the other ex-members (including Sylvian), Rich
released the "Indigo Falls" album which featured his wife Suzanne, who
he got to know during the recording of the Dolphin Brothers album. In
2002, Rich was active as a record producer with Adom (from the USA) and
Fjieri (an Italian project). He also undertook tours of Europe and the
USA with The Porcupine Tree. In 2003, Rich is recording a new album
with his wife Suzanne J Barbieri.
After leaving Japan in 1981, Rob moved
to the USA, worked with Gary Numan, Sinead O'Connor, Viva Beat,
Illustrated Man and Australian bands Slow Club and Geisha. For the past
ten years he has been living a somewhat idyllic lifestyle in Costa Rica
far from the corporate shenanigans of the music business. These days he
prefers to devote his time almost exclusively to Bird watching, Guiding
and his art, with which he is beginning to make inroads into the Costa
Rican scene. He is currently the chairman of the Costa Rican Bird Club
and has not touched his guitar for over a year. He made a brief return
to the UK in 1995 to record with JBK. Information courtesy of Debi
Zornes from Medium
Masami was already an established artist
in his native Japan when he briefly became a member of the group and
continued his solo career into the 90's. His group Ippu Do split up
about a year after Japan. In the early 90's, Masami started a new life
in the UK but continued to be a presence in Japan as a producer and
session player. In 1997 he revived his solo career, beginning with a
"secret" Japan collaboration on the Japan Tribute album "Life In
Tokyo". He is currently a member of the group D.E.P. with Mick Karn.
is also producing music for a female artist called Fumiya Fujii.
website is here
emerged in the 80's as an important figure in Japan as a musician,
soundtrack composer, actor, political activist and radio presenter. As
a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra he has experienced mass adulation
and very healthy CD sales. He continues to be a major public figure to
the Japanese and is popular enough worldwide to have embarked upon six
world tours. Always busy, in 2002 Sakamoto released the
soundtrack for the Antonio Banderas movie "Femme Fatale", is released
the album Casa (a tribute to Jobim) and toured the world once more to
promote it. He also made a documentary about the origin of the human
species (and the nature of human conflict in the aftermath of September
11th) which has been released as a DVD and book in Japan, and released
another two solo albums! Ryuichi is also playing live shows in 2003 as
a member of the Sketch Show project with his old friends from Y.M.O. He
featured on several tracks on the album "Audio Sponge", and has
subsequently recorded more material with them for release this year. In
the Summer of 2003, Ryuichi will tour worldwide once more with Jaques
and Paula Morelenbaum.
has four children ranging in age from 12 to 30 and lives in New York
and Tokyo. His daughter Miu is now a successful recording artist in her
well as being a member of Y.M.O., Takahashi has established a
successful solo career in Japan, emerging as a very strong songwriter
and vocalist (arguably the Japanese Phil Collins, but with more style).
I really like his songwriting style now, he manages to convey a great
deal of emotion and humour, and most importantly he is an expert at
penning really catchy pop tunes. He is co-owner of the record and
multimedia label Agent Conscipio with his friend, world famous fashion
designer Yohji Yamamoto. Outside music, as a fashion designer and
entrepaneur, he owns two clothing stores in Tokyo which sell menswear.
His own clothing line, Y's, specialises in suits and ties. He has also
mass produced the Y.M.O. stage costumes, which I think is a novel
thing. Takahashi was a regular panellist on TV and radio shows (often
with Takeshi Kitano) and is known for his connections with the world of
comedy. Yukihiro is currently a member of Sketch Show, which is
arguably Y.M.O. under a different name, with Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi
Sakamoto. More information at www.daisyworld.co.jp
Napier-Bell is currently managing a Russian group called Smash! and is
writing a book about his travels around the world. This book will
include some Japan related anecdotes. More from Simon can be found in
the Books and Articles sections of this site.
Last known location, Canada. Last known
production work was with The Specimen in 1997. Please get in touch if
you know more.
Jane Shorter is a member of The Band Of
Holy Joy, who play live on a regular basis in the UK. She is
also a qualified aromaterapist and lives in London.
Ray is currently writing a musical about
the life and times of singer/songwriter Peter Sarstedt. Thanks to Simon
Napier-Bell for the information.
|Sandii & The
& The Sunsetz found some success in Japan and Australia in the
80's (where they had a top 5 hit) but after a few changes of
direction and problems with international record companies, began to
release albums just under Sandii's name. These began with 1990's
"Mercy" which is a stunning collection of ethnic club pop and
established her as a successful artist in Malaysia, the Phillipines,
Thailand and China, plus it was a big seller in Japan. Sandii's albums
"Mercy", "Pacifica" and "Dream Catcher" are excellent, in my opinion,
well worth buying if you have the opportunity. She mixes Bhangra,
Hawaiian, J-pop, techno, R&B and dub styles to great effect and
is comparable to Madonna in a lot of ways. The next album
"Watashi" (1996) featured Brazillian styles and was released in France
to critical acclaim. Increasingly interested in Hawaiian
music and life, Sandii has pursued interests away from the mainstream
music industry in recent years and has qualified as a teacher in Hula
dance. Her album "Hawaii" has been released in the USA. Sandii owns a
dance studio, store and restaurant in central Tokyo. If Sandii is in
town, she teaches Hula at the studio and you can book places at her
classes through her website (see below). I'd love to go, but who knows
if I'd be accepted in the class (if you know me, you'll know what I
Sandii is about to release a new album in
Japan. More information is available at her official
site . As you
can see, time has been extremely kind to Sandii.
|Where can I buy Japan
- You can't buy them officially as none
are currently in print, with the exception of the Japanese Video Hits
compilation. And if you do not live in Japan technically you are not
supposed to buy that either, due to regional coding. Until Virgin or
BMG get their respective acts together, you'll have to trade, buy at
outrageous prices on Ebay
or use your imagination. It's difficult, but if you look hard enough
you will find what you are looking for.
|Where can I find rare
Japan music and video on the internet?
members of Japan play? What equipment did they use?
following information comes from the
second Fan Club magazine (1978) and "Fan Library" (1982).
- Arbiter and El Mayo copy electric
- Gibson Les Paul electric guitar (studio)
- Yamaha semi-accoustic guitar
- Prophet 5 keyboard
- JC120 amplifier
- Yamaha A4 powered speaker cabinet
- Chorus Echo 301
- Roland Stereo Flanger (rack mounted)
- Nady & Nasty guitar transmitter
- Leadless hand-held microphone
- Gibson Regular guitar strings
- Fretless Wal bass guitar
- Fretless Travis Bean 2000 bass guitar
(this was Mick's main one in 1978, but he still used it in '82)
- 3 Galien Kruger amplifiers
- 2 Cerwin Vega speaker cabinets
- MXR Flanger
- Nady & Nasty guitar transmitter
- Conn Alto Saxophone
- Dean Markley light-medium guage strings
Richard's equipment changed the most in the space of 4 years, first
here is the 1978 list:
- Wurlitzer electric piano
- Micro Moog synthesiser
- "string synthesiser" (he is not
- Poly Moog
- Yamaha CS-80
- he also refers to something called a
is the 1982 list:
- OBX keyboard
- Prophet 5 keyboard
- Oberheim Mini Sequencer
- Roland System 700
- MXR Flangers
- Chorus Echo 301
- Roland six channel mixer
- 2 Yamaha A4 poered speaker cabinets
Steve was using the same brand-names from 1978 to 1982, but he used
different equipment in
and out of the studio. First, here is the live kit:
- Simmons electric drum kit (6 tom toms)
- Accoustic hi-hat
- 6 Chinese cymbals
- 3 standard cymbals
- 2 Tama Octobans
- 2 sets headphones (for monitoring)
- 2 very large speaker cabinets
- Pro Mart 747 rock drumsticks
is the studio kit:
- Tama Super Star kit
- Tama hi-hat
- 6 Chinese cymbals
- 3 standard cymbals
- Gibson Firebird electric guitar
- HH amplifier
- Music Man electric guitar
- he also says he uses a "stratocaster"
but isn't more specific
|How many versions are
there of "Life
are 11 different versions of this
track, but over the years some confusion has arisen because different
titles have been
used e.g. "extended version" or "long version", when both can be the
same, or different from disc to disc. Anyway, here is the definitive
listing of the
different versions of "Life In Tokyo". If any of you doubt my sources,
have the actual discs.
- Short Version 3.30 (1979). As on all the
1979 and 1981 single releases, plus "Assemblage", "Special Edition"
(Canadian EP), "The Singles" and "The Masters".
- Part 2 3.29 (1979). As on the 7" b-side
of most 1979 versions of the single, plus the Japanese "Assemblage"
2-CD and "The Singles"
- Long Version 7.05 (1979). As on the
original and 1981 issue 12" singles. Also on the Japanese 2-CD
"Assemblage" and "The Singles".
- Mono version 3.30 (1979). Only on the
USA promo 7", just the mono version of the usual (No1 on this list)
- Remix 6.19 (1981). This first appeared
on the Japanese "Assemblage" vinyl LP and on side 2 of the UK
"Assemblage" cassette. It is the version with more synths than the
rest, and an overall lighter and more oriental feel. It was a version
done in 1979 by Giorgio Moroder, but maybe considered too electronic
for release at the time. Also released on 12" vinyl and on a couple of
different compilation CD's by Old Gold.
- 12" Remix 6.19 (1996). This is the same
as above, but has one of the stereo channels "pushed" to both which
accidentally created another remix! Only on the "In Vogue" CD.
- "A Souvenir From Japan" version 4.02
(1989). This is a shorter version of the 6.19 Extended Version, which
also has some additional electronic percussion. It can only be found on
the CD "A Souvenir From Japan".
- Special Remix 4.05 (1982). Only on the
UK 7" single HANSA17 and "The Singles". This is the mix with the
prominent fretless bass and missing verse.
- Extended Remix 7.05 (1982). 12" version
of the above, only on HANSA1217 and "The Singles".
- Theme 3.55 (1982). This was the b-side
of the two above, the slowed down mix that plays normal at 78rpm. This
can also be found on the Japanese 2-CD "Assemblage" and "The Singles".
- Sanny X Mix. Released to DJ's only,
|Where did Japan meet?
Which school did they
- Japan (with the exception of Rob Dean)
all attended Catford
in Catford, London. Catford is part of the London Borough of
Lewisham. David first met Steve when he was born
(they are brothers), then David met Mick and Richard because they were
in the same form at school. David and Mick spent more time together as
Steve had his own set of friends and Richard, better at studies, was
not always in the same classes. Rob Dean grew up in Hackney and met the
band when he answered an advert for a guitarist in Melody Maker. He
went 'round to David and Steve's house and was auditioned in Steve's
bedroom. He played guitar along with David and, he says, "seemed to
have got the job there and then" (quote from Bamboo 9). At around the
same time that Rob joined the group, Richard also joined, having spent
the intervening years working in Barclays Bank and competing in Tennis
championships (he is a qualified coach).