Famous People in Japan

Hosokawa Takashi

Date of Birth 15 June 1950
Place of Birth Makkari, Hokkaido

Hosokawa Takashi is by far one of the most prominent enka singers in Japan.

Born in Makkari (Hokkaido) on 15 June 1950, Takashi is the youngest son of Hosokawa Matsujiro and Yomi. He has one elder brother and 3 elder sisters. The family makes ends meet by leading an agricultural life.

Having graduated in Makkari junior high school, Takashi embarked on a new venture in Sapporo as a car maintenance worker. Despite the vehement opposition from his parents, he came to Sapporo as a part-time band boy at night and a full-time car maintenance worker.

Takashi has been a staunch supporter of enka since high school years. He was a protˇgˇ of Mihashi Michiya (a folk song cum enka singer). One of his specialities is singing minyo (folk song with voice and Japanese flute). In Sapporo, besides day-time work, he frequented healthcare center for the aged. There he sang and played an MC as well. In 1970, dubbed as "Susuki's Mori Shiichi (an enka heartthrob at that time)", he became a famous night club singer in Susuki (within Sapporo area).

In 1974 Takashi was approached by Nippon Columbia Record Company and the year after he belt out his debut song called "kokoro no kori". It became a million seller and a mega hit among the whole country. As a fresh singer and a laureate of Best New Singer of the Japan Record Championship, he was unexpectedly shortlisted for joining the NHK Red White Song Contest (the annual ritual for upper echelon of singers and celebrities). Up till 1999, Takashi is the 4th oldest and experienced singer of the NHK Red White Song Contest and Hosokawa is expected to be shortlisted in the years to come.

In the following 8 years, he played a key role in enka arena.

Takashi reached the fever pitch of his career in 1982. He participated in a TV comedy show. There the song called "Kita Sakaba" (literally meaning North Wine Bar) was released. This light melody song stroke a right cord among Japanese people across the spectrum. He scored his first Japan Record Champion.

When Japanese people began to hum this song, another single hit named "Yagini no watashi" (a place in Shibamata, Tokyo) kept all townfolks enthralled. He snatched the Japan Record Champion two years in a row.

Hosokawa-bushi did not die down in 1984. He was awarded the Best Singing Skills Champion for one of his singles called "Naniwa bushi dayo ginse wa". This song was sung by over 10 singers that year. Hence Hosokawa Takashi notches up "3 Crowns" (Best New Singer in 1975; Japan Record Champions in 1982 and 1983; and Best Singing Skills Award in 1984) in the history of Japan Record Championship. Thus far only Nakamori Akina and Amuro Namie scored Japan Record Champions two years in a row. Takashi remains the only male crooner with these 3 laureates.

From then on, Takashi released various genre of songs, including animation, commercial and quasi-pops.

To celebrate his 20th anniversary of debut in 1994, Takashi span his first essay collection. This publication reveals his optimistic views towards life after the bubble economy burst in the end of 1980s. As a token of his unswerving promotion of his hometown around the country, Makkari people built a bronze statue of Takashi. He becomes the first living singer with a statue permanently standing under the Hokkaido Mt. Fuji. (For pictures and details of location, see http://www.linkclub.or.jp/~kawasan/tabi/jog_hokkai/hk_hen006.htm.)

While performing concert tour (mainly charity concert) in Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Beijing, Takashi spent most of time in Japan as zacho (company master). In other words he performed popular commercial play-cum-concert in the large theaters in the major cities such as Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka. The shows performed in these theaters feature leading roles by popular enka singers and usually run for one-month units (25 days of shows). Such a show is referred to as a zacho shibai. If the show built around a particular zacho can attract an enthusiastic audience, then he or she will return on a regular basis (once a year or more). Hosokawa Takashi is among one of the regular zacho.

In 1999, Takashi performed the zacho shibai for two months at Shinjuku Koma Theater with over 150,000 audiences to celebrate his 25th anniversary of debut. Thus far only Misora Hibari, Mori Shiichi and Kitajima Saburo did the same thing at Koma Theater. Another great event of celebration is an outdoor traditional dance carnival at Yoyogi in August. Though hampered by torrential downpours, there were a total of 8,000 fans and supporters joining the event.

Hosokawa-enka pervades the Japan archipelagos and the world as a whole.

For a table of Hosokawa Takashi's discography, please refer to http://www.kazukikaku.com/th/message.htm.

For details of his news and profile, please click on http://www.kazukikaku.com/th/history2.htm.

Reported by: Paul Li

Date of Report: November 2000

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