Sunday, May 03, 2009

Kiyoshiro Imawano, RIP

Got an email from Nate last night with the news that rocker/actor/leftist Kiyoshiro Imawano (忌野清志郎) died yesterday at age 58 :(

Kiyoshiro was a musician in the 70s band RC Succession, and later played solo at the Fuji Rock Festival and Free Tibet concerts in the 90s and 00s. Outside of his long music and activism career, Kiyoshiro might be best known to English-speaking audiences from his hilarious role as Richard in the Takashi Miike film, Happiness of the Katakuris. He also performed in another Miike film, The Great Yokai War.

Here is a clip of one of Kiyoshiro's finest film moments, in one of my all-time favorite movies:


Kiyoshiro Imawano singing Kimigayo:

15 comments:

Evan said...

Rest in peace, "Richard Sagawa" :-(

Azraelito said...

Happiness of the katakuri, what an incredible movie!!I still think that has one of those endings that are perfectly brilliant for such a personal movie!!

sad news...but well rest in peace richard!!

I didnt see the great togai war, I need to see that, the trailer of that movie es very interesting perhaps because is all related to the yokai movies and things!!

saludos...

bittermelon said...

that's a bummer. the youtube clip is so fresh. love the mini leg stretch moves on the railing in the beginning.

ryan said...

@Evan: Peace out Kiyoshiro. There are lots of clips of his music on YouTube.

@Azraelito: I really, really love that movie!

@bittermelon: We've had that standing date to watch Katakuris-- now all the more reason to make it happen!

Michael said...

That's too bad, really ... He had some hilarious songs in a few of the earlier Naoto Takenaka stuff. But I loved his serious side, too. His duet with Ikuko Harada on her last solo album "Ginga" was great, too.

Evan said...

Btw Ryan, did I ever play you the Imawano album I have? It wandered into Cerise's book store a couple years ago, and I snached it up.

ryan said...

@Michael: I'm not super well-versed in most of his music... That duet sounds awesome, I'm gonna go try to dig around for it.. thanks!!

@Evan: No, but I'd love to hear that :) Sounds like a good find.

Yoshio said...

Happiness of the Katakuris stressed to celebrate and rejoice over the good things that happened in someones life, rather than grieve over death. So lets take a hint from there! Nevertheless, RIP!

Jeremy Hughes said...

dude B(

thanks for making a post about this, i am sure hardly anyone knows who he is outside of Japan and that is way sad. he is totally one of those fantastically weird people who should be celebrated.

Kate said...

I found your blog by googling "Kiyoshiro memorial" -- I found out yesterday he had died and I am surprised how sad I feel about it. I totally agree with Jeremy's comment. Kiyoshiro was so weird and special.

ryan said...

@Jeremy, @Kate: Thanks for visiting and the nice comments. I probably wouldn't have caught the 1 or 2 small English articles about Kiyoshiro myself, but my buddy living in Tokyo txt'd me the sad news. I know that in Japan it's been huge news and lots of folks are honoring the man's rad life.

:)

Anonymous said...

It is nice to see people who dig Kiyoshiro. I grew up a huge fan of his, especially everything before 1979, but there was tons of great solo stuff. I was lucky to have met him a few times. He was a special and important person, gracious, kind, shy, daring....
I will miss him very much. It has been a sad few days...
-Havergill Milk

Nate said...

Kiyoshiro's death was a big deal for a lot of people. I went to a friend's house the next day where we took turns lighting incense in front of a shrine she had built for him. He was her inspiration to start a band and become a singer, and I think that was probably true for a lot of people.

Last night another pal and I sang the RC Succession song "Transistor Radio" in his memory. In addition to being a great musician, he was one of the few rock stars who would speak his mind about politics and didn't care about getting banned from the airwaves. He once said "people who say that rock shouldn't have a message don't understand anything about rock and roll."

ryan said...

@Nate: that sounds really nice. Kiyoshiro now and also one of my absolute favorites (the unmatched JG Ballard) peacing out in the last few weeks has been a bummer.

winslow said...

oh, what the hell? i just saw happiness of the katakuris for the first time the day before he died, technically the same day because it was 3am. that's how it goes, i guess. RIP