Tsutsumi Kyohei Interview (1997)

Last year saw the passing of Tsutsumi Kyohei, a.k.a. “The Hit Maker,” widely considered to be one of the greatest Japanese songwriters of all time. As a tribute to this incredible man and his countless amazing songs, I have translated below a rare interview with him from 1997. Before that, however, I have also included a brief profile along with some bits of trivia about him.

I hope this translation can be of use for people who want to learn more about this genuinely legendary yet sometimes strangely unrecognized songwriter.


Text: Showa Pop no Sekai
English translation: Henkka

Basic Information

Born: May 28, 1940
Died: October 7, 2020 (aged 80)
Birthplace: Kagurazaka, Ushigome, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Hometown: Toranomon, Minato, Tokyo
Alma mater: Aoyama Gakuin University
Real name: Watanabe Eikichi

His younger brother is music producer Watanabe Tadataka. Having worked with artists such as C-C-B, KAN, Spitz, and Kobukuro, he is an esteemed producer.

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Yamashita Tatsuro 80 Questions Interview (2012)

80 questions & answers with Yamashita Tatsuro. Straightforward enough.

Find out the answers to all your burning questions, such as what Yamashita Tatsuro would wear if he was a chick, what car he drives, what he likes to drink, whether or not he ever goes to the convenience store, and what his favorite kind of donut is. Gripping stuff!

I should mention that the original interview actually has 100 questions, but I took the liberty of dropping 20 that were rather esoteric or irrelevant to non-Japanese Tatsuro fans, as well as questions that he answered more thoroughly in this 2016 interview.

Interview & text: Mori Tomoyuki (Japanese text)
English translation: Henkka
Yamashita Tatsuro on the web: Official Website

Making an appearance on our popular “100Q” column today is Yamashita Tatsuro who is releasing Ray Of Hope, his first new album in six years. […] Hearing his answers to our questions, one can’t help but feel overwhelmed by his extensive knowledge and unwavering sense of values. When something doesn’t strike his fancy; when he thinks something is simply wrong? He gives it a resounding “NO.” But when it’s something he loves; something he approves of? He pours all of his affection into it.

One can sense a direct connection between Yamashita Tatsuro as a person — as well as the music he creates — and the sheer passion of his answers in this column. All things considered, he truly is a profound person. Even just going through all of the works he introduces during this interview… It is probably going to take me around a year of very enjoyable research to get through it all.

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Yamashita Tatsuro Interview (2016)

This is a translated interview with Yamashita Tatsuro, conducted in 2016.

Topics covered in the interview include early musical influences, the current music scene, playing live, childhood memories, thoughts about getting older, and future ambitions. Enjoy!

Interview & text: Ooyama Takuya (Japanese text)
Photography: Kikuchi Eiji, Hamada Shino, Kugino Takahiro
English translation: Henkka
Yamashita Tatsuro on the web: Official Website

Yamashita Tatsuro has just finished his 40th anniversary tour, “Yamashita Tatsuro PERFORMANCE 2015-2016.” Spanning six months beginning from the autumn of 2015, the tour was planned to consist of 64 performances in 35 cities. However, an additional performance in Kanagawa due to a ticket sales issue as well as a substitute performance for the interrupted Iwate concert ultimately brought the total to 66 performances.

Even today, 40 years since his debut in SUGAR BABE, Yamashita Tatsuro continues vigorously to pursue his career. Where lies the source of that vitality? What are the convictions that have kept him going throughout all these years? We hope to find out the answers to these questions in this long, 6000-word interview which includes live photos published on the web for the first time ever.

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Lamp “Soyokaze Apartment 201” interviews & liner notes (2003)

The birth of a legendary Japanese band. This is where it all began: Lamp’s first release, 2003’s Soyokaze Apartment 201. I have translated below two interviews pertaining to the album, as well as Someya Taiyo’s liner notes for all of the tracks.

The first interview was originally published on WebVANDA.

Original interview & text: Uchi Takahide (original interview)
English translation: Henkka
Lamp online: website, label, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram

You can buy Lamp’s music directly from the band, both physically and digitally, on Bandcamp.

This group of three men and women known as Lamp debuted in April 2003. Whenever I listen to their young, lively sound, I’m always brought back to the season of the blazing sun…

In this interview, we talked to the band about their origins and about the making of this album.

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Lamp “Koibito e” interviews & liner notes (2004)

Less than a year after their debut, Soyokaze Apartment 201, Lamp came out with Koibito e, their amazing second album. Below you will find two interviews pertaining to the release along with Someya Taiyo’s track-by-track liner notes for all of the songs on it. Enjoy!

Original text & interview: OOPS!
English translation: Henkka
Lamp online: website, label, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram

You can buy Lamp’s music directly from the band, both physically and digitally, on Bandcamp.


Updating the Concept of “Pure Ubiquitous Pop”

These three youngsters by the names of Someya Taiyo (guitar), Nagai Yusuke (vocals, bass, etc), and Sakakibara Kaori (vocals, accordion, flute) formed Lamp in 2000. They debuted in 2003 with their album Soyokaze Apartment 201 that demonstrated how well they understand city pop, bossa nova, and AOR — all of the “pleasant sounds.”

Not only is their sophomore effort way up there in terms of its degree of perfection, the group have also demonstrated here their will and resolve to “update” pop music as a whole. Above all, they are capable of analyzing themselves very objectively. At the risk of exaggeration, the author of this article feels that this band is an answer to the so-called “sampling era” of the 90’s.

This is the pop music of a new era.

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