A little over 20 years ago, a drunk, naked and unconscious young man was found in an alley in Adachi Ward, Tokyo. He was taken to hospital and later released only to die a few hours later due to complications from fluid buildup in his lungs. From that point, Yutaka Ozaki（尾崎豊） became a legend to millions of Japanese fans...something akin to what has happened with Michael Jackson and John Lennon.
In his short 26-year life, he was known as a singer who squeezed in plenty of emotion and life tribulations into his works and then proceeded to wring them out through his voice onstage and in the studio. His legacy is such that NHK this morning even devoted 15 minutes of its news time to the 20th anniversary of his passing. Furthermore, a man had even erected a temple of sorts called "Ozaki House" in the same neighbourhood where Ozaki had fallen; Ozaki House lasted a good decade until it was finally closed down just last year.
I'd first heard of Ozaki through karaoke. One of the patrons in the bar sang "Oh My Little Girl", a heartwrenching ballad whose lyrics illustrate Ozaki's willingness to give his all for a woman. He did such a good job of it that I bought the CD single. The single had actually been released in January 1994, almost 2 years after his death. It reached No. 1 on the Oricon weeklies and ended up becoming the 16th-ranked single of that year. Originally, it was a track on Ozaki's debut album, "Ju-nana-sai no Chizu"(十七歳の地図...Seventeen's Map) released in December 1983. The album did get as high as No. 2 on the weeklies but apparently didn't make much more of a dent than that....at least at that time.
And if you'd like to read a thoroughly unimpressed reporter's thoughts on the singer, you can check this article out at Nippop.
|Yutaka Ozaki -- Oh My Little Girl|