I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kome Kome Club -- FUNK FUJIYAMA

This is perhaps one of the representative songs of the eclectic funk/pop ensemble that is Kome Kome Club (米米クラブ), and as catchy and amusing as it is, it's even better with the PV above. I would even go as far as to call it my favorite Japanese PV of all time. It gave me a good laugh when I first watched it on Youtube some years ago. I figure many readers of this blog are from outside Japan, and it sarcastically spoofs the inner baka gaijin in some of us. I certainly was guilty of having a stereotypical view of Japan early in my life. Regardless of your Japanese ability, listen to the song carefully and you'll get the gist. Carl Smoky Ishii spits out a number of phrases that a new overseas visitor to the country (who's also obsessed with its "orientalism") might say, albeit exaggerated. 'Fujiyama', for instance, when it's not a person's surname, is a misreading error some non-Japanese make when referring to Mt. Fuji (富士山...Fujisan) because the final kanji is often read as 'yama'. Anyways, that video is rich with visual gags and I can't name my favorite part, but I really got the kick out of the "Frightened by Japan?" bit at 3:15. It's just so typical of us in the West to be intimidated by Japan's "weirdness". Even though the song is over 20 years old, I'd say that it's still pretty relevant today.

"Funk Fujiyama" came out as a single in October 1989 went straight to No.2 on Oricon weeklies. A month later, it was included on the band's fifth studio album "5 1/2", and that one earned a No.1 spot. It was promoted as a CM jingle for Sony's Multi-Disc Player. More recently, it was used as a theme song for the web show "You Can Play This" by the late Justin "JewWario" Carmical, which is how a number of overseas listeners were exposed to the song.

I got to sing this one a couple of times at Toronto's Studio Lounge Karaoke Bar near Yonge/Sheppard (aka. the best Karaoke joint in the city at the moment), and the video that came with it had a gaijin tourist with a huge camera stalking a Japanese lady dressed in kimono around Tokyo. Quite amusing.

I'll close the entry with Paul's comment on the song at his blog. Check it out.

My copy of "5 1/2"
Funky case


  1. I was watching local all-news channel CP24 this morning when one of the hosts remarked how much he loved showing Japanese variety show clips on the "SAY WHAT?" segment...yup, amazing some of those things.

    Anyways, I loved watching the music video since I'd never seen it, and it's classic K2C humour. Carl Smokey not only wears his suits well but he could've become a good manzai comedian. I actually became acquainted with Kome Kome Club for the first time from that Sony commercial ( I just thought, "Man, music is really changing here..."

  2. I absolutely love Funk Fujiyama and its video. I love Ishii's sense of humor and mischievous smile.

    1. Hi, nenamatahari. Thanks for commenting. One of my regrets after living in Japan is that I never got to see K2C in concert. I think fans were always guaranteed of getting more than their money's worth! :)


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