Here's something you don't hear everyday... Enka-hip-hop fusion. And yet the strange combination worked out perfectly for polished and serious Enka crooner George Yamamoto (山本譲二), and part of the owarai act Tunnels, Noritake Kinashi (木梨憲武). Together, they had formed a one-time duo Norisaburo (憲三郎) and George (ジョージ) Yamamoto to sing a song that is 'Roman'.
Although the title literally means 'Romance', it has no semblance to a sappy love song and it doesn't touch on the romance between a man and a woman. Instead, 'Roman' revolves around the love and camaraderie between two friends. It sort of matches the pretty manly music with the powerful sting of the electric guitar and typical hip-hop beat. This was all done by none other than Joji Hara (原譲二), aka Saburo Kitajima (北島三郎) - probably why the score had such a strong Enka accent to it - though Kinashi provided the lyrics' draft.
'Roman' was released in 1996 under the hilarious label of 'OYAJI (old man) RECORDS' (Pony Canyon) and it did pretty well on the charts, peaking at 25th on the regular one and 1st on the Enka/Kayokyoku one. It eventually sold around 230 000 copies and won the 'Planning Award' at the 38th Japan Record Awards. Yamamoto and Kinashi had also sung this song at the 47th Kohaku.
I've seen 'Roman' sung by Yamamoto with other Enka singers (not with Kinashi, unfortunately), but as I've mentioned above, its a song on friendship between 2 fellows. So I would have to say its best sung with his buddy Ikuzo Yoshi (吉幾三), you can check it out in the link below. Also, when those 2 are paired up you're most likely going to have a good performance with bantering and silly shenanigans.