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, April 22, 2016

Kingo Hamada -- Like What...?

Being an English conversation teacher for so many years in Japan which I can say with some confidence has a certain offbeat pop culture, I can also remark that I've come across my fair share of whimsy and wackiness and wonder. One of my students who was well-connected in the high society of Tokyo invited me over to her annual Xmas parties so I often felt like I was in a middle of a 60s Peter Sellers movie with a Henry Mancini soundtrack. Another one of my students was a star character in a series of commercials for my old English school chain and she always wore some variation of black and white. And I've visited a few Maid Cafes including the original @home Cafe in Akihabara. Plus for a couple of years, a lot of our female students who were involved in the year-long diploma program at one of my schools were hostesses in the Ginza nightclubs which distracted a number of our male teachers to no end.

Basically speaking, my life as an English teacher, and for that matter, the lives of a number of my colleagues could be made into some form of kooky comedy movie. Frankly, I'm rather surprised that there hasn't been any attempt at it (perhaps the escalating yen and the fact that the Tokyo police don't seem to be too fond of Hollywood location filming in their neighbourhood might be factors); personally, Seth Rogen ought to play me, and he's a fellow Canuck, to boot.

I mentioned earlier about that Henry Mancini soundtrack. Well, I wouldn't mind something fluffy and jazzy for the theme song. For instance, the song that I'm talking about here. "Like What...?" by singer-songwriter Kingo Hamada(濱田金吾)created that nice bouncy beat to provide the musical accompaniment for my commute through the metropolis and my lessons with the more intriguing of Tokyoites. And essayist Meg Michiyuki(道行めぐ)wrote the words about a working cog relishing his first good-weather day off in a month to soak up the sunshine sans suit and to luckily run into an old flame who may become a regular one again. The title could be the young lady's response to the cog's invitation to do something for which the happy-go-lucky fellow can cheerfully answer "Everything!"

In the short time that I've known and appreciated Hamada, I've seen him as a singer who has often alternated between jazz and City (Resort) Pop; perhaps he can be called the J-Bobby Caldwell. I have always seen him as a figure from the 80s but with "Like What...?", the song was actually a new bonus track on his BEST album "Golden Best" which came out in July 2006. Good to hear that he hasn't retired. Among the fellows backing him up is guitarist-singer-songwriter Makoto Matsushita(松下誠), another City Pop vet.


  1. Hi there! I can't find any chart info about Kingo Hamada and Makoto Matsushita. Is it possible that no one of them entered the Japanese charts as a solo artist?

    1. Hello! Yeah, unfortunately, it's entirely possible that neither Hamada nor Matsushita as solo artists broke into Oricon although they had more chart success as songwriters. To be honest, I only found out about these fellows from reading "Japanese City Pop" and discovered this below-the-surface iceberg of songs!

      I take it you're also a big fan of the two?


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