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.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Daisuke Shima/Yokohama Ginbae -- Otoko no Kunshou(男の勲章)

In my years living in Japan, I did have a very few sightings of yakuza in the some of the entertainment districts of Tokyo and there were the annual appearances of the ultra-rightists making tons of noise around Ueno Station on one day over Golden Week. But I never caught any sight of the bosozoku(暴走族)...the motorcycle gangs of pompadoured young toughs rumbling through the streets and highways. I occasionally used to hear the sound of motorcycle engines way off in the distance when I went to sleep in Ichikawa, but...happily...I never encountered these guys in person. Well, considering that I never learned how to drive, I think any chances of encountering them were pretty much negligible to begin with.

Over the years watching TV there, I did learn that there had been a few folks who came from the bosozoku or other forms of delinquent gangs to become tarento or actors or singers. One such fellow is Daisuke Shima(嶋大輔)who was born in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan but became part of a bike gang in his teens around in the southern part of Kanagawa Prefecture in the Kanto. However, according to the Nihon Eiga Jinmei Jiten(日本映画人名事典...Japan Movie Biographical Dictionary)in 1996, Shima was at a Yokohama Ginbae(横浜銀蝿)concert where he was smoking in a public washroom. It just so happened that the president of the production company handling the band was there at the same time, gave him a scolding and then scouted him into show business (that was quite the stick-and-carrot approach). Shima became a younger brother of sorts to the band.

He got his first acting gig on television in 1981 in the TBS series "Akane-san no O-Bento"(茜さんのお弁当...Akane's Box Lunch)but then made his debut as a singer the following year. A couple of months later in April 1982, his second single "Otoko no Kunshou" (A Man's Honour) got him his first big break.

The reason that I'm writing about this is that I heard the song being performed by the enka aidoru group Junretsu(純烈)on last week's "Uta Kon"(うたコン), and I automatically remembered the melody. Although I did say at the top, I would never want to be in a dark alley facing any one member of a bosozoku, let alone an entire gang, there is still a certain poignancy listening to "Otoko no Kunshou" with the wailing 50s-style guitars and good old-time rock-and-roll while watching Shima in that huge hair twisting away. In recent years, the only time that I've seen anyone looking like that has been in Yoyogi Park next to an ancient ghettoblaster. In a way, "Otoko no Kunshou", a tribute to the life of a biker, reflects one aspect of my observation of Japanese pop culture in the early 80s.

The song peaked at No. 3 on Oricon and sold close to 400,000 records, becoming Shima's biggest hit as a singer. It would become the 25th-ranked single of 1982. "Otoko no Kunshou" was also used as the theme for the NTV drama "Ama made Agare!"(天まであがれ!...Get Up To Heaven!)which also starred Shima.

"Otoko no Kunshou" was written and composed by Johnny who was the guitarist and vocalist for The Crazy Rider Yokohama Ginbae Rolling Special (and is now a senior executive for King Records under his real name, Masato Asanuma), the official name for Yokohama Ginbae. The band did their own cover of the song in their 1983 album "Bucchigiri R"(ぶっちぎりR...Breaking Away Reverse).

Then, Shima revisited his big hit in 2003. He was a little paunchier (please don't kill me, Mr. Shima, sir) but the pompadour and voice are still there.


  1. Hello Canuck,

    I suppose Bosozoku/Tsuppari culture mainly flourished in more rural parts of Japan. Back in the early 80s in Tochigi where I was a student, "Ginbae" wannabes were everywhere! Even my own brother was one. The generation before them had Carol(Eikichi Yazawa) and Cools, and now they had their own Bad Boy Rock 'n Roll heroes in Yokohama Ginbae. Then came Shima. He was nothing but a small town thug wannabe who attended a Ginbae concert who had little to no musical talent. Now he's WITH the band! I'm sure many Tsuppari boys (my own brother included) were having wet dreams about themselves someday be in Shima's shoes.

    1. Hello, Kaz.

      I never got to see the tsuppari culture at Yoyogi Park at its peak in person. Saw it on TV and simply cocked my head in mystery at the time. "Why were the Japanese so huge into 'Happy Days'?" I thought.

      One of my students once told me that his brother-in-law was a reformed chinpira. I kinda wondered how that relationship got on considering my student appeared like an adorable teddy bear.

  2. Hey J! Merry Christmas!

    Ahh Daisuke Shima! I’ve been looking for his songs for a long time.

    I’ve been a long time fan of the Tokusatsu sub-set, Super Sentai and I remember reading a bit on Daisuke Shima. He starred as Red Falcon on the SS show Choujuu Sentai Liveman, and he apparently sang the opening too. I’ve been intrigued ever since, but I never really found any of his songs (bad luck, or bad research skills haha). So thank you for this!

    I love his acting though. I’ve seen him in bits around some Johnny’s starred shows. I do hear he has retired.

    1. Hello, Yuie-chan! And all the best of the Holidays to you as well.

      So, you are a tokusatsu fan, eh? I don't watch the genre anymore but I used to be a huge fan of Kamen Rider and Ultraman when I was a kid, and of course, adored Godzilla and Gamera. Definitely looking forward to the next "Godzilla" outing. I'm hoping that Ken Watanabe does more than look solemn this time, though.:)

    2. Oh my gosh, you are too? This is too amazing!

      Haha he’s been doing the stoic face lately. I hope you get your wish! I’m a fan of the Kamen Rider franchise too, though I’m more of a Showa rider fan (I am too partial on KR Black).

      And I just realized, this is the theme song of the live action dorama of 今日から俺は. I didn’t really notice until today. Haha

  3. Disculpen, se que esta página está dedicada a Daisuke Shima pero aprovecho para preguntar por el actor Jin Kawamoto, quien personificó a green sai - Junichi Aikawa. ¿Qué se sabe de él?¿ha llegado ha tener entrevistas en televisión?

  4. Hello, Lili. I'm sorry but I can't write in Spanish. However, I will try to answer your question.

    Kawamoto was born in 1970 in Kanagawa Prefecture and began his career in 1985. Surprisingly, there is very little information about him at Japanese Wikipedia, and he was only active between 1985 and 1989. His role in "Liveman" was his final entry on J-Wiki. After he got married, he retired from the entertainment industry.

    I couldn't find any TV interviews with him, unfortunately.


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