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.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Tsuyoshi Kon -- Zig-Zag


I've gone through enough liner notes for various Japanese pop albums in the 1970s and 1980s to recognize the famous musicians helping out any singer or band. There's saxophonist Jake H. Concepcion, chorus group EVE and keyboardist Hiroshi Sato(佐藤博). Another musician that I've seen and can identify easily through his very brief two-kanji full name is veteran guitarist Tsuyoshi Kon(今剛).

Kon hails from Hokkaido and began his career in the late 1970s just as the Japanese fusion boom was beginning. At the tender age of 18, he helped form the band Panta & Hal in 1977 and then also joined the supergroup Parachute with drummer Tatsuo Hayashi(林立夫), fellow guitarist Masaki Matsubara(松原正樹)and keyboardist Akira Inoue(井上鑑). Throughout his long career, he's worked everyone from Akira Terao(寺尾聰)to Hikaru Utada(宇多田ヒカル), and for those two singers, he was involved in their big hits "Ruby no Yubiwa"(ルビーの指輪)and "Automatic" respectively.

In July 1980, Kon released his first solo album "Studio Cat" which was produced by the aforementioned Hayashi. The first track is "Zig-Zag" which was created and performed by the man himself as a good-time sparkling and rollicking tune heading down the Ventura Freeway. Sounds like he's going at about 100 mph along the West Coast with his buddies which include Hayashi, keyboardist Mark Jordan and synthesizer operator Michael Boddicker.


  1. Speaking of session musicians, have you heard of drummer Kiyoshi Tanaka? All I know about him is that he was one of Japan's most prolific studio drummers of the 70s and 80s. As a drummer myself I would like to know more about him. You can see him here in the 1:37 mark of this video:

    1. Hello, Kyle. Thanks for the YouTube video showing the Ono band doing all of the hits there. As for Tanaka(田中清司), to be honest, I hadn't heard of him before but from his J-Wiki profile, he was indeed a very prolific drummer.

      He was born on New Year's Day in 1948 and when he was in his teens, he actually was one of the very early recruits in the Johnny's Entertainment juggernaut as a member of the backing band for the very first Johnny's group, Johnny's, back in the 1960s after which he became involved in a number of bands.

      Not surprisingly, he has garnered a great amount of respect, and bassist/composer Tsugutoshi Goto has praised him and his contemporaries for showing the new generation the ropes of being studio musicians. Tanaka has been renowned for the warmth of his play which is responsible for many of the hits that he was involved in such as Hiromi Iwasaki's "Fantasy", Taeko Ohnuki's "Mignonne" album (which was initially deemed a relative failure when it first came out), Kenji Sawada's "Kiken na Futari" and Momoe Yamaguchi's "Ii Hi Tabidachi" among others.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.