Saturday, February 02, 2008

Precious Junk, Junk-Pop, J-Pop, and the Ken Doll

Junk Thief has had an obsession with J-pop, high Japanese culture and all things Tokyo since the late 1970s and owns the nearly complete catalogs of Y.M.O., Sakamoto's solo and film scores, Shonen Knife, Pizzicato Five, Puffy Ami Yumi and Oh Penelope. He's tended to lean towards J-Pop girl groups since the male singers are too often of the whining U.S. boy band genre. Junk Thief's love life has often resembled kabuki theater. And, of course, Junk Thief has often joined forces with Hello Kitty and Deery Lou to fight evil forces in the Universe. Sanrio characters are the only hope to bring justice to our trouble, terrorized world.

Junk Thief was aware of but not not that into Ken Hirai until lately, and he's been in very heavy rotation these days. You've got to an admire a 6 foot plus Japanese gay dude that looks like, well, the way he looks and who can do something as fun and goofy as Pop Star (above) and Fake Star (below) where he cavorts with a bunch of blonde super models as if he was actually into them. Don't listen to the lyrics too closely and you might mistake him for, well, you insert the American name. Fittingly, his first hit was Precious Junk. Is Junk Thief off base, or does this guy deserve to have his own version of the Ken Doll? Junk Thief would be first on line to order one.

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At 1:33 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

I love Pizzicato 5, and highly recommend Takako Minekawa to you.

And a big shout out, as always, to Flat Panda.

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - P5 holds up amazingly well. Yes, I know Takako but thanks for reminding me. And of course there's Plastic Fantastic Machine and Cornelius, all quirky and cuddly. Though, with Ken, I wouldn't want to stop with cuddling.

At 3:56 PM, Anonymous The Angry Young Man said...

Ken Hirai doesn't look like a whole Japanese. He looks like an exchange student we had in high school, Mariko Nakigami, who insisted she was a whole Japanese, until her parents told her half way through her year here that she wasn't their real daughter, her aunt was her real mother, and her real father was an American navy man down in San Diego. She cried and cried and cried and then moved back to Nippon and became a supermodel.

Pizzicato Five has been one of my favorite bands for well over a decade now. I dig that funky Shibuya-kei beat, mang! Their cover of My Blue Heaven is the theme song of my life and what I currently listen to, real loud like, on the N-Judah. That and Electric Lady Land by Fantastic Plastic Machine. Tomoyuki Tanaka roolz. I'll have to check this new upstart out...

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Angry - Well, at least we agree in general on the coolness of that Shibuya-kei beat. Hey, I don't care if Ken's Japanese pedigree is not 100% or not. He manages to look like a Turkish dude, African American, Latino and Flat Panda all in one video, and he's pretty darn adorable gyrating in the red jump suit.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger jason said...

He's nice...though he should amp up his neo-soul and downplay the Iglesiasisms, if that makes sense

But nothing as good at the Pizzicato 5.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jason - I think we're on the same page. I much prefer the clip at the top over the sort of whining "soulful" ballad below. He looks great in the latter, but the first one's much more fun. Though he's easy on the eyes, no one can touch the brilliance and fun of the P5. Twiggy, Twiggy, anyone?

At 3:42 PM, Blogger WAT said...


I must learn Japanese now!


At 3:46 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

WAT - Glad you agree. He can do cute and cuddly or hot and swarthy. He definitely blows away the myth of Japanese guys being scrawny, nerdy math geeks. This guy may be no good at math, but who cares!


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