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Agi Jo Ikiteru Dake No Koto Nanda (Hardly Living)

Japan Blues
31st January 2022

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Agi Jo, an alias of Yuzuru Agi, kayou pop singer, actor, model and Japanese electronic music pioneer. It’s unlikely the fan-base for his earlier pop outings would appreciate a spiky existential protest song, so Agi pressed 100 copies of the record himself. It was 1970, after he had briefly joined folk harmony pop-rock group The Happenings Four. The single was arranged by band member (now Japanese rock legend) Kuni Kawachi.

Ikiteru…, a nihilistic number, in the vein of underground singer-songwriter Mikami Kan: a pained cry of confused existence, in the darkness of a rapidly modernising world. Weekend Hippy, with a barely in tune harmonica blasted intro, à la Dylan, we have here a comment from the sidelines, on the hippy movement that had spread even to a reasonably conservative country like Japan.

Two songs that express anger, a rejection of accepted norms, both the everyday, and the so-called alternative. A small testament to the character of a near unsung great of new music in Japan.