Japanese Genealogy

12-16-10

Japanese Genealogy

http://park10.wakwak.com/~techno/jgenealogy.html

Take a look at the English-language Japanese artist genealogy that this guy has worked up (some time ago, I might add!).  I have always tried to piece this stuff together, not with 100% success.  It’s much easier to do if you’re in Japan and can see what everything in this genealogy looks like!

As I do not read Japanese, I always found it very helpful when stores in Japan group ‘like artists’ together.  “What does this record have to do with YMO?” – oh, it’s on one of their labels (Midi / School, Yen, Tent, Non Standard etc.)  But I spent years not having any sort of English-language “guide” to what I was looking for with my Japanese collection / collecting.

The gentleman who made this Japanese artist genealogy specializes in “Technopop” – bands like Y.M.O., Plastics, Pizzicato Five etc. – so I’m still out of luck with figuring out how 60’s Japanese bands turn into 70’s Japanese bands, turn into 80’s Japanese bands etc.

So, I eventually met people in Japan, made friends etc.  I was recommended to an 80’s magazine called Takarajima – as an invaluable resource for “up to the minute” info on lots of artists that I liked.  I never found any issues of Takarajima, but I did eventually find a large paperback book that seemed to cover most of the 1980’s.  I can recognize the names of some of the artists  that I like, and I can certainly recognize record covers and a few faces!

I visited Japan many times between 1994 and 2007 – I lost count!  I found lots of cool Japanese domestic artist vinyl, I bought many limited edition CD packages, found tons of 7” singles…in 2010, my collection of Japanese artists numbers in excess of 1,600 titles!  I collect the Trattoria Records “Menu” series – yes, I was given many of them, but I always keep my eyes open for new “Menus”!

I confess that there was a big attraction to trying to collect a genre that there was virtually nothing written in English about it!  The first time I really went to Japan in 1994, I was still carrying notebooks with my lists – it was pre-Palm!  I got to make so many mental leaps, while searching for stuff in Japan – it was so much fun!

The specific scene I was working just seemed to evaporate – Trattoria ended it’s “Menu” series, Pizzicato Five broke up – and Konishi-san has made it very difficult to try and track down what he has done in the ensuing decade.  I regularly “read” Strange Days and Record Collectors Magazine from Japan – but there’s no more Music Life, Swing Journal etc.

So, enjoy the work of the guy who made a beautiful Japanese artist genealogy.  If only I’d had this while I rifled through countless bins of records in Tokyo…over the years…

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