Nov 25, 2009


Hikashu - Carps and Gaspacho

and the scenic shot of Cáceres, Spain.

Makigami visited Spain in summer this year, and probably shot the video for himself.

Nov 21, 2009

"... one of the defining bands of Japanese new wave and technopop ..."

I just found Japan Times has some interesting articles about the Drive to 2010s event. One of them also features a photo of Hikashu from 1979.

Notable for Koichi Makigami's distinctive, Kabuki-influenced vocal style, Hikashu were, alongside P-Model and The Plastics, one of the defining bands of Japanese new wave and technopop, although from their poppy debut they quickly tacked in a more experimental direction. At Drive to 2010 they are notable for being one of only a handful of artists to perform at all three "Drive to . . . " events.

I would like to note, at that event, Hikashu is the only band which never cease to exist during those 30 years.

All aboard for Drive to 2010

The past and present of bands tearing up Japan's underground scene

Nov 19, 2009

The Band's Name

Here's a little, but very important question for all us fans:

What does the word "Hikashu" mean?

The answer:

No one knows.


The name Hikashu was originally conceived and endowed by an original member, synthesizer player Yamashita Yasushi.

It is not conventional Japanese word. So if you ask it nearby Japanese, you would probably never get any likely answer.

Yamashita has never reveal exactly what it is, and its meaning is still subject to debate among the fans.

Nov 18, 2009

The Big Issue

The second-latest issue of The Big Issue (Japanese edition, #130) has an interview with Makigami. In it, he talked about the early days (he was aspiring to become an stage actor), his relationship with Tuva Republic (in Japan, he is one of the most renowned practitioner of Tuvan throat singing, Khoomei), and of course, Hikashu.

Back numbers are available from the vendors.

The Big Issue Japan (in English)
The Big Issue Japan, #130

Nov 17, 2009

Merry Electric Christmas

The Model Plants, a Japanese new wave band formed in 1984, will come to an end this year. The group also has hosted a December event entitled "Merry Electric Christmas" for years, and 2009 will be the last. It's two days event and Hikashu will perform on the first date, December 5th.

the image derived from the official site

"Merry Electric Christmas Final"
at Ikebukuro Live-Inn Rosa
On December 5th, 2009
16:00 open, 18:30 start
Live Performance:
The Model Plants, Mokugyo, Arvant-Garde, Seirogan-X, Nakayama Takashi with LABSiCK Man-Machine ReMix, Yamamoto Naoki, Hikashu
VJ: nipponia electronica
DJ: Onojima Dai, Tachizawa Yuji
advance 3,000 yen / at door 3,500 yen (one drink order required)

The Official Event Blog
Ikebukuro Live-Inn Rosa

Nov 16, 2009

Cho Kayou Live Concert

Cho Kayou (超歌謡) is a term which Makigami used for his way of interpretation of Japanese songs. In "Minzoku No Saiten" (1982) and "Koroshi No Blues" (1992), Makigami covered popular (and obscure) Japanese songs, most of them are from 1950-1970. There are so many "Japanese songbook" albums in the market, but those two albums are clearly stood out, for the songs' selection (which really reflected his eclectism), and its unique and fresh approach for each song.

In the past, Makigami did a series of live concert under the Cho Kayou concept, which he called Cho Kayou Live. And the latest date is coming on next month. Recently he did not Cho Kayou thing so frequently, and this time play with Hikashu people, so this is a truly rare treat. Should not to be missed.

Makigami Koichi Cho Kayou Live
at Kichijoji Star Pine's Cafe
on December 3, 2009
Makigami Koichi (vocal), Sato Yoshiaki (accordion), Shika Udai (cello), Mita Freeman (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), Shimizu Kazuto (keyboard), Sato Masaharu (drums)
18:30 open, 19:30 start
advance 3,600 yen / at door 4,000 yen (one drink order required)

Note: "Minzoku No Saiten" and "Koroshi No Blues" are going to be reissued late this month.

Star Pine's Cafe

Nov 15, 2009


Meteor is an artists' unit of music and CG animation from Asakusa, Tokyo, formed in 1996. Musically, they took an unique approach, trying to integrate western pop and japanese traditional music. They are also prolific CG creators, and won many CG-related awards in the past. The CG works are featured in their live performance, too. The first album, Chemistry of Children (1999), was produced by Hikashu's bass player, Sakaide Masami.

Meteor invite Hikashu as guest at their live set.

Hikashu x Meteor
at Asakusa Kurawood
on November 27, 2009
18:30 open, 19:30 start
advance 3,500 yen / at door 3,800 yen

Meteor official site
Meteor on MySpace

Nov 2, 2009

Ten Ten

Speaking of Ten Ten, it's a nice album. If you were interested in improvisational side of Hikashu, you should get this one.

Hikashu - Ten Ten (2007)

Ten Ten
No Hello
What Is Sakki
Cool Evening
Unexpected...Half Of Watermelon
Lively Story
Golden Egg
A Pomegranate Is Here

All improvisation. A lot of interplay, strange voices, and weird wind-like sounds of thermin. Full of twist, thrill, and humor.

Here's background: In 2006, the Stone, a live venue in NYC, planned to do "the Makigami Koichi week." Makigami accepted the offer. He decided to devote Hikashu a day, and do some recording with the band in the city.

Since keyboard player Shimizu couldn't make it to NYC, and they just wanted to do that way, the band decided to try entirely improvisational approach for the recording. And they made it. It turned out pretty well. They even didn't change the recording order for the release. So the track sequence of the album is the same as the recording proceeded.

I think there're not so many other bands than Hikashu could do the thing like this so splendidly. Of course, it was not easy thing to do. Makigami admitted that it was exceptional, even for Hikashu. And fortunately, they succeeded to capture the crucial moment.

"We couldn't do this anymore" - Makigami Koichi, April 2009

Ten Ten page on DMG

Available via HMV Japan.