Dec 31, 2012

Retrospection of 2012

It's been a great year for Hikashu.

First of all, new album "Uragoe" was released in April. Although being recorded and mixed in 2011, the release was postponed due to the artwork of Tabaimo. Well, it was worth waiting. Her work was quite nice, attractive, and reflected the atmosphere of the album.

It needs no saying that the album itself is great. Above all, the sound itself is excellent - it's so crisp, and quite lively. Surely they made it again.

As for performance, the band did 30+ gigs this year. In particularly, the Russia Lithuania Tour in October stood out. The audiences warmly welcomed the band, and that tour proved again they are international.

In July, they performed at Orange Court of Fuji Rock Festival, the biggest rock event in Japan, for the second time, in front of five thousand people.

Other than that, Hikashu participated in various rock festivals. Such activities are important to reach for younger generations, and they are actually very positive doing that.

All things considered, it's so enjoyable to witness the reactions of the people who first exposed to the band, At first, many of them were dubious - for them, they are just a bunch of old men, older than their parents - and suspected they could even rock. But soon after they start performing, everything would change. They shocked. They awed. They astonished. Their faces tell that they've never seen such a thing. And many of them are to be converted on the spot.

And next year looks promising as well. Right now, the gigs for the first three months are already booked, and there is a plan for another overseas tour. We'll let you know about that little later, so stay tuned.

Dec 30, 2012

More Photo Gallaries from the Russia Lithuania Tour

The followings are the photo galleries from the concerts at Vilnius and Jagger Club of Sankt Peterburg in October 2012.

Vilnius Jazz Festival - October 13, 2012

Jagger Club, Sankt Peterburg - October 16, 2012

Dec 23, 2012

Kyushu Tour 2013

The band's first activities in 2013 will be a tour in Kyushu, the southern island of Japan.

The dates are:

January 18 - Voodoo Lounge, Fukuoka
January 19 - Space Terra, Fukuoka
January 20 - AT Hall, Oita

January 18, 2013
Voodoo Lounge
@ Fukuoka
other acts: Min Hisako and Shimanagashi, nontroppo, Okumura Yusuke
open 19:00 - start 19:30
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500
(one drink order minimum)
for inquiries, mail at or call 090-3413-0683

VooDoo Lounge, Fukuoka

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January 19, 2013
Space Terra
@ Fukuoka
open 18:00 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
(one drink order minimum)
for reservation, contact the organizer at 092-558-6641 or

Space Terra, Fukuoka

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January 20, 2012
AT Hall
@ Oita
other acts: Nenecart and others
open 18:30 start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
(one drink order minimum)
for reservation, call the venue at 097-535-2567 or

AT Hall, Oita

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Dec 21, 2012

This Weekend

This is the flyer for Christmas 2012 Concert. For this event, the band has prepared for new arrangements of various compositions - some might be performed only for this occasion. This will be one and only best evening for sure.

Don't miss it!

December 23, 2012
"Hikashu no Christmas Kaiki Daisakusen 2012"
@ Daikanyama UNIT
Daikanyama, Tokyo
open 17:00 - start 18:00
4,000 yen (one drink order minimum)
Tickets available via Ticket Lawson,
Ticket Pia, e+, and ganban
venue's directions - Time Out Tokyo

Daikanyama UNIT, Daikanyama, Tokyo

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Dec 15, 2012

Kuro Yagi Shiro Yagi with guests

Kuro Yagi Shiro Yagi, the bass-and-drums duo from Hikashu, has been playing almost every month at Bar Isshee for a while. Unfortunately, this is the last time for them to play there because the bar in Shibuya will close at the end of this month. For this last gig, the duo will hold a special gig with notable guests - the rest of the Hikashu members.

Kuro Yagi Shiro Yagi
December 17, 2012
@ Bar Isshee
Shibuya, Tokyo
open 20:00
Sakaide Masami (bass), Sato Masaharu (drums) with guests:
Makigami Koichi (voice), Mita Freeman (guitar), Shimizu Kazuto (keyboards)
Music Charge - not fixed (pay as much you'd like to, after the performance)
Charge - 500 yen (plus one drink order minimum)

Bar Isshee, Shibuya, Tokyo

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Makigami and Friends in Shinjuku

Makigami solo gig at Shinjuku Pit-Inn, the oldest jazz club in Japan.

Makigami Koichi
"Over Underground - Dive Deep and Make It Through"
December 16, 2012
Makigami Koichi (voice, theremin, cornet), Yokodawa Tadahiko (violin, electronics), Sakaguchi Mitsuo (keyboard), Yamamoto Tatsuhisa (drums)
@ Shinjuku Pit-Inn
Shinjuku, Tokyo
open 19:30 - start 20:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen

Shinjuku Pit-Inn, Tokyo

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Nov 29, 2012

Hikashu on MTV Moscow

MTV Moscow reported the band's visit to the city in October. The clip has various footage from the DOM gig, and the interview of the members.  Started at 11:45. Duration - about 3 minutes.

Nov 6, 2012

Inoue Makoto, Charan Po Rantan, Marianne Shinonome (from Kinoco Hotel), and all women's horns go together at the annual Hikashu's year's-end concert

At last! It's just officially announced. The regular year's-end concert of Hikashu will be held on December 23 at Daikanyama Unit, Tokyo, with a lot of guest - this year almost all women musicians.

As for guests, Inoue Makoto is the leader of Godzilla Legend, a project aiming reinterpretation of music from classic monster movies, founded in 1982. He is an original member of Hikashu as well. Although quitted the band in 1991, he has been a collaborator afterwards on and off. He is also a member of Inoyama Land, an ambient music duo with Yamashita Yasushi, another original Hikashu. Their partnership even predates Hikashu, started in 1977.

Marianne Shinonome is the leader and vocalist of all-girls rock combo, Kinoco Hotel. She's been known as a fan of Hikashu and spotted at the band's gig frequently.

Charan Po Rantan is a sister's duo, consisted of Koharu (accordion, vocals) and Momo (vocals). At the year's end concert of Hikashu last year, they did a short set of their own, then performed with Godzilla Legend. In the Godzilla set, they played Shobijin, which is originally the role by the Peanuts (wikipedia), a legendary figure and another sister's duo. They sang two tunes - the famous theme from Mothra, and "The Sacred Fountain," a beautiful ballad with haunting chorus, which they reproduced splendidly. This time they bring a drummer and long-time associate, Fuu'chin.

Ishiwata, Nakamura, and Kaneko are all musicians active in Tokyo area, playing with various jazz and pop ensembles.

The last year's-end concert with Godzilla Legend was quite a monumental, so will be this year's absolutely. Go buy ticket not to be remorse.


Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin, cornet, shakuhachi)
Mita Freeman (guitar)
Sakaide Masami (bass)
Shimizu Kazuto (synthesizer, bass clarinet)
Sato Masaharu (drums)
Inoue Makoto (synthesizer)


Marianne Shinonome (vocal) from Kinoco Hotel

Ishiwata Misaki (trumpet)
Nakamura Erika (saxophone)
Kaneko Yasuko (trombone)

Charan Po Rantan:
Koharu (accordion, vocal)
Momo (vocal)
Fuu'chin (drums)

December 23, 2012
"Hikashu no Christmas Kaiki Daisakusen 2012"
@ Daikanyama UNIT
Daikanyama, Tokyo
open 17:00 - start 18:00
4,000 yen (one drink order minimum)
Tickets on sale November 17
available via Ticket Lawson, Ticket Pia,
e+, and ganban
venue's directions - Time Out Tokyo

Daikanyama UNIT, Daikanyama, Tokyo

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Hikashu's Autumn Concert

The first gig after the tour, therefore some road stories are expected. This is the only Hikashu appearance in November as well, so do not miss it.

November 7, 2012
"Hikashu's Autumn"
@ Star Pine's Cafe
Kichijoji, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 3,600 yen - at door 4,000 yen
(one drink order minimum)
venue's directions - Time Out Tokyo

Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo

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Currents: November 2012

Reminiscences of the Russia Lithuania tour

They've still made a little comment about the trip but judging from it, the tour was quite fantastic. In Moscow and Vilnius, they played in front of jazz audience and got enthusiastic response. In Riga, Latvia, they visited the JZ Microphone factory and utterly impressed by their professionalism and commitment for quality. Riga is also a town of beauty and they would like to return some day. Sankt Peterburg is the place where it was the first time for all members, even Makigami, to be there. Beside two performances (which turned out great), the city was up to their expectations indeed. They went to see the Museum (need not to mention where), and some monuments for the great figures of Russian literature, that is, to be more precise, Dostoevsky and Nabokov. Overall, it seems to be a great tour and great experience. More road stories are expected at their next gig on November 7 at Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo.

In-store Event at Tower Record Shibuya

Unfortunately, drummer Sato couldn't make it, but other than that, it was success. It was the first time appearance for them in Tokyo since September so the place was packed. The band did a nearly one-hour set, mostly the numbers from their latest album, Uragoe. At first, the absence of the drummer was evidently affected the performance. Surprisingly, the number they picked for the first tune was "Fude o Fure, Kanata-Kun" [Wave the Brush, Mr. Beyond] which is a heavily rhythmical composition. Naturally, it turned out to lack something desired and sound so strange, though it showed the band's fearlessness. But after that, the band got used to the situation, and the audience seemed to overcome its uneasiness and started cheering. They even did an encore. After the main set, the audience wanted more. After the band returned to bandstand, several in the audience shouted Pike. They took it and played the tune, backed with the crowd clapping enthusiastically. After the performance, there's a long line of fans with albums, waiting to be autographed.

Makigami visit Tuva in early December

It is the second time he visit the Republic in Siberia this year. He invited to join a pop music festival held in Kyzyl, the capital city of Tuva. His appearance will be at The Drama Theater on December 1, 2012. Go see him if you were nearby.

Oct 21, 2012

Photo Galleries of the Moscow and Vilnius concerts

Hikashu at Vilnius Jazz Festival 2012

Now all the overseas dates of the tour have been finished and the members have returned to Japan. No word from the band yet, but it's likely fruitful and gratifying overall.

There's some photo galleries from the tour on the net.

October 10, 2012 @ DOM, Moscow, Russia (google translate)
Original Russian is here.

October 12, 2012 @ Vilnius Jazz Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania (google translate)
Original Lithuanian is here., a Lithuanian art news site, observed Hikashu as "looked much younger and happier than young virtuosos from the EU." (article via google translate)

After returning to Japan, the band has done two consecutive dates in Aichi and Hamamatsu respectively, then the entire tour has finally completed. Their next appearance is in-store event at Tower Record Shibuya, Tokyo on October 25. For details, see the related entry.

Related entry:
In-store Event at Tower Records Shibuya

Oct 15, 2012

Heading for Sankt Peterburg

Hikashu at Russian Drama Theatre, Vilnius.

Now Hikashu has completed the first half of the overseas tour. Via twitter, the members expressed their sentiments while on road, and evidently quite enjoyed themselves. They said the audiences in Moscow and Vilnius were very enthusiastic and gratitude for that. Sightseeing and local dishes were fantastic as well.

Hikashu drummer Sato Masaharu, and the Fuwa Works leader Fuwa Daisuke in Vilnius.

After dropping by JZ microphone in Raga, Latvia, the band returns to Russia, this time Sankt Peterburg. They will perform at Jaggerclub on October 16, and at The International APOSITSIA Music Forum on October 18. Do not miss if you were nearby.

Jaggerclub website

The International APOSITSIA Music Forum website
Apositsia Festival at MANEGE small hall, St. Petersburg, Griboedova 103

Oct 14, 2012

Selected Media Articles

Want to know more about Hikashu? Just for your reference, here's a selective collection of hyperlink to the articles about or related to the band, listed unchronologically. Hope this helps.

August 21, 2012
Hikashu: Uragoe (2012)
album review

April 5, 2012
Hikashu "Uragoe"
The Japan Times
album review

April 4, 2012
Hikashu: the interview - From techno-pop to throat singing: Koichi Makigami tells all
Time Out Tokyo
Very long and quite informative. Recommended.

August 25, 2011
Jazz Art Sengawa - Cellist Hiromichi Sakamoto and Japan’s avant-garde build a home of their own

July 12, 2010
Jazz Art Sengawa 2010

August 28th, 2009
Hikashu -
Enter the strange vocal world of Koichi Makigami at your own risk


November 2, 2007
Seigen Ono - The self-taught musician/producer gathered a stellar cast of New York musicians for Maria and Maria
A profile of Ono Seigen. Mr. Ono has mastered many recent releases of Hikashu.

Oct 9, 2012

Alexei Aigui in Tokyo

Alexei Aigui, a noted composer and violinist who has been active in Moscow and Paris, visited Tokyo earlier this year. He jammed with Hikashu at Moscow DOM in last September as a guest.

During his stay in Tokyo, he performed with Japanese musicians.

Playing with Japanese musicians at Waseda, Tokyo.

Alexei Aigui tried out an electric violin at a music shop in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Mr. Aigui will sit in with Hikashu again at DOM on October 10, 2012.

Hikashu visits JZ Microphones

On the way from Vilnius to Sankt Petersburg, Hikashu plans to pay a visit to the JZ Microphones factory in Riga, Latvia on October 14.

JZ's Black Hole microphone was used for main vocal at the Uragoe session in New York last year upon the recommendation of Marc Urselli, the engineer of the album. The band was quite impressed with the mic, got interested in the company, and decided to drop by there for themselves, making the fullest use of being nearby.

Currents: October 2012

Carmen Maki and her band at a double-bill gig with Hikashu at La Mama, Shibuya, Tokyo on September 9, 2012. From left to right, Sakaide Masami, Carmen Maki, Sato Masaharu, Ohta Keisuke, and Shimizu Kazuto. Photo: Ikeda Masaaki

The Year End's Concert

It's just announced that the annual year's end concert of Hikashu will be held on December 23 at Daikanyama Unit Tokyo this year. No details revealed yet but we can expect some guests just as before. Stay tuned.

In-store Event at Tower Records Shibuya

In late October, Hikashu will do a signing session and live performance as in-store event at Tower Records Shibuya, Tokyo. The band seldom do this kind of thing so do not miss it. The details will follow soon.

More reissues

The remastered edition of "Acchi No Me, Kocchi No Me" [Dazzling Eyes] will be released in December this year. Can't wait.

In-store Event at Tower Records Shibuya

On October 25, a signing session and live performance of Hikashu will be held at Tower Records Shibuya. Live performance is admission free, but be sure to get a ticket if you want to participate in signing session. To obtain the ticket, you have to buy one of the recent Hikashu releases distributed by Bridge, Inc. at Tower Records Store in Shibuya or Shinjuku (applied for purchases after October 5). For getting autographed, don't forget to bring the cd you got at Tower.

October 25, 2012
@ Tower Records Shibuya
Shibuya, Tokyo
(Lounge space at the ground floor)
start 20:00
admission free

Tower Records Shibuya, Tokyo

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Sep 25, 2012

Meadow (Taylor Brunborg Strønen) Japan Tour 2012

Meadow, a European jazz unit, will tour Japan in November 2012. The tour is organized by Makigami Koichi, who also appears at all the shows as an opening act with other musicians including Sato Masaharu, the drummer from Hikashu.

Meadow is consisted of John Taylor on piano, Tore Brunborg on tenor and soprano saxophones, and Thomas Strønen on drums. They released the first album, Blissful Ignorance, in 2011.

The tour dates are:

November 9 - Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo
November 10 - Saravah, Shibuya, Tokyo
November 11 - Kiunkaku Ongaku Hall, Atami, Shizuoka
November 14 - Shiminkan Concert Hall, Chino, Nagano

The following is from Edition Records's website here

Tenor and soprano saxophones

Tore Brunborg first caught Britain’s ear in the mid-eighties when he toured with bassist Arild Andersen’s Masqualero. His front-line partner then was none other than Nils Petter Molvaer and the way Brunborg’s forthright, robust tenor combined with Molvaer’s more ambient approach still lingers in the memory. Since then, Brunborg has worked with artists as different and distinct in their approaches as Danish bassist-composer Bo Stief, Italian pianist Rita Marcotulli, Norwegian pianist-composer Jon Balke, drummer Billy Cobham, Manu Katche, Tord Gustavsen and master bassists Anders Jormin and Lars Danielsson. Brunborg has also led an outstanding trio with Anders Jormin and drummer Benita Haastrup, as well as his own Tore Brunborg Project again with Anders Jormin on bass, keyboard virtuoso Bugge Wesseltoft and drummer Jon Christensen. As well as playing saxophone with Meadow, Tore Brunborg has composed the majority of the group’s tunes for this session.


If John Taylor’s main influence was Bill Evans, then he absorbed and transcended that influence early in his career. He is one of the most stylish of musicians with an amazing sense of harmony, texture and structure.
Taylor’s piano playing has graced some of the finest jazz records, most notably recordings by Harry Beckett, Alan Skidmore, John Surman, Pete Erskine and Kenny Wheeler. Taylor, his then partner singer Norma Winstone and Kenny Wheeler formed the legendary Azimuth in the early seventies and their influence is still widely felt today. Taylor recorded his first solo record, Pause, And Think Again, in 1971 and it remains one of the classics of the period. The veteran of countless ECM sessions, it was not until Rosslyn in 2003 that Taylor recorded in his own right for the label. That trio set with Joey Barron and Marc Johnson was everything one would have expected from this consummate artist.


Thomas Strønen is best known in the UK through his involvement with Iain Ballamy in the group Food. Now in their 11th year, the duo have recently celebrated this with the release of Quiet Inlet on ECM records. But Food, however essential to Strønen’s artistic sustenance, is just one aspect of his wide-ranging career to date. His Pohlitz project focuses both on solo percussion work and collaborations with the likes of McFall’s Chamber Quartet, while Humcrush with keyboardist Ståle Storløkken mixes rock, electronica and free jazz to powerful effect. Strønen works with pianists Maria Kannegaard and Bobo Stenson, bassist Mats Eilertsen as well as Nils Petter Molvær, Christian Fennesz and Sidsel Endresen. Meadow, with saxophonist Tore Brunborg and pianist John Taylor adds a fresh and new dimension to this amazing musician’s work.

November 9, 2012
@ Star Pine's Cafe
Kichijoji, Tokyo
opening act: Makigami Koichi on voice, Sato Yoshiaki on accordion
open 18:00 - start 19:00
adv 5,000 yen - at door 5,500 yen
student 3,600 yen (valid, full-time student ID required)
(one drink order minimum)

Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo

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November 10, 2012
@ Saravah
Shibuya, Tokyo
opening act: Makigami Koichi on voice, Mizutani Hiroaki on bass
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 5,000 yen - at door 5,500 yen
student 3,600 yen (valid, full-time student ID required)
official website

Saravah, Shibuya, Tokyo

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November 11, 2012
@ Kiunkaku Ongaku Hall
Atami, Shizuoka
opening act: Makigami Koichi on voice
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,500 yen - at door 4,000 yen
for student: 1,000 yen discount (valid, full-time student ID required)

Kiunkaku Ongaku Hall, Atami, Shizuoka

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November 14, 2012
@ Shiminkan Concert Hall
Chino, Nagano
opening act: Makigami Koichi on voice, Sato Masaharu on drums
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
for student: 1,000 yen discount (valid, full time student ID required)

Shiminkan Concert Hall, Chino, Nagano

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Sep 24, 2012

A Message to the Audiences in Russia and Lithuania

Very lately we came to know that the governmental grant, which Hikashu had applied for the overseas tour in October, was unexpectedly rejected. But the band doesn't give it up. Makigami Koichi, the leader of the band, has expressed that they will do the tour as scheduled.

That means the band have to do the tour on their own entirely, thus left holding a financial burden for it.

Generally, for any musical act from Japan considering to do an overseas tour, due to its cost (especially the travelling), support from public or private sector bodies is indispensable. And Hikashu is no exception. For example, their New York gig last year was sponsored by Japan Society, an American nonprofit organization.

Surely they will get some earnings from the tour, but unfortunately, that won't even cover the air freight cost, let alone all the necessary expenses. And Japanese yen has been, some say excessively, strong for quite some time.

So the things seem to be against the tour. But the band says they'll do it anyway. Why?

Because they recognize the responsibilities. The gigs are already publicized and tickets are sold. And the audiences. The band knows there are people anxiously waiting for them. The audience at Moscow DOM last year was very warm and welcoming. Some members have already performed in Vilnius Jazz Festival, and know it's nice. In the first place, they are very eager to perform in foreign countries.

So what's the point of this chatter?

First of all, if you live nearby regions, already got interested in the band, but haven't decided to attend the gigs, we strongly advise to do so. The band is always very positive to do an overseas tour, but supposedly, they will take a more cautious approach about doing that in the future. That's not their wish but helpless. We won't say this is the last, but perhaps it takes quite some time if you think to pass this time and wait for another opportunity.

And if you like their music, their performance, or whatever, please do not hesitate to express your feelings. Just show your praise for them on the spot. Buy something from them if you would like to. That kind of things surely gives more power to the band. They absolutely deserve support and appreciation.

See you at the gigs!

Sep 23, 2012

John Zorn's Cobra Tokyo Operation October 2012

The famous game piece will be back in Tokyo. The ever-changing personnel is interesting, as always, which this time includes Sakaide Masami, the bass player from Hikashu.

John Zorn's Cobra Tokyo Operation
Autumn Shudder and Smart Unit

Kaneko Yasuko - trombone
Kameda Taku (from Owarikawa) - keyboard
Kita Yoichiro - trumpet
Saito Ryo - drums
Sakaide Masami - bass
Sakaguchi Mitsuhisa - keyboard
Sato Yoshiaki - accordion
Shimamura Yasushi - guitar
Mukoujima Yuriko - violin
Yamamoto Tatsuhisa - drums
Yoshida Yuki - erhu

Makigami Koichi - prompter

October 27, 2012
@ La Mama
Shibuya, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
(one drink order minimum)
venue info from Timeout Tokyo

La Mama, Shibuya, Tokyo

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More October Gigs

Hikashu looks busy on coming October. Besides the foreign tour, the band is scheduled to perform at three festivals in the month. One is held in Yokohama, and the others are in Chubu Chihou, the cental region of the Japan's main land. (wikipedia)

October 6 - Noge Share, Yokohama Jazz Promenade
October 20 - "Mori, Michi, Ichiba 2012" Sangane San, Aichi (near Nagoya)
October 21 - "BanBan KenBan Hamamatsu Keyboard Fetival" Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

October 6, 2012
"Yokohama Jazz Promenade"
@ Noge Share
4,000 yen for one-day ticket
(ticket for each gig is not available)
official website (Japanese)

Noge Share, Yokohama

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October 20, 2012
"Mori, Michi, Ichiba 2012"
@ Sangane San Ropeway Sanroku Station
Gamagouri, Aichi
adv 1,200 yen
official website (Japanese)

Sangane San Ropeway Sanroku Sation, Gamagouri, Aichi

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October 21, 2012
"BanBan KenBan Hamamatsu Keyboard Festival"
@ Gallery Room
Shizuoka University of Art and Culture (wikipedia)
Hamamatsu, Shizuoka
13:00-13:45, 16:00-16:45 (2 shows)
800 yen for one concert ticket
3,500 yen for one day ticket (invalid for shows at Hamamatsu Civil Theatre "Cinema Era")

official website (Japanese)

Shizuoka University of Art and Culture

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Sep 13, 2012

Hikashu Russia Lithuania Tour 2012

In October, Hikashu will perform in Russia and Lithuania. The dates and venues are as follows:

October 10 - DOM Cultural Center, Moscow, Russia
October 13 - Vilnius Jazz Festival, Lithuania
October 16 - Jagerclub, Sankt Petersburg, Russia
October 18 - The International APOSITSIA Music Forum, Sankt Petersburg, Russia
Apositsia Festival at MANEGE small hall, St. Petersburg, Griboedova 103

Update Sep 21 - The Berlin gig, which scheduled on October 8, is cancelled.

Update Oct 8 - The venue of the October 18 gig (the 2nd date of Sankt Petersburg) is changed and modified here.

Aug 31, 2012

Hikashu, Carmen Maki, and Marianne Shinonome in Shibuya

On September 9, Hikashu will perform at La Mama in Shibuya, Tokyo. Also, as a guest, Marianne Shinonome from Kinoco Hotel will join the band.

The notable for the gig is an appearance of Carmen Maki, the legendary figure who is known as one of early female singers in the history of Japanese rock.

In 1969, she released the first single called "Toki Niwa Haha No Nai Ko No Youni" [Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child] (an original song; not a cover of the famous spiritual). Being still a 17 years old girl but singing a deeply moving ballad, her debut was quite a sensation and the single sold a million copies.

In 1970, she decided to go into rock music, and in 1972, she formed her own group called Oz. In 1975, they released the first album and it sold over 100,000 copies, which was quite an exceptional success for Japanese rock at that time.

In 1984, she stopped performing and retired temporarily from music because of child care. In 1993, she came back to the scene and continues performing to this day.

For the gig at La Mama, Carmen Maki will perform with the rhythm section from Hikashu; Shimizu Kazuto on piano, Sakaide Masami on bass, and Sato Masaharu on drums. All of them have previously performed with her. And Ohta Keisuke on violin will join the accompaniment as well.

Do not miss this rare opportunity with the two legendary figures in Japanese rock being gathered in one occasion.

Carmen Maki sings "Toki Niwa Haha No Nai Ko No Youni" [Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child] 2002

Carmen Maki and OZ - "Tozasareta Machi" [The Excluded City] 1975

Hikashu with Marianne Shinonome, and Carmen Maki
@ La Mama
Shibuya, Tokyo
September 9, 2012
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,500 yen - at door 4,000 yen

La Mama, Shibuya, Tokyo

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Currents: September 2012

Berlin and Copenhagen likely added to the tour date

It seems that Berlin and Copenhagen are likely to be added to Hikashu's Euro Russian tour held in coming October.

Unfortunately, the details are not disclosed yet for those two cities. Probably the band is still negotiating with related parties.

The dates are announced as Berlin on October 8, and Copenhagen on October 16. Please note that these are just tentatives and subject to change. We'll let you know more about the tour.

Shokotan discovered Hikashu

Recently Nakagawa Shoko, a famous celebrity in Japan, confessed adding Hikashu on her list of favorites.

Nagakawa, widely known by her nickname Shokotan, has been active in various media for years and has a large fan base. In short, she's quite influential, especially among the youth.

(She got a wikipedia entry in English, but it has some issues - anyway it's here.)

According to her own enormously popular Shokotan blog, one day she happened to find a video of Hikashu performing Pike on YouTube, and quickly hooked.

In a way, there is no wondering about her liking of Hikashu. She is famous for having unusual interests for a young Japanese woman, like live-action film, horror comics, and Bruce Lee. And that's one of the reasons why she attacts so many people, especially girls.

Later she reported obtaining a copy of the "Fushigi o Mitsumete" CD on her blog and quite favored the album.

Acchi No Me, Kocchi No Me reissue

Recently Makigami disclosed the band is now preparing to re-release of their 1993 album Acchi No Me, Kocchi No Me [Dazzling Eyes].

The album is notable in various ways - especially up to now it's the only full collaborated work of the band with outside artist; An American voice performer Lauren Newton is featured throughout the album and her participation made it so special.

The release date of the reissue is not clear but maybe late this year. Can't wait.

Hikashu - Acchi No Me, Kocchi No Me

Aug 5, 2012

2012 Fall Tour

In September, Hikashu will do a three-cities tour of the Kansai region (wikipedia) for the second time this year. The schedule is as follows:

September 3 - Togatoga, Kyoto
September 4 - Soma, Osaka
September 5 - Chicken George, Kobe

The tour is the first occasion after releasing the two latest reissues ("Uwasa No Jinrui" and "Fushigi o Mitsumete") so we can expect the numbers from those albums which are seldom played.

"Yes and No" Kansai Tour

September 3, 2012
@ Togatoga
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 5,000 yen - at door 5,500 yen
(plus two orders minimum)
student: adv 3,500 yen - at door 4,000 yen
(student adv ticket is available only at the club)
show your full-time, valid student id at door

Togatoga, Kyoto

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September 4, 2012
@ soma
open 18:00
adv 5,000 yen - at door 5,500 yen
(plus one order minimum)
student discount: show your full-time, valid student id at door and get 1,500 yen refund

soma, Osaka

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September 5, 2012
@ Chicken George
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 5,000 yen - at door 5,500 yen
(plus 1,000 yen order minimum)
student discount: show your full-time, valid student id at door and get 1,500 yen refund

Chicken George, Kobe

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Jul 31, 2012

Currents: August 2012

Vilnius, St. Petersburg, and Moscow again

Big news. Hikashu will tour East Europe and Russia in October. Right now, the band has revealed the dates as follows:

October 10 - Moscow
October 13 - Vilnius Jazz Festival, Lithuania website Facebook
October 18 - St. Petersburg

In Moscow, they'll perform at the prestigious DOM cultural center where they played last year and were immensely applauded. The venue's website is here.

Surely more dates are to be added. We'll let you know more about the tour later, so stay tuned.

More reissues to come

The release date of the two upcoming reissues, "Uwasa No Jinrui" [The Human Being] (originally from 1981) and newly-titled "Fushigi o Mitsumete" [Watching the Wonderment] (originally released as "Orguss 02 OST" from 1996) has been set on August 12.

Needless to say, both albums are remastered with 5.6MHz DSD technology, and come with cardboard sleeve.

The remaster edition of "Fushigi o Mitsumete" has a bonus track (a short version of the title song) and new artwork.

HMV Japan has already listed the albums, here and here.

The cover art of the "Fushigi o Mitsumete" album

Jul 30, 2012

The Only Gig in August

On August 8, Hikashu will held a concert at Star Pine's Cafe in Kichijoji, Tokyo. This is the first post Fuji Rock Festival performance and the only gig in the month.

After the concert, to catch the band live, you have to wait for a while if you live in Kanto area, because right now there is no announcement of gigs in Tokyo other than this. And maybe the latest reissues "Uwasa No Jinrui" and "Fushigi o Mitsumete" are to be availabe for the first time, so don't miss it.

August 8, 2012
"Hikashu's Summer"
@ Star Pine's Cafe
Kichijoji, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,600 yen - at door 4,000 yen
(one drink order minimum)

Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo

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Song Called "Save the Earth"

The performance of the augmented Hikashu (or Godzilla Legend) at Fuji Rock Festival this year featured a series of the selections from the classic Japanese monster movies.

Special guest Marianne Shinonome (from Kinoco Hotel) sang a song "Kaese Taiyo o" [Give Us Back The Sun] from the classic Japanese monster movie called "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" (1971).

Godzilla vs. Hedorah - wikipedia

The mortals repeatedly make mistakes and it's the monsters who suffer and come to the rescue.

This is from the original single, performed by Ari Keiko

English version of the song entitled "Save the Earth," performed by Adryan Russ. The English lyrics is well made - properly reflected the original lyrics in Japanese.

The original movie trailer, first shown in 1972

Photo Galleries of Fuji Rock 2012

This year's Fuji Rock Festival has ended without a hitch. Hikashu did two shows on the last day of the event (they were the only act who did multiple shows in a day for the festival), and now the site called published the photo galleries of both shows.

Photo Gallery - The Early Show at Orange Court

Photo Gallery - The Late Show at Gypsy Avalon

Their performance was such an apparent success; many of the audience tweeted their stage was "the best of the year's festival."

Jul 28, 2012

The Opening Track from Uragoe now on MySpace

Hikashu - Myspace Music

"Fude o Fure, Kanata-Kun" [Wave the Brush, Mister Beyond] is now uploaded on the band's MySpace account.

It is the opening track of their latest effort, Uragoe, and now regularly featured at their gig. This is also the recording Makigami ever tried his shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) for the first time.

The song is placed at the end of the playlist. Just scroll down the list and click the play button appropriately.

It is most likely that the number will be played at Fuji Rock Festival this weekend.

Jul 25, 2012

Hikashu - Radioactivity (2011)

Performed on December 25, 2011 at Daikanyama UNIT, Tokyo.

In the introduction, keyboard player Shimizu Kazuto played RADIOACTIVITY in morse code.

This performance marked a highlight of the evening, and surely the number will be featured again at Fuji Rock Festival this weekend.

Jul 13, 2012

An Intimate Gig in Yokohama

This weekend Hikashu will do a special gig at a jazz club in Yokohama called Airegin.

Hikashu's gig at Airegin is a sporadically-occurring event - once in a few years. But everytime it's special, both for the band and the audience.

This is not an ordinary gig of the band - even if there's such thing because they play differently every time, but anyway this is special - their gig at Airegin is mostly instrumental, extended jams and improvisation. Or they try out some unreleased compositions or works in progress. In short, the band utilizes the opportunity as a hotbed for experimentation in music.

Last time they played at Airegin was April 10, 2010. At that gig, they played a series of extended improvisation, an old original Mita just discovered from his vault (later rearranged and finished as "Ashita Ni Kaketa" [Hung On Tomorrow]), and even a Calypso tune. The main set closed with a new arrangement of "Sun Ra is the Pianist," a crowd-pleaser but still unreleased tribute song to the great bandleader who has departured from the earth some time ago (the arrangement featured a chant in outro - very afro, and spaced out).

For audience, it's very interesting to see the band working on compositions and jams - and as already mentioned, they try out new things at Airegin - they know the audience expecting it. The crowd gathering there is a sort of connoisseur - the people who have no hesitation to confront new things, even appreciate it. Everything could be accepted there.

Anyway, do not miss this opportunity or you'll have to wait a few more years. It's better to call the venue for reservation because the admittance is limited.

Look up the Sky
Search for the Star
The Planet of Music
Where Sun Ra was Born

-- "Sun Ra is the Pianist"

July 14, 2012
"The Intimate Hikashu"
@ Airegin
open 19:00 - start 19:30
2,500 yen
(plus one drink order minimum)
For reservation, call the club at 045-641-9191 (Japanese)

Airegin, Yokohama

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Related Entry:
Sun Ra is the Pianist

Jun 19, 2012

Makigami performs in Norway and Denmark in July

In early July, Makigami tours Norway and Denmark with saxophonist Torben Snekkestad and his group, the Living Room Trio. The trio is consisted of Torben Snekkestad (saxophone), Søren Kjærgaard (keyboards), and Thomas Strønen (drums). The tour date is as follows:

July 6 - Kongsberg Jazz Festival (with Torben Snekkestad)
July 7 - Copenhagen Jazz Festival (with Torben Snekkestad)
July 8 - Copenhagen Jazz Festival (with the Living Room Trio)

For details, please refer these related sites:

Kongsberg Jazz Festival
Copenhagen Jazz Festival

Related Entry:
The Living Room Trio Danish Tour with Makigami Koichi

Jun 12, 2012

Godzilla Legend 2011 video

The excerpt from the video recording of the Godzilla Legend performance last year just uploaded on YouTube.

The personel:

Inoue Makoto (synthesizer)

Makigami Koichi (MC, vocal, theremin, gong)
Mita Freeman (guitar)
Sakaide Masami (bass)
Shimizu Kazuto (synthesizer)
Sato Masaharu (drums)

Tatsumi Mitsuhide (trumpet)
Nakane Nobuhiro (trombone)
Yoshida Ryuichi (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet)
Fuwa Daisuke (bass)
Yoshigaki Yasuhiro (drums)

Koharu (accordion, vocal)
Momo (vocal)

Recorded at Daikanyama UNIT, Tokyo on December 25, 2011.

Jun 9, 2012

Fuji Rock Festival 2012 Update

Here's an update on Hikashu's appearance at Fuji Rock Festival 2012.

Billed as "Gojira-Hoshanou-Hikashu" [Godzilla Legend-Radioactivity-Hikashu], the band will appear two times on different stages on July 29, the last day of this year's festival. The location and time schedule are as follows:

11:30-12:20 Orange Court
16:30-17:00 Atomic Cafe [held at Gypsy Avalon]

Also, Makigami will take part in a panel discussion on the ongoing Nuke problem at Atomic Cafe, starting at 17:10.

The personel is the same as the christmas concert last year except one additional member - Mariannne Shinonome on vocal, from Kinoco Hotel. There's a speculation that the ensemble might prepare a featured number for her.

Again, this is an opportunity indeed. Hikashu, Charan-Po-Rantan, the members from the Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra playing the music from the classic monster movies together. It sounds so great and it really is. Right now, there is no further plan for this ensemble and maybe this is the last chance to see them live, so do not miss it.

To confirm the location of the stages, consult with the Stage Information page on Fuji Rock Festival official website.

Note: revised and corrected on July 5 for time schedule and personel.

Related Entry:
Hikashu will reunite with Godzilla Legend and Charan-Po-Rantan at Fuji Rock Festival 2012

Jun 4, 2012

Mori Ikue "Kibyoshi" performance in Yokohama

A live performance of Mori Ikue's epic project "Kibyoshi" will be held in Yokohama with new personnel.

June 6, 2012
Mori Ikue "Kibyoshi" Performance
Mori Ikue (visual presentation, electronics), Makigami Koichi (narration, theremin), Jim O'Rourke (synthesizer), Shanir Blumenkranz (bass, oud), Motonaga Taku (shakuhachi)
@ BankArt Studio
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 4,000 yen - at door 4,500 yen

For ticket, use an application form available here

Related Entry:
Mori Ikue 'Kibyoshi' Japan Tour

BankArt Yokohama

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May 31, 2012

Currents: May 2012

"Uwasa No Jinrui" reissued at last

Regarding the ongoing rerelease project of Hikashu albums, there is a big hole in its line-up. And that hole is now about to be filled. Yes, "Uwasa No Jinrui" will be reissued finally, and it's official.

"Uwasa No Jinrui" [The Human Being] is the 3rd album of Hikashu, recorded and released in 1981. Other than being the representative work from the early period of the band, it's important in their history for various ways. In short, making and releasing the self-produced album made them matured and established as an artist. In short, releasing the album marked a major turning point in the history of the band.

The album was different from any previous efforts from the band in many ways. It's dark, serious and hard to grasp - it's a concept album, based on the underground film no one knew or seemed to care - "Freaks" by Tod Browning.

This sudden move alienated many fans. The record company didn't like it either and was not eager to promote it. But it was inevitable. In a way, they had to redeem their true self. Being a "pop act" was a nice game for a while, but they were not as such from the start, and they dared to take a risk.

By releasing the album, they paid high a price. But they won, in the long run. They made an immortal work, and now it's hailed as a masterpiece of Japanese rock in the eighties.

The remaster edition of "Uwasa No Jinrui" will be released in August.

New Album is coming

It's too soon, you say? Of course the band just released an album a few months ago, but to tell the truth, they have already recorded enough material to fill an album about a year before the NYC session (which resulted in the "Uragoe" album) took place in May 2011. In fact, several tracks on the "Nikoselon Part Three" EP are from the 2010 session. And it seems they intend to release more from it in future.

Right now there is no information though. We'll let you know when things get clear.