Japan's Reggae Town
I hope everyone is well.
It has been hectic in Japan due to the covid-19 virus issue and almost all of my jobs on March have been called off😭
However, there's one good news;
This project was so much fun - every projects have been memorable one, but this one was particularly great one.
The idea of this project was originally offered by my Editor at BBC, (who is a super nice person as always) which was actually a little bit different from the Osaka centered topic. However, we couldn't book the character as he already had retired and wouldn't like to take the interview.
The editor still thought Reggae × Japan topic would be interesting, so we kept researching Japanese reggae scene. Then we thought "Osaka's reggae scene" would be interesting to film.
I grew up here in Kansai region listening to variety of music (by the way, I think I can talk a lot about British modern music. I believe the U.K has the best modern music history) and had known Osaka has the hottest reggae spot across Japan. However, I didn't really listen to reggae music much deeper, so I had no idea how it would go.
With just superficial knowledge, I thought it would be rude for those who takes this seriously, so I studied about reggae culture at first.
I discovered 2 characters soon, who were Masaya Hayashi and Pixie Joker. Hayashi san is known as one of the most important figure when it comes to Japanese reggae scene. He's been to Jamaica over 200 times(!) and when I ask them if I can interview him for the BBC, he was actually in Jamaica and didn't come back a month later. Hayashi san owns a record store called "Drum & Bass records" in downtown Osaka.
Hayashi san talked a lot about the history of Osaka's reggae scene, and interestingly when he visited Jamaica in 1990, there were bunch of people speaking our dialect at stone love's gig.
To keep the gender balance, I needed to find female character as well. As I discovered, I noticed there are a lot of female reggae dancers in Osaka and took some of them into my consideration. I wondered who I should ask, but Pixie Joker san has great career as a dancer and looked "I love Jamaica vibes" more than anyone else. She accepted my idea and even offered me to visit her show later.
As considering the length of the video, 3 people would work well. As for the last character, it was extremely hard for me to find. Because as I wrote the above, there are tons of great artists in Osaka to choose from.
Hayashi san and his staff at the store put me in touch with one guy, that was Japan's rising reggae selector OGA from JAH WORKS. OGA has been performed not only in Japan, but also overseas and won several competitions. He later readily accepted the interview.
At his gig at the year end, it was so crowded that some of them didn't come in.
I've been always impressed by Osakan people's warmth, humanity and great sense of humor - they even try to make fun of something when it is hard time(in a good meaning!) and hopefully the video sends positive messages and gives something to Osaka itself.
Lastly, I give a thanks to 3 brilliant characters and the editor for giving me such an awesome opportunity.
Now, I'm into reggae music so much.