Southern All Stars singer Keisuke Kuwata has apologized for antics during the group's year-end concerts.
In an apology faxed to media on Thursday from his agency, Amuse Inc, Kuwata, 58, stated that he had "reflected deeply" over his "lack of sufficient consideration." He was referring to his behavior at several concerts, including a song on NHK's "Kohaku Uta Gassen" (Red and White Song Contest), during which he wore a fake Hitler mustache.
According to Sports Nippon, Kuwata has been under fire from many quarters since November for his handling of the Japanese government's Medal with Purple Ribbon, which he was awarded. The medal goes to "individuals who have contributed to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments."
During subsequent performances, Kuwata joked about it to audiences, saying "Do you want to see it?" casually reaching into his pants pocket and pulling it out, and then saying, "The bids start from 5,000 yen!"
Kuwata also crooned a spoof of the 1966 Akira Kurosawa and Los Primos' hit, "Love You, Tokyo," which he parodied as "Love you Hosho" (medal of merit), spurring complaints from patriotic groups and others as being disrespectful to the emperor. About 30 people went to his agency's Shibuya office on Jan 11 to protest his behavior.
The statement of apology carried a message from Kuwata's agency which said: "Last autumn, Keisuke Kuwata had been honored with a Medal with Purple Ribbon, and had on numerous occasions while performing live had shown it to fans, as a way of thanking them for their support. At that time, he did not give full consideration to the proper method of expressing his gratitude, and awkwardly cracked jokes, which led to unpleasant impressions by some. Along with reflecting upon this deeply, he offers his humble apologies."
Meanwhile, some NHK viewers also complained over Kuwata's mustache during the "Kohaku" program, which drew complaints that it was evocative of Adolf Hitler. At the time, Southern All Stars were performing at Yokohama Arena and sang one number via live video link.
In his apology, Kuwata wrote: "My intention was only for the enjoyment of my audience, and it had no other ulterior motives at all." And as far as projecting news clips of the disputed Senkaku Islands during his performances, he explained the purpose was "to air his concerns over the current world tensions and express his hope for peace."
One thing Kuwata's statement did not refer to was the Dec 28 concert at Yokohama Arena, which was attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife. While singing "Bakusho Airando," Kuwata changed the lyrics, singing that it was ridiculous for a politician to dissolve the Diet -- a reference to Abe dissolving the lower house for the election on Dec 14.
Sports Nippon quoted people in attendance as saying that Abe was visibly shaken by the words.© Japan Today