entertainment

Southern All Stars singer Kuwata apologizes over concert antics

50 Comments

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.

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50 Comments
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As he should. Very unentertaining.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Skewered unfortunately. Somebody has got at him.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

sometimes he's going too far..

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Hitler Mustache is a style called 'Toothbrush' mustache.

Very popular at some point, Charlie Chaplin and other famous people also wore it.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

now it's turn for the award givers to apologize.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Very popular at some point, Charlie Chaplin and other famous people also wore it.

Including in a movie spoofing Hitler.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toothbrush_moustache

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

this article is missing the point. he was mostly harpooning abe and his gov't. hence, the right-wing goons showing up at kuwata's talent agency to complain.

32 ( +32 / -0 )

I think he thinks he's a lot more famous than he actually is.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

He doesn't need to apologize to a bunch of right-wing emperor loving sheep! He had the guts to stand up for what he believes in, and made fun of the people which should be made fun of! Abe was upset? Boohoo! The right wing was upset? Boohoo! Most jpop artist are spineless jelly fish who just go with the flow, once an artist stands up and ridicules the status quote you posters ridicule the ridiculer (yeah I know..).

23 ( +23 / -0 )

@onagagamo, what makes you think that? Notice how the article implies that Kuwata's hijinks were during a week long run of shows in Yokohama's biggest arena. That is close to the ticket sales figures that you would see for Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, etc., and since Sazan has been doing that for decades, how could their lead singer not be incredibly famous in Japan? Go survey 100 people under the age of 70 and see how many never heard of him.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I wasn't aware of this guy until I read this article, but I have so much respect for him for taking a stand about where he wants Japan to go in the future; From this article, it seems like having a real sense of humor in Japan is a liability.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Shake the tree!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well, it's a start.

Now, if he would only apologise for his terrible music, and for singing in that preposterous "Japanese-person's-idea-of-a-foreigner-singing-in-Japanese" voice ...

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Sports Nippon quoted people in attendance as saying that Abe was visibly shaken by the words.

Visibly shaken? Oh, the poor petal. The man is in the wrong game if he cant cop a bit of silly banter.

About 30 people went to his agencys Shibuya office on Jan 11 to protest his behavior.

No doubt the Abe fans turned up in their usual black vans and jack-boots.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I think he is caving because of threats. Japan`s version of Charlie Hedbo...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Nothing more than a rather refined sense of humour, healthy, dry, and delivered without pandering to political correctness. The 'Hitler' mustache and sardonic reference the 'gong' is witty humour nothing to apologise for here.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Caving to criticism would be doing the deep bow for the cameras.

An apology sent out by fax machine has a hint of "up yours" to it, am I right?.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I see Freedom of Speech and Expression is alive and going strong.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Ahh, the ubiquitous agency fax... Wonder if, in 20-30 years or so, they will start sending emails?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The photo speaks a thousand words, even the apology via proxy has a satirical twist, all of which is lost on the posturing protesters.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He shouldn't have apologized at all. I would've thought he was a guy with more guts.

9 ( +11 / -3 )

No need to apologize for anything at all.

12 ( +12 / -1 )

Freedom of speech... not.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Been here for 30 years and gotta admit, loved Kuwata's songs but seeing his antics (positioning the mic as a phallic symbol during an interview with Tamori) on Japanese music TV programs over the years really disappointed me. He's a musical genius though.

3 ( +5 / -3 )

Sports Nippon quoted people in attendance as saying that Abe was visibly shaken by the words.

Excellent.

It is probably necessary to go to such extremes to get anti-government opinions into the news. Then the news criticises him, not the extreme-right he was satirising.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Since when has imitating Hitler ever been lighthearted fun, ever? Sorry, it is insulting to everyone.

-17 ( +0 / -16 )

@onniyama

Since when has imitating Hitler ever been lighthearted fun, ever? Sorry, it is insulting to everyone.

Three Stooges, You Natzy Spy, 1940.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Abe and all his right-wing goons are all wimps, melting in the face of even mild criticism. I, for one, hope more people start voicing their opinions against him and his wayward policies in any creative way they can.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think he thinks he's a lot more famous than he actually is.

Umm....

From Wikipedia:

*"[Southern All-Stars] has been one of the best-selling music groups in the past 30 years of Japan, selling more than 47 million albums and singles in Japan alone. They have had over 40 top-ten hit singles and 16 number-one albums on the Japan's Oricon Charts as of 2008. Their 1998 compilation Umi no Yeah!! has sold more than 3.3 million copies and became the best-selling double album in Japanese history.*

I think they are considerably more famous than you are aware.

Their music is not my cup 'o tea, but anyone who does anything to get Abe's nationalistic feathers in a ruffle gets a hall pass from me. Cheers to him.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

He doesn't need to apologize about this. It was a political satire of what Abe is doing now on Japanese politics.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've always respected this guy and the band to an extent because they are one of the few bands here with true talent -- not some assembled company group who literally can do NOTHING on their own -- and do all the writing, singing, and playing. Now I respect them even more, and I wish to god I had seen Abe 'visibly shaken' after he clued in to the intentional dig, which was not mentioned at all in the apology. In fact, I was going to say the only thing I'm disappointed about is that he apologized at all, but in actually he did not -- his agency did. I say he should keep at it and keep the obvious insults towards the current government coming, though of course he better be careful or he could face jail time for being a 'danger to security' under the newer acts passed if Abe throws a hissy fit.

Onniyama: "Since when has imitating Hitler ever been lighthearted fun, ever?"

He wasn't imitating Hitler, he was mocking the people in power who are ACTUALLY trying to imitate/emulate Hitler, like Abe, Aso, and others who pose and mingle with or praise nazis and their methods.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

'Abe was visibly shaken...' by the possibility of hundreds of SDF soldiers being killed in a foreign country?....by the amount of radioactive containers that are being used up in Fukushima?... by the fact that Japan's credibility is going down in Europe and the US due to ithe government's penchant for historical revisionism?

No...but because someone sang mean words about him......

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Poor Mr Abe, he should think himself lucky that the Dead Kennedys weren't a Japanese band.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ganbarre SAS ! We love you Kuwata-san !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Maybe the Govt should vet potential Medal candidates to see if they actually appreciate the gesture and take it seriously.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

your sense of humour converts into the Japanese apologized culture Hoping your next performance could be the match-fixing scandal row for the national football coach Javier Aguirre

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Too bad that he apologized.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A fax! Love it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There was no need for an apology, because freedom of speech is far more important than political correctness.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

They faxed it??

Gotta love how companies in Japan still rely on faxes. I was asked to fax something to one a few weeks ago and almost pulled my hair out as neither I nor my company has owned a fax machine since the 1990s. So I had to send them an apology by carrier pigeon to say that I was really sorry that I did not have a fax machine, but if they would like to check their email, I may have sent them something....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wow, he sure is controversial. lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It"S MEJAN. 16, 2015 - 04:08PM JST Hitler Mustache is a style called 'Toothbrush' mustache. Very popular at some point, Charlie Chaplin and other famous people also wore it.

Chaplin did not have a mustache. His signature character, the Little Tramp, sported that kind of mustache. Oliver Hardy actually wore one. Hitler pretty much killed it as a popular style.

The only person of note I can think of who's worn one in the last fifty year is Ron Mael of Sparks and it still looks creepy after all these years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When someone speaks truth to power, they must be taken down.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The fascists are upset so this guy must grovel and apologise. He should tell them to get stuffed.

I'm upset by the fascists parading around the street shouting abuse, but they won't apologise to me.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In this topic If you thought that Japan was a suppression of speech.

Congratulations in as intended of Kuwata!!

He got you!! lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Escape_Artist: "Abe and all his right-wing goons are all wimps, melting in the face of even mild criticism. I, for one, hope more people start voicing their opinions against him and his wayward policies in any creative way they can."

I can't agree with your senitment enough! These spineless revisionists think they're tough since they happen to live in a country where the people are too polite (read: intimidated) to reject their asinine assertions face-to-face. Abe, Abenomics, "Utsukushii Japan," and all the rest of their dumb rightist plans for Japan should be laughed at and mocked by any and every individual with even half a brain left in them!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Absolutely, he shouldn't have acted like that. It was completely lack of respect for Japanese Emperor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Apologizing for satire. Terrific.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Look. He was right. Abe unilaterally dissolving the Diet is an autocratic and frightening move for a country with an imperial past. His apology is pretty transparent, he is just keeping the controversy down. Heck, if Abe can dissolve the Diet, maybe he can dissolve the band....kudos for his continued irreverence and calling out the irony of receiving an award that understandably probably left him with mixed feelings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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