Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Boyle-san’s got tarento
Struggling musicians have long made dubious claims about being “big in Japan” in a bid to compensate for weak record sales at home.
But Susan Boyle, the 48-year-old who swept to fame in Britain and the U.S. after an appearance on reality TV, looks to be genuinely on the cusp of becoming a household name in the suburbs of Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo.
The Scot’s ascent to stardom in the land of cutesy J-pop and traditional enka was given a big boost when she played a key part in the country’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Boyle appeared to wow the audience with her trademark rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables” on NHK’s ”Kouhaku Uta Gassen“, a men versus women singing competition that the state broadcaster has shown on the night of Dec. 31 for 60 years.
Although Boyle looked uncomfortable and awkward amid the sea of sequined waistcoats, sculpted hair and saccharine kids that seem to be some of the main ingredients of this musical battle of the sexes, her lack of glitz and polish will probably be a big plus for her.
Indeed, as I watched the show on TV with my in-laws, a Japanese family from Tokyo, my wife’s dad said approvingly that Boyle is “not flashy” and that this is very much in her favour.
Any viewers unfamiliar with Boyle’s story were filled in by a quick montage before she took to the stage, complete with black and white photos of her childhood, clips from “Britain’s Got Talent” and images of Simon Cowell, one of the judges on that show, in a particularly pantomime villainesque pose.
But for my father-in-law at least, this summary of Boyle’s life was unnecessary as he was already familiar with her back-story thanks to a raft of newspaper articles.
He said he would like to see more of “Boyle-san”, something I suspect will happen in 2010.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid