The sad news today is that Keiko Fuji, a hugely popular singer back in the day, took her life. I wasn’t a fan, but the song I most liked as I was searching around just now is her cover of an oldie called “Casbah Woman.”
She had a deep, earthy voice with a lot of emotion, and is considered Japan’s equivalent of a female blues vocalist, though I would characterize enka (her genre) as more like Country & Western than blues.
Her debut “Shinjuku Woman” (1969) was a massive hit. It’s sadly ironic that she died in a leap from her apartment building in Shinjuku. She had a history of emotional instability and some episodes of very eccentric behavior. I can’t help wondering, from what I’m hearing now, if her condition could have been treatable.
Though I wasn’t a fan of Keiko Fuji, I’ve been an admirer of her equally famous daughter Hikaru Utada, a very, very talented singer-songwriter (though not active lately). She single-handedly raised the bar on Japanese pop music with her brilliant debut, “Automatic” (1998).