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Keiko Fuji RIP

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).


2 responses to “Keiko Fuji RIP

  1. Liz

    Hate it when folks take their own life 😦 All their potential gone. And doubly sad if it could’ve been treated. A bit of a parallel with Whitney Houston leaving behind an adult daughter. That’s gotta leave a mark.

    Can see why Hikaru is (was?) a hit–fantastic song and video. Definitely a different song style than her mom.

    Am sorry for the family’s loss. Shouldn’t have to be that way. Hope she finds more peace on the other side, wherever that may be.

  2. wdydfae

    Thanks for the comment. Yeah, it’s pretty sad and grim. She kept marrying and divorcing the same guy (2nd husband and Hiraku’s dad, a record producer) seven times, which is maybe a testament to love, of a sort. She did very well by her daughter, and sent her to New York and can be credited with helping to ensure a lot of the creative environment that resulted in Hikaru’s music.

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