Tom Smith on the alter egos of Kishidan’s Show Ayanocozey
Nao Baba to his mother, Sumitada Ozumano to his lawyers, Show Ayanocozey to the rockers, Naomi Camellia Yazima to the drag queens, and DJ OZMA to the club kids. Whichever name you know him for best, the chances are that name’s etched into the inner sanctum of your memory box due to him being an utter nutcase, regardless of which persona he’s putting on.
Under his Show Ayanocozey moniker, the barmy star had a track featured in the latest box set of Naruto Shuppiden, however, he first rose to major prominence in 2006 after a performance on NHK’s coveted end of year music show Kouhaku no Gassen with his party project; DJ OZMA. He hit the stage in the live television show wearing just a golden afro and matching golden boxers. If that wasn’t enough to put you off your ramen, he was also accompanied by a sea of seemingly naked female dancers, baring boobies for all. That’s not entirely true though, his lawyers insisted, the lady folk were innocently donning mock nudey bodysuits instead. Besides, their most delicate of places were covered up with an intricately placed mushroom (DJ OZMA’s emblem). Even the OZMA has standards. The backlash from a minority of fist-shaking complainers was worth the price of instant notoriety.
While producing tracks as DJ OZMA, he was also in Kishidan, as mentioned earlier. The group formed in 1996, though you wouldn’t recognise which was OZMA. Taking the name Show Ayanocozey, and having one of the biggest pompadour hairdos in the business, Kishidan’s gimmick was that all members dressed in the style of bousouzoku; Japan’s biker gangs. Check out their style for yourself in the video to ‘Omae Dattanda’ (It Was You), from Naruto Shippuden.
Surprisingly, the track was one of their least successful singles in terms of chart position. Two of their bigger hits, ‘One Night Carnival’ and ‘Zoku’ can be found in the Japanese DS rhythm games Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! and it’s sequel. The band seems to have had quite an impact on the game’s developers as its lead characters share similar outfits and dance moves to those of Kishidan.
His newest project, ‘American’ drag queen trio Yazima Beauty Salon, sees him move on from DJ OZMA (finished as of 2008) to adopt the name Naomi Camellia Yazima, along with fake hair, breasts and a series of sparkly dresses. This vocal group also contains the popular comedians Takaaki Ishibashi and Noritake Kinashi (who usually form the comedy duo known as Tunnels). Perhaps the oddest thing about this coupling is that their debut single, which has the translated title of ‘Friends of Japan: We Come From Nevada’ reached number three in the charts, higher than any of Kishidan’s 13 singles, and the second most request karaoke song of 2008.
Be grateful that not all of Japan’s music makes it overseas.
In two featured episodes, Tales of a Gutsy Ninja: Jiraiya Ninja Scrolls, go back in time to witness how the young Jiraiya meets his destiny at Mount Myoboku and trains to become the Toad Sage! Back in the present, Jiraiya successfully infiltrates the Hidden Rain Village and finds the hideout of the Akatsuki's Pain. But will he be as successful in discovering the secret behind the multiple Pains? Meanwhile, Sasuke heads for the Uchiha hideout, where his brother, Itachi, awaits. The amazing visual prowess of the Uchiha come into full play as the fateful battle begins!
The Japan Foundation’s annual touring film programme is back for another year, and kicking off at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts at the end of the month. Now in its tenth iteration, the season offers audiences across the UK an insight into Japan and its cinema by way of a wide-ranging and accessible selection of titles assembled under a certain theme. This year, that theme is youth, with the eleven-film ‘East Side Stories: Japanese Cinema Depicting the Lives of Youth’ programme travelling to eight venues across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 31 January to 27 March.
It’s a truism widely acknowledged in the anime world that so many Japanese cartoons are obsessed with fantasy figures of 15-year-old schoolgirls because they are aimed at audience of desperate teenage boys. But Sharon Kinsella’s latest book, Schoolgirls, Money and Rebellion in Japan, points to a wider media malaise...
Elizabeth Coombes cosplays as Madame Sharley, the sharky mermaid to be found far off in the 500s of the One Piece anime. Also known variously as Shyarly and Shirley -- even the subtitles sometimes change their mind. Shirley some mistake?
Stephen Turnbull risks nine deaths in the eye of the ninja storm... or does he?
There is more to the ninja myth than meets the eye. By 1638 all wars had ceased under the police state of the Tokugawa family, yet within twenty years armchair generals were busily writing manuals of military theory, including speculations about sneak attacks, night-fighting and backstabbing.
Director Naoyoshi Shiotani on getting the darkness right
“In every theatre you have different light, so you can never be sure what it’s going to look like. So you have to think; will this be okay, will you lose details in that kind of darkness? It was hard to calculate all that.”
Paul Browne rewinds from Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower into the past
In the latest Naruto film The Lost Tower, the title character and his comrades embark on a mission to capture Mukade – a missing ninja who has the ability to travel through time. Mukade’s plan is to travel into the past and take control of the Five Great Shinobi Countries. During the battle with Mukade, Naruto and Yamato find themselves hurled back twenty years in time. Will Naruto and his friends be able to return to his own time? And will their actions in the past save the future?
Paul Jacques finds a princess and a... erm... scholar
Cosplaying away at Birmingham's Comic Con, Meg Atwill dresses up as Estellise Sidos Heurrasein (or Estelle for short), accompanied by Aimee Tacchi as the whip-wielding scholar Rita Mordio, both from Tales of Vesperia.
Remembering the anime master who shunned the limelight
Toshio Hirata, who died on 25th August, might be reasonably said to have avoided publicity. Over the course of his career, he did gather a number of credits for directing, as well as storyboards, key animation and lowlier tasks, but he often obscured his own achievements by using the pseudonym Sumiko Chiba. In some cases, such as for his work on Azuki-chan, he simply asked not to be credited at all, claiming that his contribution was not really worthy of recognition.