Monday, March 19, 2007

Crystal Kay

Recently, while in Osaka, I had a conversation about J-pop (Japanese Pop) with a young woman. The two of us, sitting in Seattle's Best Coffee-in Osaka-exchanged glances as I passed her in my search for a table. I like to sit by the window and read, while working in some good people watching.

I'm usually left to my own devices, so when Yuka tapped me on the shoulder and asked where I was from, I was a little taken aback. I told her I was from New York and she gave me that slightly impressed look you get from people who have never been to the place you're from, but have seen it in movies. It's almost as if you've announced you have magic powers. It's understandable though, I guess it's almost how I felt about Osaka before I came.

I digress. The point is, the J-pop star I know the best is Crystal Kay. Yuka seemed impressed when I mentioned her name. Kay's father is an African-American bassist and her mother is third generation Japanese of Korean decent and a professional singer. Kay was born in Yokohama and has been singing professionally since she was about 13. I'm posting one of her videos for you to check out.

There are a lot of interesting conversations about people of mixed race in Japan. I've been searching for information for a while. I've come across a few message boards.

It's interesting to explore, given the often very nationalist tones in the country's history. Younger generations, as it often goes in most cultures, have slowly been beginning to embrace the differences. It's a process of course, moments of progress and set backs. I have big hopes though.

J-pop is pop music as you would expect it to be, but of course in Japanese. Adults and teenagers alike love it and admit it openly. I think, whether she intends to or not, Crystal Kay is a little more than just another J-pop princess.

Oh, but please note the black "Barbie" in the beginning and end of the video. I would comment further...but I just don't think I have to.

- Ashleigh Rae


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