Crazy Cats

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Crazy Cats
クレージーキャッツ
Origin Japan
Genres Jazz, Comic Song
Years active 1955–2006
Members Hajime Hana (drums)
Hitoshi Ueki (vocals)
Kei Tani (trombone)
Hiroshi Inuzuka (bass)
Senri Sakurai (piano)
Shin Yasuda (tenor sax)
Past members Ētarō Ishibashi (piano)

The Crazy Cats (クレージーキャッツ, Kurējī kyatsu, also known as Hajime Hana and the Crazy Cats) were a Japanese jazz band and comedy group popular on film and television, particularly from the 1950s to the 1970s. Led by Hajime Hana, the band's other main members were Kei Tani, Hitoshi Ueki, Hiroshi Inuzuka, Senri Sakurai, Shin Yasuda, and Ētarō Ishibashi.

History[edit]

The band originally formed in 1955 at the end of the first jazz boom in Japan under the name the Cuban Cats.[1][2] Signed to Watanabe Productions, their performances mixed music and comic bits, in the spirit of Frankie Sakai and the City Slickers, so they soon changed their name to the Crazy Cats.[1][2] At the end of 1950s, the main members were Hana, Tani, Ueki, Inuzuka, Yasuda, and Ishibashi; Sakurai joined in 1960 and Ishibashi left in 1971.[2] They became nationally famous by appearing in the television show Otona no manga starting in 1959.[3] Starting in 1961, they co-starred in the variety show Soap Bubble Holiday (Shabondama Horidē), performing in skits written by Yukio Aoshima, who later became governor of Tokyo.[3] Their 1961 song, Sudara-bushi, sung by Ueki, was a major hit, and led to seven consecutive appearances on NHK's Kohaku Utagassen starting in 1962.[3] Their popularity also led to a series of films produced at the Toho Studios, the most famous of which was the "Musekinin Otoko" or "Irresponsible Man" series featuring Ueki as a salaryman using the easy route up the corporate ladder.

Influence[edit]

In terms of their music, E. Taylor Atkins has said that "the Crazy Cats are significant for capitalizing and purveying an image of jazz musicians as clownish. slang-slinging ne’re-do-wells. Their audience rewarded the Cats with a longevity of which very few Japanese acts could boast."[1] Mark Anderson has written that their "film series in particular had a great impact on 1960s popular culture" and that "they remain emblematic of a group of entertainers made possible by the television era."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Atkins, E. Taylor (6 September 2001). Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan. Duke University Press. p. 194. ISBN 0-8223-2721-X. 
  2. ^ a b c d Anderson, Mark (2009). "Crazy Cats". In Sandra Buckley. The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture. Taylor & Francis. pp. 91–92. ISBN 978-0-415-48152-6. 
  3. ^ a b c "Kurējī Kyatsu". Kotobank (in Japanese). Asahi Shinbun. Retrieved 25 December 2015.