Kitajima in 2015
|Birth name||Minoru Ōno|
October 4, 1936 |
Shiriuchi, Hokkaidō, Japan
|Occupation(s)||Singer, lyricist, composer|
|Labels||Nippon Columbia (1962–1963)
Nippon Crown (1963-present)
When he was about to graduate from high school, he decided to become a singer. His debut single was called "Bungacha-Bushi," which was released in 1962.
He has many famous songs, including "Namida Bune" (1962), "Kyōdai Jingi" (1965), "Yosaku" (1978) and "Kita no Ryōba" (1986). His 1965 song "Kaerokana" was written by lyricist Rokusuke Ei and composer Hachidai Nakamura. He is very popular in Japan partly due to his looks of a physical laborer, and he mostly sings in the spirit of Japan's working class and rural laborers.
Kitajima regularly appeared on Kōhaku Uta Gassen, an annual end-of-year TV program where many major Japanese singers gather to perform, before announcing his retirement from the show in 2013. He participated a record 50 times, was the "anchor" (final solo performer) 13 times and led the grand finale 11 times.
Kitajima released single "Fūfu Isshō" (夫婦一生 lit. "Couple in a Lifetime"?) on January 1, 2010 at the age of 73. It debuted at No. 10 on the Japanese Oricon weekly single charts. It became the first single to reach Top 10 by a solo artist in his 70s in Oricon charts history.
Although Enka is becoming less popular with the younger generation, he is still Japan's most famous singer. He does a lot of concerts overseas as well, and he is contributing a lot of work to the culture of Japanese music.
In addition to his singing career, Kitajima acted in the role of Tatsugorō on the television series Abarenbō Shōgun. During the quarter-century life of the series, he also sang its theme songs.
- "Profile: Saburo Kitajima" (in Japanese). Kitajima Music Office. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
- Daisuke Kikuchi (2014-12-30). "‘Kohaku’ rallies the J-pop acts, but don’t count enka out just yet". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
- "北島三郎「73歳3か月」で最年長TOP10入り、19年ぶりに歴代記録抜く" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- Official homepage (Japanese)
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