Sunday, October 11, 2015

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR VOICE! Former Toho Actress Yasuko Agawa Performs Jazz in Otemachi!

The stage is set! Women in Jazz is soon to start! Photo by Brett Homenick. 

In 2012, a documentary was released called Searching for Sugar Man, which was about a couple of South African music fans' quest to find the '70s folk musician known simply as Rodriguez. The documentary went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary and is well worth checking out.

Japanese jazz singer Yasuko Agawa earned the nickname Sugar Voice over the years due to her voice's exceptional quality. She remains a popular chanteuse to this day. But what you may not realize is that Yasuko Agawa acted in several classic Toho movies during the 1970s under the stage name Tomoe Mari.

Yours truly with Yasuko Agawa, a former actress and a celebrated jazz singer. 

During her acting years, she appeared in several notable films, including Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) as Yuri Yamamoto, Evil of Dracula (1974), The Last Days of Planet Earth (1974), and The Human Revolution (1973). On television, she appeared in the Submersion of Japan series (1974-75), Ultraman Leo (1974-75), and Zone Fighter (1973). In the late '70s, Agawa-san quit acting completely and pursued a successful career as a jazz singer.

Tonight I attended a concert called Women in Jazz, which was held in the Nikkei Building in Otemachi, Tokyo. Agawa-san was joined by several other jazz singers and musicians, who performed to a packed house. The singers all performed separately (except for the last song), and the ran ran for over two hours.

Several days prior to the show, I arranged with a staff member to meet Agawa-san after the concert. I was told to wait in the lobby, and I would have a chance to meet her. It turned out to be an after party for the musicians and crew, and naturally I didn't want to interrupt the proceedings. But, once I saw an opening, I introduced myself to Agawa-san, who extended her hand for me to shake. I rattled off some of her movie titles, which made her laugh. We spoke for a few moments and then posed for a couple of photos.

Agawa-san was very friendly, and if I have a chance to see her in concert again, I'd go in a heartbeat. It was great to meet another actress I've grew up watching. Thank you very much, Agawa-san!

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