The history of Japanese music is long and storied, and contemporary artists, be they J-pop artists or grindcore bands, fill only a few chapters. Of course, they happen to be some of our favorite chapters, but we’re just saying, there’s a lot to discover!

One genre that has long been a favorite in Japan but hasn’t gotten as much attention overseas as, say, Hatsune Miku, is enka. A modern take on Japanese folk music, enka is probably most popular with older generations — but that hasn’t stopped one extravagantly dressed visual kei/rock drummer from giving it a shot!

Check the bizarre music video for Tsukasa Mogamigawa’s major label debut and get ready to shout “Maaaatsupoi poi poi!”


While you may have a fairly specific concept of what visual kei sounds like, you’ll want to forget about your old Dir en grey and Gazette albums for a second. Tsukasa Mogamigawa is the ex-drummer for the visual kei band D’espairsRay and the current drummer for THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S, but he sings like someone who’s spent a lot of time listening to the old-time enka singers. And he puts his voice to good use in his first major label single “Matsupoiyo.”

▼ Unfortunately, Tsukasa apparently never learned not to eat on camera…

In the end, this is basically an upbeat enka song that just happens to be sung a guy who looks like he just escaped a Hot Topic fashion shoot.

And yet, we really like it! You could probably draw a few similarities to the Wagakki Band with the driving shamisen, Japanese drums, and elaborate costume. But while the Wagakki Band mixes traditional instruments and rock, Tsukasa sticks with the proper enka formula.

In fact, it’s almost tempting to call Tsukasa a gimmick, but we have to admit that he seems to be a talented enka singer. For one thing, the single for “Matsupoiyo” actually reached the number one spot on the enka ranking at the beginning of the month. It even beat out an enka single by an AKB48 singer.

▼ And her song is about drinking booze!

In fact, it turns out that before he was visual kei drummer, Tsukasa was already a pretty decent enka singer. According to his biography on Universal Music, he performed at kids enka karaoke contest when he was around three years old, winning a special award. And then there’s this 2013 video showing Tsukasa performing the old enka song “Kita Sakaba” and pretty much nailing it. (You can check out the original version here for comparison.)

His debut major label release, a maxi-single that includes “Matsupoiyo” and two other songs, is scheduled for June 10. If you’ve got “Matsupoiyo” stuck in your head already and you live in Japan, you can get it right now on iTunes and Amazon.

Sources: Universal Music, Japaaan, Visunavi
Images: Visunavi