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Old 2012-03-01, 18:34   Link #51
Siegel Clyne
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Japanese Singers Fluent in English

Originally Posted by Mazryonh View Post
I'm glad that more seiyuus than ever are trying to learn English and other non-Japanese languages to be fluent. I've had enough of the "Engrish" in anime and Japanese media in general, frankly, so I've always been of the persuasion that if you can't do it without much of an accent or with more-than-passible wording, you really should stick to your native language.

The recent kerfuffle about Aki Toyosaki's attempt at singing "Hey Jude" by John Lennon is a reflection of how people don't like to hear badly-accented English, especially if it's used to sing a famous song. I'm glad that there are several Japanese singers like HeartsDales, Hikaru Utada, or Angela Aki are fluent in English, though.
Tokyo-born sisters Sugiyama Yumi and Sugiyama Emi of the defunct Heartsdales grew up in Yonkers, New York. Yumi currently lives in New York City, where she runs her own design studio, Studio Yumi.

Angela Aki was born in Itano, Japan to a Japanese father and an Italian American mother. She moved to Hawaii at the age of 15 and graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. with a degree in political science.

Utada Hikaru (or Hikaru Utada in Western order, as she is a natural-born American) was born in New York City to native-born Japanese parents, record producer Utada Teruzane and enka singer Utada Junko. That makes Hikki a Shin-Nisei - a term that most Japanese Americans, including most of the Shin-Nisei themselves, are apparently unaware of.

Utada grew up both in the United States and Japan. In Japan, she attended The American School in Japan.

A number of Japanese-born individuals who grew up/lived overseas in English-speaking countries and/or who attended American or other international schools in Japan or overseas where the curriculum is taught in English are fluent in English.

You can see a number of these individuals on NHK WORLD English, speaking English with flawless American, Canadian, English and other accents, along with those who speak English with varying degrees of a Japanese accent.

Many, but not all, Japan-born persons of mixed Japanese and non-Japanese descent speak English.

An example is Japanese R&B/pop singer-songwriter May J, host of the English-language television program J-MELO on NHK WORLD.

According to the Profile section on her official website:

A multi-lingual J-pop singer-songwriter and TV host May J. has her roots in Japan, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Spain and the UK. From a young age, May J. dreamed of becoming a singer. She took up piano, dance, voice training and opera lessons, and whilst attending high school at “American School In Japan”, she belonged to the vocal Jazz club. She has done a wide range of activities from song writing to modeling for clothing brands.
May J. Hashimoto was born in Yokohama, Japan to a Japanese father and a mother of Iranian background. The middle initial "J." in May J. stands for "Jamileh," Farsi (modern Persian) for "Beautiful."

Like Utada Hikaru, May J. attended The American School in Japan.

Another example is Japanese R&B/pop singer Aoyama Thelma. Born in Nara, Japan, Aoyama is three-fourths Japanese and one-fourth Black; she has an Afro-Trinidadian grandfather.

Aoyama attended Osaka International School, The American School in Japan, and Sophia University. As a youth, she spent a couple years living in Torrance, California, USA when her family moved there when she was 12, attending Calle Mayor Middle School there.

Here are a couple of videos featuring Aoyama Thelma singing a cover version of Mariah Carey's 1993 hit song, "Dreamlover," the second video featuring both her and Mariah Carey in a mashup, with Mariah up first, followed by Thelma:

DJ MAKIDAI feat. 青山テルマ [Aoyama Thelma] / Dreamlover

Direct YouTube link for above video since embedding has been disabled by request:

Dreamlover - Mariah Carey vs Thelma [ 青山テルマ ] {Aoyama Thelma}

Last edited by Siegel Clyne; 2012-03-01 at 20:43.
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