By Omata Ryotaro | 26th May 2023 | “The Japanese Underdog Reaching Global Success”
AKB48, with their revolving roster of over 100 members and iconic status in the Japanese pop scene; ONE OK ROCK, who have carved out a niche for themselves in the rock music industry with their explosive performances; and Utada Hikaru, the singer-songwriter famed for her contribution to global phenomena – these are just a few of the names that shine brightly on the international stage, embodying the cultural richness and diversity of Japanese music.
Among these star-studded ranks, a new talent has begun to surface, capturing the hearts and ears of listeners around the globe. This burgeoning artist poised to catapult into international recognition is the one and only Fujii Kaze.
Born in Okayama, Japan, the 25 year old singer first became involved in music when learning the piano at the early age of 3. Growing up in a musical family, his father, a skillful pianist, taught him how to play the piano. Kaze uploaded his first YouTube video, a piano cover of ‘STAY’ by Kobukuro while wearing sunglasses in his room, in 2010. He continued to post countless piano covers until his very first singing cover (with his piano) of TayTay’s Look What You Made Me Do in 2017.
The world’s ears were first blessed in January 2020 when Kaze posted his first song, “Nan-Nan”. The song is beautifully different, beginning with a melodic piano shortly followed by a ‘shita-uchi’, a Japanese word for clicking your tongue to express frustration. Currently, the song has a total of 35 million streams on Spotify. ‘Nan-Nan’ is part of Kase’s first album ‘HELP EVER HURT NEVER’, which was first on the Billboard Japan charts seven days after its release. The album includes ‘Shinunoga-E-Wa’, a song that is just so flippin’ perfect, which is Kaze’s most streamed song on Spotify, with over 356 million streams.
Kaze cleansed the dirt off of everyone’s ears when he released his next album, ‘LOVE ALL SERVE ALL’, two years later in 2022. My listening genuinely became better when I first listened to the album. The album, like the first album, reached first on the Billboard Japan charts seven days after its release. The album includes songs such as ‘Matsuri’ with 63 million streams, and ‘Tabiji’ with 30 million. My personal favorite is ‘damn’, a rock with a catchy melody, as it speaks to me about my failures in getting a girlfriend.
With his first international tour Fujii Kase and the Piano Asian Tour beginning from July of 2023, Kaze has finally begun to receive the deserved recognition from countries outside of Japan. He would be touring the countries: South Korea; Thailand; Indonesia; Malaysia; Taiwan; and Hong Kong. From playing piano in his room to going on a one-man-show tour across Asia, Kaze’s story is definitely one for the underdogs. There is no doubt that Kaze would be touring the world sooner or later, and making Japan proud by achieving new heights.