Back in September (2017) I received a phone call from Japanese Enka singer Akari Mochizuki, whom I've known and photographed for many years, telling me that she is going to be filmed for a programme produced by TV Tokyo called "Japanese People Around the World" and would I like to contribute in some way. I gladly accepted the invitation and after some discussion it was agreed that I would interview Akari for NEO magazine, which I contribute to regularly, as well as do a photo shoot with her which would be filmed in part for the programme.
The two-hour programme features specific successful Japanese professionals living and working abroad and the many difficulties they've had to endure. A small film crew including director Kazuyuki and cameraman Wataru Ando, who flew over from Japan especially, followed Akari around for a couple of weeks during October documenting her life and career in the UK where she has lived since 2004.
Akari was taught to sing Enka from the age of three by her father who was a big fan of the genre and even composed his own songs for local talent in Akari's hometown of Iwakuni. Akari and her music partner Hibiki Ichikawa, a master Shamisen player, have built up a loyal following within the Japanese culture scene around the UK and the rest of Europe and can often be seen performing at some of the biggest Japan-related events like Japan Matsuri and Hyper Japan.
The TV Tokyo Special aired in Japan on 18th December.
My interview with Akari for NEO magazine appears in issue 169 and is available to purchase online as both a print and digital edition. To order a copy, go to www.neomag.co.uk.
A selection of shots from the photo shoot I did with Akari has been uploaded to my website and can be viewed here.
Below photo: Akari Mochizuki (M) with TV Tokyo director Kazuyuki Yamashita (L) and cameraman Wataru Ando (R)
Below: Screen grabs of me with Akari Mochizuki from the TV Tokyo special "Japanese People Around the World"
NEO magazine issue 169 - Akari Mochizuki: Living the Dream
Akari Mochizuki photo shoot
Akari Mochizuki: www.akarisinger.com
TV Tokyo: www.tv-tokyo.co.jp
NEO magazine: www.neomag.co.uk