Japanese anison vocalist Hiroshi Kitadani happy with Pinoys’ love for anime
by rick olivares
It was a very surprised Hiroshi Kitadani who graced the second day of the AsiaPop Comicon at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City last Saturday, August 27.
The Japanese anison (short for anime song) vocalist was pleasantly surprised that Japanese pop culture — anime and manga in particular — are very popular in the Philippines. "I am very surprised that anime has a big audience here,” he said through an interpreter right before his scheduled mini-concert during Day Two of the second staging of the country’s biggest pop culture convention. “It makes me feel happy that Japan is sharing its culture with other people and that they appreciate it. In my country, everyone grows up watching anime and reading manga. I have heard that Filipinos have embraced it. So I look forward to seeing them respond to the songs.”
The 48-year old Kitadani has sung the theme songs to such popular anime shows such as "One Piece", "Yu-Gi-Oh", and "One Punch Man” with the JAM Project (Japan Animationsong Makers) to name a few. “I grew up watching ‘Lupin the Third’ and ‘Ikkyu-San’ which I enjoyed,” related Kitadani of the animation that he was weaned on. “Then I learned of ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ and the other mech anime.”
However, before he decided to plunge into a career of music, Kitadani had dreams of glory on a baseball diamond. “I played a lot of baseball when I was younger. I still do although it is more recreational,” shared the singer who roots for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in the Japan Central League and the New York Yankees in the American Major League Baseball. “I was chubby when I was younger and played the catcher position. I think being chubby helped me hit some power home runs. But life has a funny way of throwing you curve balls. So I found myself also becoming a professional in singing songs from popular anime shows.”
Kitadani, who also plays the guitar, also gravitated to American glam rock ’n roll band, Kiss, as a youngster. Kiss is a four-man outfit from New York City that was known for wearing make up and its fiery pyrotechnical shows. They were so larger than life that Marvel Comics produced two special comic books featuring the band during the 1970s. “That band appealed to me not only because of the music but because they wore kabuki-like make-up. But it was their songs and musicianship that got me."
The Japanese musician performed a 30-minute show at the Main Stage of AsiaPop Comicon to a rabid crowd that sang along to the words.
He is currently working on the theme song for the upcoming anime series titled, “DragonQuest”.