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Meet Jero: The First Black JAPANESE Enka Singer

February 28, 2008

Hip-Hop knows no bounds so when I heard there was a b-boy that had adopted the ways of Japan and become a country singer, I was interested. Meet Jero, the first Black Country Music Singer of Japan! I’d be a Ronin if I was in Japan, for sure. What Jero actually does is called Enka and his new single debuted at #4 on the charts, a historic event.

Here is more info on Jero:

JERO (ジェロ) is an American (Pittsburgh) born enka singer, and the first black enka singer. Interestingly, despite singing enka music he still has the outward appearance of being a hip-hop artist. His Japanese grandmother got him interested in enka music from a young age. He enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in information science, and graduated in 2003. During this time, he went on a three month exchange to a university in Kansai, and during his stay was when he decided he would become an enka singer. After graduating, he returned to Japan. In his spare time he appeared on NHK singing programs, and won many karaoke competitions, which is what caught the eye of Victor and got him scouted. Finally in February 2008 he debuts with the single Umiyuki. 

45 Comments leave one →
  1. Lana permalink
    February 28, 2008 9:53 pm

    thats wassup, good for him

  2. February 28, 2008 11:45 pm

    very nice

  3. February 28, 2008 11:56 pm

    Well that is definitely something you don’t see everyday. I went to school with this Black chick who spook Japanese fluently, was involved in Japanese cultural performances and the whole nine…so this isn’t all that shocking. However, I think it is pretty cool that he is stepping outside of the box and doing something totally unexpected from a Black man. Good for him.

  4. February 28, 2008 11:57 pm

    *correction should be spoke not spook.

  5. February 29, 2008 3:33 am

    That’s awesome. I have some friends teaching English over in Japan, I wonder if they’ve seen this guy on TV.

  6. josiecat permalink
    February 29, 2008 4:40 am

    I think Jero souned good in the you tube vidio on this blog.

    P.S. I am very interested in Japan.

  7. February 29, 2008 12:28 pm

    First of all i live in YOKOHAMA JAPAN and im a african american i work with all japanese i speak a little japanese but not very well. im chillin in the break room and the tv is on and i see this guy who look like he is straight hiphop he start singing all in japanese and my co-workers are looking @ me like why can`t you speak like him im like man if you close your eyes he sounds just as good or better then real japanses that sing this enka music he is very rare person over here the japanese our very racist and think all non-japanses people or evil they will be polite to you in your face but there talking shit inthere head i like to callit “fingers crossed behind there back” so for them to except this guy so openly it`s crazy if you look at the video the japanese people or really in awe cuz they would never think a black man could have so much talent they think we are only what they see on tv they are very closed minded people i think it has something to do with being a island. im on they train and they won`t even sit down and the train pack but im black so they rather stand and then when i speak to them in japanese they or so shocked cuz i speak polite japanese well got to get ready for work so i can hop on the train and get stared at like im in the zoo if you every been to japan please leave a comment thanks for letting me rant

  8. February 29, 2008 2:29 pm

    i heard the women are fairly friendly in japan if you catch my drift

  9. MOOK permalink
    February 29, 2008 6:59 pm

    CHARLIE PRODE WAS THE FIRST BLACK COUNTRY SINGER. DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE WRITING STUFF!!!!!!

  10. MOOK permalink
    February 29, 2008 7:00 pm

    CHARLIE PRIDE WAS THE FIRST BLACK COUNTRY SINGER. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!! LEARN YOUR HISTORY!!!!!

  11. February 29, 2008 8:16 pm

    people are so unintelligent some times. it clearly states : Meet Jero: The First Black JAPANESE Enka Singer

    And here you go talking about Charlie Pride like he’s not common knowledge. Capital SMH.

  12. spikedheels permalink
    March 1, 2008 1:34 am

    This is response to lito: I lived in Japan for six years and sad to read about your experiences there. FYI my dad (who is black) is retired there and he has won many competitions singing. Yes he does speak Japanese fluently. I’m just sayin… learn to speak fluent (proper, as you say) and the rest will come naturally–all languages have their slang.

  13. March 1, 2008 2:52 am

    thanks 4 posting this illseed! I am Japanese and have to say he sounds just like japanese when he’s singing. am so happy to see him, this is my grandson right there :)

  14. March 1, 2008 1:50 pm

    spikedheels i feel you i wish i could speak japanese fluently and that`s great for your dad. but what im saying is japanese people or followers and they “ALL” think the same and it took me 7 years to figure this out i no thats a long time but i was in the navy and i lived around jpanses that were close to the base so they understood americans more cuz they see them often. but now im not in navy and i work for a japanese firm and i commute to work you can tell how peole act towards you just like if you had a pimple on your nose you everybody is looking but nobody is gona say damm look @ that pimple on your nose ya feel me im 29yrs old i know how people feel and the whole tim im a good looking guy not cocky or anything but when you heare “oh so kawaii” then you just no. the only problem i have is it`s 2008 and they act like there the only ones in there contry i don`t mind the elders cuz im probaly the first black person that they really see up close cuz they be taking double takes ya feel me

  15. March 2, 2008 1:58 pm

    Africa for Blacks, and let the rest of humanity have the rest of the world. We will be happier without each other. I advocate the race war, and I hope that millions of japs are massacred.

    14 Black Words:

    We must anihilate the japs and secure a segregated future for our Black children.

    I understand. I like japanese girls, but japanese girls lik allr aces but Blacks. Japs respect all races except for blacks. Death to japs and may japan be destroyed.

  16. March 3, 2008 1:08 pm

    violent aj your stupid ” I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR MOTHER”

  17. March 6, 2008 8:20 am

    I feel sorry for me too because Japanese girls do not like blacks. Oh well.

    Lito, you even said that japs hate us. I am just agreeing with you. Japs are evil bastards and their women open their legs to all races but Blacks. I can’t wait until the japs start the race war and we can put the yellow monkeys in bodybags.

  18. April 20, 2008 10:03 pm

    I don’t think I need to point out the inaccuracy of your assumption that Japanese don’t have sex with or procreate with Black people, but I will. Many Japanese want to sleep with Blacks, although this may just be the result of curiosity based on stereotypes and the media portraying Blacks as “exotic”. Beyond the one night stands, many marriages have produced many beautiful half Black half Japanese children.

  19. roadlesswandering permalink
    May 1, 2008 4:23 pm

    Lito are you in a small town? I haven’t been out here nearly as long as you have, but I noticed that it’s a lot different in smaller towns. Why does it bother you if someone doesn’t sit next to you on the train? I’ve seen plenty of Japanese people do this to their own. There will be an empty seat and no one will take it. It never bothers me…I can actually relax.

    I’ve also noticed that people who actually speak Japanese have a different relationship than those that don’t.

    Uh, violent AJ, it must be a sad and sorry case when even a Japanese woman won’t sleep with you…maybe they feel your hatred. Because I had a an older Japanese woman, who was a student, said, “Japanese women are like taxis….they give everyone a ride!”

    Tone down the hatred AJ! You might get laid!

  20. May 3, 2008 4:34 am

    Roadless, they are like taxis; they’ll pick anyone up except for Blacks.

  21. tonchan permalink
    May 13, 2008 1:36 pm

    To ViolentAJ.
    Are you sadtruth who are posting similar negative comments to You Tube?
    Are you genuine African American? If so, why don’t you bless Jero’s success?

  22. May 15, 2008 3:43 am

    Yes, I am sadtruth87 on Youtube. You can check out my vids and you’ll know why. Japanese people, in general, do not respect us. Jero is a homosexual that the japanese are using in a conspiracy against Black People everywhere. He has been exposed!

  23. tonchan permalink
    May 16, 2008 2:52 pm

    You had not answered my another question yet. Are you genuine African American?
    Some faithful American people say that you are not African American but a racist of other race.
    If you are African American you are poor person who are jealous of Jero. If you are not, you are racist against the Japanese.

  24. The Tragedy permalink
    May 21, 2008 4:37 pm

    violentAJ thoes are some strong words.I must disagree with you on thw subject that japanese girls dont like black why im married to a bautiful japanese princes so it just you..

  25. August 20, 2008 3:25 am

    I think the man sounds damn good. Charley Pride is NOT the first black country singer. Pride IS the first major-label black country music super star. There were many black country singers long before Pride. DeFord Bailey is recognized as the first black country music artist. He was a MEMBER of the Grand Ole Opry for nearly 15 years, starting in 1926. He was also one of the first country artists to be signed to a major label.
    Korean War Veteran McDonald Craig of Linden Tennessee grew up in a country-bluegrass music household and performed throughout Tennessee with his parents and siblings. Upon his returen he recorded birefly for Nashville’s Gold Standard label during the 1960s. He is also the only black yodeler to ever win 1st. Place [1978] at a Jimmie Rodgers Yodeling Championship held annually in Meridian, Mississippi.
    Vietnam Veteran Mike Johnson is Country Music’s No.1 Black Yodeler. He has written more yodeling songs than anyone, and 114 of them are part of the Recorded Sound Reference Center’s permanent music collection at the Library of Congress. He is alos one of the 18 world famous yodelers on Bart Plantenga’s “Rough Guide To Yodel” CD released in September 2006 by the World Music Network in London, England.
    Linda Martell was the first female black country music singer to perform on the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. Blacks have been involved in country music from the beginning.

    The list goes on! Research before sprouting off someone elses biased ignorance! Grab yourself a copy of Pamela E. Foster’s 1998 book, “My Country, The African Diaspora’s Country Music Heritage.” [ISBN -0-962680-1-6] This 340-page anthology focuses specifically on black country music singers, writers, publishers, DJs, record label owners, and some fans. The detailed discography alone is priceless!

  26. August 20, 2008 3:28 am

    I think the man sounds damn good. Charley Pride is NOT the first black country singer. Pride IS the first major-label black country music super star. There were many black country singers long before Pride. DeFord Bailey is recognized as the first black country music artist. He was a MEMBER of the Grand Ole Opry for nearly 15 years, starting in 1926. He was also one of the first country artists to be signed to a major label.
    Korean War Veteran McDonald Craig of Linden Tennessee grew up in a country-bluegrass music household and performed throughout Tennessee with his parents and siblings. Upon his return he recorded briefly for Nashville’s Gold Standard label during the 1960s. He is also the only Black Yodeler to ever win 1st. Place [1978] at a Jimmie Rodgers Yodeling Championship held annually in Meridian, Mississippi.
    Vietnam Veteran Mike Johnson is Country Music’s No.1 Black Yodeler. He has written more yodeling songs than anyone, and 114 of them are part of the Recorded Sound Reference Center’s permanent music collection at the Library of Congress. He is alos one of the 18 world famous yodelers on Bart Plantenga’s “Rough Guide To Yodel” CD released in September 2006 by the World Music Network in London, England.
    Linda Martell was the first female black country music singer to perform on the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. Blacks have been involved in country music from the beginning.

    The list goes on of black country singers before and after Charley Pride! RESEARCH, before sprouting off someone elses biased ignorance! Grab yourself a copy of Pamela E. Foster’s 1998 book, “My Country, The African Diaspora’s Country Music Heritage.” [ISBN -0-962680-1-6] This 340-page anthology focuses specifically on black country music singers, writers, publishers, DJs, record label owners, and some fans. The detailed discography alone is priceless!
    Joe Arnold, Roughshod Records
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mikejohnson

  27. September 14, 2008 1:27 am

    ViolentAJ that’s not true. My mom is Japanese, she was born in Japan, was raised in Japan, and only could speak Japanese until she married my father who is African American and has very dark skin. They’ve been married for 30 years now and I know other Japanese/African or African American couples in my church who’ve been together even longer than they have and have children as well. Such couples DO exist and I’m proud to be one of those “beautiful half Black half Japanese children” SH mentioned.

    I found out about Jero from my mom, she’s a big fan of his.

  28. September 16, 2008 8:33 am

    Japs marrying Blacks is the eXCEPTION, not the rule. Most japanese girls are apeshit for whites and other non-Blacks, and japs generally respect anyone but Blacks.

  29. court.ellis permalink
    September 19, 2008 3:35 am

    First of all can I say that the whole thing was about Jero. I find the young man very impressive, and the fact that any American or whoever non – Japanese can sing the wonderful enka music is awesome. I just don’t think there is a need to slander Japanese women and who they sleep with or blacks and all the other stereo-types out there. The part about learning the language my be very and I stress “VERY” helpful. I speak Japanese Fluently and I seem to have no problem with the Japanese, but when you do or say things to disrespect people you invoke the evil in them. My wife and I have been married for quite some time and the crazy thing is I knew Japanese before I met her. Most of all I didn’t learn in Japan. Enough of that, Jero is a very impressive young man, and maybe some other groups in Japan will see that he is getting some good press with the enka and start singing those songs of ol’. There are a lot of good groups in Japan, and would like to see who’s good the skill to join Jero. In the end, let’s keep it clean and stay cool!!

    -Yo dekimashita !!

  30. September 20, 2008 7:19 am

    Court Ellis, you are not a brother. You are a honky.

    • Gabriel Day permalink
      December 20, 2010 9:46 pm

      Hey Sadturd87 this Gabao23 remember me from youtube when you were putting out hate vids againts the japanese people. Now I hear you name is ViolentAJ man you still get around don’t you.

    • April 13, 2011 10:05 am

      Thkans alot – your answer solved all my problems after several days struggling

  31. edo permalink
    October 16, 2008 6:57 pm

    Believe it or not, there is a subcultural of non-Japanese who sing enka. I’m an American who taught English near Tokyo for a year. A student turned me on to Hibari Misora, a true talent and enka legend. I learned her songs, sang them at karaoke clubs, and eventually on a Japanese TV show called Gaikokujin Kaiyo Taisho–Foreigner Singing Contest. Through that program I met many like me, from all over the world, with the same love of the genre. The funny thing is that I’m a 6 foot 2 guy, football-player-build, and my signature song was “Minato machi ju san banchi”, a wistful tune about a girl waiting for her sailor to return from the sea. Good times.

  32. joe permalink
    November 4, 2008 2:23 pm

    He certainly has the credibility when enka superstar Aiko Moriyama appears with him

    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/jero-japans-first-black-enka-singer-has-great-success/

  33. Batakusai9 permalink
    January 5, 2009 6:19 pm

    Just fyi…..

    ViolentAJ/sadtruth87 is a White racist… He’s been posting on several other sites related to Blacks and Japanese.

  34. April 29, 2009 4:03 am

    My assessment of this guy is that he is A1. He would get his NVQ Qualification with flying colours

  35. July 10, 2009 3:33 pm

    I bet you I can get any japanese girl and spread em

  36. July 19, 2009 4:49 am

    How did this conversation turn from giving props to Jero, to some racist bullshit. Jero, welll done, nuff respect to ya.

  37. October 31, 2009 1:17 am

    This guy is fantastic

  38. January 10, 2010 3:39 pm

    Superb singer

  39. April 13, 2011 12:15 pm

    yOcg5W Very true! Makes a canhge to see someone spell it out like that. :)

  40. kay permalink
    December 17, 2009 5:02 pm

    way to go Jero! these 2 songs are my favorite songs.

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