Konishiki and Kong team up
It's no secret Hawaiian culture is popular in Japan. Hula halau are common, and many local recording artists make regular tour stops in various parts of the country.
Yesterday, Hawaiian music (and music by Japanese artists about Hawaii) gained an even bigger stage as NHK-FM launched a new radio program on all of its stations nationwide. The nightly show, which broadcasts from midnight to 1 a.m. weekdays in Japan, is hosted by former Hawaii radio personality Kamasami Kong alongside former sumo wrestler Konishiki (aka Salevaa Atisonoe).
"We'll be playing all types of Hawaiian music with special features focusing on various styles," Kong wrote via email. "Almost every genre of music from Hawaii will be represented in this nightly, semi-educational show, including music about Hawaii by top artists from here in Japan."
Due to the time difference (Japan is 19 hours ahead of Hawaii), the show airs locally at 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays — but there doesn't appear to be an option for live streaming of content via the NHK-FM website. Kong did provide a link for listeners to submit requests; look for the "(※)" symbol and enter your name, age and pick a random Japanese state, then fill out the last three fields with the artist, song name and message before clicking the submit button at the bottom of the form.
Produced by Tastuya Fushimi of FM Sounds in Tokyo, Kong added the new program will take Hawaiian music in Japan "to a whole new level and create more nationwide awareness among average persons here in Japan."
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.