The last Japanese Pop Emperor
Yukihiro Takahashi – The last Japanese Pop Emperor
Despite the cold robotic sound of KRAFTWERK, the Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) sounded plastically colourful and it was Yukihiro Takahashi who significantly shaped their output. He was the one who completed the trio that revolutionised pop music from the Far East at the end of the seventies.
The names of the three are legendary in Japan – bassist Haruomi Hosono, keyboardist Ryuichi Sakamoto (also known in the West) and Yukihiro Takahashi, drummer and lead singer – and songs such as “Rydeen” and “Cosmic Surfin” became international hits.
But Takahashi, who was born in Tokyo in 1952, was also incredibly productive beyond the YMO. Even before his time within the Yellow Magic, he worked as a drummer for the bitingly progressive “Sadistic Mika Band” and he has also released over 40 solo albums (mostly after the YMO phase). The best of these are from the 80s, but originally we came across Takahashi, when we first heard the perfect schmaltz of “Present” from his first album “Saravah!” (1977, see images).
Takahashi has also worked extensively with other musicians throughout his career, including Iva Davies from Icehouse, Keiichi Suzuki from the Moonriders and Steve Jansen from the British band Japan.
Unfortunately, the Japanese music legend passed away far too early on 11 January 2023 at the age of just 70.