Joe Inoue at Hyper Japan

Written by Vicky Ovel

On the 14-16th November, the UK’s biggest Japanese event was held for the 2nd time this year in London. I only attended on Sunday the 16th as I wanted to see Joe Inoue perform. Some of you may know Joe Inoue for his songs ‘ Closer’ which was used for one of the openings to Naruto Shippuden and ‘Kaze no Gotoku’ which was used as an opening to Yorinuki Gintama-san. Some of you may even know him for his entertaining interviews on the Japanese music show J-Melo shown around the world on NHKWorld.

Before I go on any further, here’s a little bit about Joe Inoue. He was born in and is from Los Angeles, California, but his parents are native to Japan. He became really interested in music in middle school and learnt Japanese through Anime and Manga. He is signed to Sony Music Entertainment Japan and plays all the instruments in his recordings as well as composing the music, writing and singing the lyrics. I would personally describe Joe Inoue as fun, silly, modern, fashionable and very talented. All of which was shown when I met him at Hyper Japan.

Shortly after I got to the event, I bumped into Joe and after expressing my love like fans do, I was to be interviewed by him. He asked me questions such as ‘How did my interest in Japanese culture arise, What I think of the music industry and what I like about Japan?’. He seemed very interested in the answers I was giving and not just putting on an act. He was easy to talk to and you could tell he cares for his fans.

Joe performed on stage alongside Diana Garnet who is from Washington DC and has had a long-standing interest in Japanese Anime Music. She is produced by Joe and recently it was announced she would be doing the next ending song for Naruto Shippuden. Joe performed ‘Closer’ on his own and then did the backing and DJ set for Diana’s performances. They performed songs such as ‘Go’ originally sung by Flow and used as an opening in Naruto, Vocaloid, and the well-loved opening to Evangelion ‘ Zankoku na Tenshi no Tēze’. All were sung extremely well and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Joe being the joker type of a guy tried to make the audience laugh at his comments and jokes. Unfortunately, the crowd wasn’t too responsive. And for this, we should apologise. I found him funny and I’m sure others did too but were either too excited or shy to respond. Don’t worry Joe, you made me laugh. Some of the things he was doing on stage which had me in giggles was his moonwalking, thrusting moves, and lowering his trousers to reveal his what I guess were Thermals. I think I would have preferred to see his underwear, but it was a family event.

I went to his ‘Meet & Greet’ after his performance and got his most recent album ‘Dos Angeles’ signed along with a photo with him and Diana. I also managed to sneak a hug off him before he left to be interviewed.

I really hope he comes back to the UK as he was such a lovely, fun person. If you would like to know more about him, he has his own Facebook page he regularly posts on and does question and answer sessions. You can also watch some of his unofficial material on his Youtube page VellySillyBilly.

Also if you are a fan of Japanese music, it’s worth checking out J-Melo on NHKworld which can be viewed on the following:
Sky Channel 507 (HD)
FreeSat Channel 209 (HD)

I look forward to his upcoming work and hope you do too!