Nakajima Takui

Takui is, to my understanding, not a really well known Japanese musician here in the West, even in the days when the J-rock fandom was much more prevalent—which is a real damn shame considering his level of talent. In all honesty I think I still run this fanlisting out of pure stubborness to make people recognize him, and probably as a bit of a dedication as Takui is my first domain's namesake. (His song Shinkirou is one of my favorites!) He's so damn elusive I even struggled to find a high enough quality picture to use for this header...

Though I discovered his music very early in my Japanese rock fandom years, Takui has been a constant for me in all the musical exploits I've gone through. No matter what kind of music I was following at the time (be it visual kei, johnny's entertainment or kpop), I always continued to follow Takui religiously. His music is really straightforward and comes from the heart: he writes all his own songs and lyrics and he's talented as hell to boot. He's got the vocal range of a damn angel (hearing him hit those high notes still makes my heart sing) and his lyrics read like pure poetry. As the years have passed his music has evolved alongside him, and nowadays he's even writing songs for the Hello! Project crowd, but his roots and his personal work have always been based in rock. Having grown up with his father's Beatles and Elvis Presley albums it's easy to hear the influence of their legacy in his tunes. He's a old school rock star at heart and I think that's what makes Takui's music so warm and "familiar". Admittedly, I don't think it's something that hasn't been done before. But he as an individual makes it shine in a way that only he can do it.

Because Takui is a small-time guy that really does work locally (aka, I'm probably not going to be seeing him live unless I finally make that trip to Japan), my experiences with him are limited to simply supporting his work and buying his albums. However, quite a few years ago Takui would regularly do 24 Hour Live Streams online and interact with viewers via chat. Much like himself, the streams were very humble: just him and his guitar, singing for 24 hours straight and very little break in-between. It was quite the physical feat to watch: he would perform his own music, he'd sing Beatles songs, and at times he'd take requests from the chat. Honestly, more than anything it was just outstanding to watch him sing like an angel for an entire day. I remember excitedly requesting that he sing one of my favorites of his, "Hikigane" and watching him say, "Ah! Hikigane! Let's do that one!" then performing it live on Stream. Such a simple interaction, but just to feel noticed even for a millisecond and have my request played felt like a dream come true! (Somewhere, somewhere... that performance of Hikigane is recorded on one of my old phones. >_< #grossfangirl)

90% of the time anyone who's friends with me has asked for Japanese music requests, I've pushed Takui on them. Maybe sometimes even if they don't ask. (And most of them who have accepted my begging have fallen in love with him just as much as I have over the years! SO I FEEL JUSTIFIED IN THIS FORCEFULNESS.) Even though there is nothing extraordinarily "experimental" about Takui, I think he is in his own way, very unique and refreshing. With multicolored suits and the cutest socks you'll ever see, each "era" of Takui really speaks to who he is at that point in his life. He is never boring and constantly evolving as he matures, and I really appreciate the honesty he puts forth in his music.

I strongly recommend his album, Kasa wo Sasanai Kimi no Tame ni! Despite loving Takui's early rock albums, I think this one best shows his "well-roundedness" and the strength of his voice. (It's also the first album he released under his full name!) There are songs that are full of power, but also songs that are much quieter and more emotional, and what makes Takui and his work so beautiful is really evident in this album. His agency, UP-FRONT Group also has some of his more recent work on Youtube and performances of classic TAKUI songs!