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Holly Jolly X'masu

Apr 25, 2022

Welcome to episode 49 of Holly Jolly X'masu! In this episode, I’ll be wrapping up my discussion about Eiji Kitamura and his Christmas music, with his fantastic 2001 album, “Santa Clarinet.”

Santa Clarinet - 2001

While Akira Ishikawa’s “Drum Christmas Drum” kicked off my interest in Japanese Christmas music, the Jazz, Group Sounds and Mood Kayo albums of the 1960s really cemented my obsession, while the City Pop Christmas music from the 1980s broadened my collecting horizons and led to me finding an even wider variety of music.

Santa Clarinet - Back

One of the things I love about Eiji Kitamura is that he serves as a bridge from the earliest days of Japanese Pop music to today. He got his start around the same time Hibari Misora’s “Hitoribocchi no Christmas” gave birth to Japanese Christmas Pop, so he has been an eyewitness to the genre as it’s evolved. That’s part of why I’d love to see him do an album where he covers all the big Japanese Christmas songs, from Kai Band’s “Anna,” to Yumi Matsutoya’s “Koibito ga Santa Claus,” Keisuke Kuwata’s “Merry X’mas In Summer” and “White Lovers,” and, of course, Tatsuro Yamashita’s “Christmas Eve.” I have a couple Jazz albums with covers of a lot of those songs, but having one from Eiji Kitamura would be something special, considering his long history in the industry.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Eiji Kitamura. Join me back here next month for my special 50th episode, where I’ll be talking about the 1977 compilation, “Merry Christmas (Bouquet of Hearts Present Series),” from King Records. It’s a great album in its own right with an interesting history, but it’s also an instrumental album for me personally, not just in the way it helped me improve my research and collecting strategy, but in the long-standing connection it’s given me with a like-minded collector in Japan. It’s a double LP and will take a lot of work to prepare, so at this point I’m not sure what else I’ll cover next month, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

As always, any feedback on this episode would be appreciated. If have any suggestions, or if you’d like to recommend a song or album for a future episode, drop me a line and let me know.

Remember, I've added a button to my Ko-fi page. If you'd like to support me one cup of coffee at a time, a donation is only $3. I’ve also opened a Redbubble store. I only have a couple designs up, but keep an eye on it as I’ll be trying to add more. Half of any proceeds or donations received will be donated to support the people of Ukraine, while the rest will be used to purchase new Japanese Christmas music to review for future episodes. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you get a chance, leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks!