Enka singer Jero will perform at Japan Day @ Central Park 2014, organizers announced this week. In addition to his hit single “Umiyuki,” he will also sing “NY Ondo” to accompany the Japan Day original Bon-Odori traditional dance.
The 32-year-old Pittsburgh native learned the Japanese contemporary ballad from his maternal grandmother, who was Japanese. When he was a young boy, Jero told his beloved grandmother that he would become a professional enka singer, and he relocated to Japan in 2003 after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh.
“I’m very honored for this opportunity to participate in Japan Day 2014,” Jero said in a prepared statement for Japan Day @ Central Park. “I look forward to getting up on the stage in Central Park. This will be my first time singing NY Ondo. I will do my best to hype up everyone in the audience to enjoy the Japan Day festivities.”
This won’t be Jero’s first performance in New York. He appeared onstage at Japan Society in June of 2012, delighting the packed house with his interpretation of his grandmother’s favorite music.
Japan Day @ Central Park 2014 will also film a New York version of the AKB48 music video “Koisuru Fortune Cookie.” In Japan, this song has sparked a national phenomenon where people film their own dance covers and post the videos to YouTube. Not only Japanese individuals have participated; companies, organizations, and even entire cities have made videos. With the song’s popularity extending beyond the Pacific, cover videos have been made in countries such as England, Australia, and Singapore. Since the mission of Japan Day is to introduce Japanese culture, organizers have embarked on this video project to bring the “current” Japan to light in New York.
Japan Day @ Central Park 2014 is issuing an open call to Japan Day fans who are interested to be part of this film. At the actual Japan Day event, they will film a video clip to be used for the music video as well, and they want as many New Yorkers to participate. The information on how to participate in the project will be available to the public on Friday, February 21 via the Japan Day @ Central Park Facebook page as well as their e-Newsletter.
REMINDER: The deadline to submit your artwork for the Japan Day Art Contest is Monday, February 24!