Japanese make it ‘Jam’-aica

I am still trying to do my best to highlight any Japan related news items in Jamaica’s local media. About a week ago I made a post about Masaya Hayashi – a music store owner from Japan with a keen interest in our vintage music. Recently I saw another interesting article in the newspaper that talks about why many Japanese nationals are interesting in Jamaica and provides some good statistics and information related to the “Jamaica” scene in Japan. It’s not surprising that it’s our music and culture is what attract many young Japanese here. My Japanese teacher is featured in the article so check out excerpts from the article below and click the link to read the full version.

Article excerpts

Taking a musical pilgrimage each year, many Japanese nationals travel to Jamaica, the motherland of reggae and dancehall. With an almost fanatical interest in the culture Japanese visitors eat, sleep and drink in everything Jamaican. In the last 15 years, according to the website of the Embassy of Jamaica in Tokyo, over 100,000 Japanese travelers have visited Jamaica not only for sightseeing but reggae and reggae concerts. And as of October 2005, 183 Japanese nationals were residing in Jamaica. Today reggae music is a multi-million dollar industry in Japan, with Jamaican musicians in demand, in high demand. Artistes such as, Voicemail, Ce’Cile, Beenie Man and Tony Matterhorn are almost a yearly fixture in Japan, with many Jamaican artistes releasing albums exclusively in that country.

Fun Fact – In 2002 the winner of Jamaica’s yearly dancehall queen competition was this dancer from Japan named Junko

Over the years Japan’s obsession with Jamaica has slowly changed. Whereas one time travelling to Jamaica was necessary to keep current with the music, now Japan has copied all aspects of reggae/dancehall culture. Tomoko Uemura, a Japanese language teacher at the Language Training Centre, not only teaches Japanese but also assists in passing on information about reggae music to promoters in Japan.

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