Kyu Sakamoto

Hisashi Oshima was born in Kawasaki, Japan, in December of 1941, just days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

As Kyu (pronounced as “cue”) Sakamoto, he achieved astonishing international success with the single, “Sukiyaki”, in 1963, in spite of it being sung wholly in Japanese. The song had actually been a massive hit in Japan, two years prior to this. “Sukiyaki”, in total, sold in excess of thirteen million copies.

Its official title was changed to that of “Sukiyaki” because it was believed that its original name would be too difficult for non-speakers of Japanese to pronounce.

Cover versions of “Sukiyaki”, with English lyrics, include those by A Taste Of Honey, in 1981, and 4 P.M., in 1995.

Kyu Sakamoto died near Tokyo, at the age of forty-three, in August of 1985 when the stricken airliner, on which he was a passenger, took half an hour before it actually crashed. Five hundred and twenty people perished in the crash of the airliner, which was owned by Japanese Airlines.