Akihiro Miwa

Akihiro Miwa

Japanese singer, actor, director, composer and writer
Date of Birth: 15.05.1935
Country: Japan

Content:
  1. Biography of Akihiro Miwa
  2. Early Life and Influences
  3. Career in Music and Theater
  4. Acting Career

Biography of Akihiro Miwa

Akihiro Maruyama, better known by his stage name Akihiro Miwa, was born on May 15, 1935 in Nagasaki, Japan. He was a Japanese singer, actor, director, composer, and writer. Miwa has written over 20 books, and he writes most of the compositions he performs. He stands out from other show business figures with his stance on social issues and wars, as he experienced the atomic bomb explosion in Nagasaki during his childhood. He openly expresses his opinions about government actions during his concerts. Miwa is openly gay and a transvestite, and his naturally feminine appearance, along with his bright yellow hair, only adds to his popularity.

Akihiro Miwa

Early Life and Influences

Miwa's parents owned a cafe, a traditional Japanese restaurant, and public baths in the red-light district. Nearby were a theater and a record store, and from a young age, Miwa began visiting the theater and listening to a wide variety of music in the record store. The antique shop across the road sold examples of visual arts from all over the world, which sparked his interest in painting, and for a while, he considered becoming an artist. When Miwa was only 10 years old, Nagasaki was hit by an atomic bomb. Many of his friends and acquaintances died, and although he did not suffer from physical radiation effects, he experienced anemia and other health issues for a long time. He witnessed hell and began to see things differently. Surviving death made him unafraid to live as freely as possible. Miwa lost his mother when he was only two years old, and later, the bomb confirmed the transience of life. He understood the true essence of war: "The word 'war' is a beautiful euphemism used to justify mass murder and destruction. We don't need euphemisms. We shouldn't say 'World War I'; we should call it the 'First World Mass Murder.' We should replace the word 'soldier' with 'killer' and call 'weapons' 'instruments of murder.' Why is it that when an individual uses a weapon, it's called an 'instrument of murder,' but when a country uses it, it's called 'defensive weaponry'? It's ridiculous. And if we don't stop using euphemisms, then we ourselves are part of the conspiracy."

Akihiro Miwa

Career in Music and Theater

At the age of 11, Miwa watched the film "The Boy Soprano" and became inspired to perform on stage. To pursue his dream, he enrolled in the Kunitachi Music College when he turned 15. In 1952, Miwa moved to Tokyo, where, at the age of 17, he began his career as a professional chansonnier, performing in various clubs in the Ginza district with a repertoire of Edith Piaf, Yvette Guilbert, and Marie Dubas. In 1957, the singer became famous with the hit song "Me Que Me Que," which contained a series of profanities that were prohibited in the media at that time. The composition faced harsh criticism, but it did not bother the composer: "Chansons were originally popular folk songs about sorrow, love, and anger that were popular after the French Revolution. In Japan, everything related to reality was removed from chansons, and it became a very refined genre. But I wanted to bring it back to the people, so I sang very crude words in 'Me Que Me Que'." In 1964, Miwa released the song "Yoitomake no Uta," which he wrote after performing in a small mining town by the mistake of a producer. At first, the singer did not want to go on stage, but he was moved by the sight of poor workers who bought tickets to his concert with their tiny salaries. Miwa felt "ashamed and awkward for appearing in front of them in outrageous clothes" and without suitable repertoire. This incident inspired him to create the song "Yoitomake no Uta," during which Miwa did not change into flamboyant clothes or wear bright makeup. Instead, he wore the gray ragged clothes of a post-war boy, and his bright yellow hair returned to its natural black color. The song became very popular, as its storyline was based on the real story of Miwa's childhood friend – a story of a son of a poor laborer who was bullied at school but had an immense motherly love and a child's determination to escape poverty and humiliation at all costs. However, the Japanese National Association of Commercial Broadcasters criticized the song for its "discriminatory" language, and it was banned from rotation on all commercial stations. This led Miwa and his fans to protest loudly against the ban, arguing that it was prohibited for a single word in the title without considering the content. After numerous cover versions, "Yoitomake no Uta" was broadcasted nationwide in 2012, and its author performed the song in almost complete darkness, wearing that old boy's clothes, with only dim light allowing the audience to faintly see his face.

Akihiro Miwa

Acting Career

Akihiro Miwa became famous as a chansonnier, but his acting career also played a significant role in his life. Every month since 1970, the theater "Shibuya Jin-Jin" hosted performances titled "The World of Akihiro Miwa," in which he personally participated. He also appeared in several movies. In the 1961 film "The Rebel's Village," he appeared as a boy laundry worker under his real name. In 1967, Miwa starred in "The Black Lizard," directed by Shuji Terayama. In 1968, Miwa composed a song for Kinji Fukasaku's fantasy film "The Black Lizard" and also appeared as a preserved body in one scene. He made another appearance in the same director's work, "The Mansion of the Black Rose." In addition to film roles, he voiced characters in Hayao Miyazaki's popular anime masterpieces "Princess Mononoke" and "Howl's Moving Castle." In 2005, the actor played himself in Takeshi Kitano's film "Takeshis." In 2007, he portrayed Empress Sessi in Jean Cocteau's play "The Two-Headed Eagle" at the Parco Theater in Sapporo. Miwa also voiced the Pokemon Arceus in the children's film "Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life." In 2014, Akihiro Miwa appeared in a television series where he also played himself.

Akihiro Miwa

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