Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to Japan and meet with other Nikkei (Japanese migrants and their descendants) from around the world. As an Asian American, I admit I sometimes forget that there are people of Asian ancestry who live in Mexico. In fact, there are strong nikkei communities throughout the Americas. The biggest Nikkei population (outside of Japan) is in Brazil (with the United States coming in second).
One of the people I met in Japan was Junichi Hernández Yoshikai, a talented singer from Mexico who sings in Spanish, English, and Japanese. I would describe his music as a blend of Japanese pop with American and Mexican influences.
Here is a short bio about Junichi and his band, SHOKORA:
Formed in late 2005, SHOKORA has influences from Pop to New Metal giving the band a unique genre known as Hybrid Rock. Most of the members of Shokora have Japanese backgrounds, therefore their songs are in Japanese, as well as in Spanish and English, which makes SHOKORA an international band. SHOKORA’s aim is to be recognized internationally as a unique and original band, known to break frontiers, they are recognized as the best Mexican-Japanese band and have won numerous awards [Embassy of Japan, AMJ, etc.] and several other competitions. So far SHOKORA has released their first album [“A un Año de Vivir” (“After a Year of Living”) 2006], a mini album [“Renacer Vol.1” (“Rebirth Vol.1”) 2009] and a DVD. SHOKORA has played in Oaxaca, Cancun, Tabasco, Estado de Mexico, Guanajuato, Veracruz, Guadalajara, amongst others. Their lyrics express everyday life occurrences such as love, friendship and indifferences.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Junichi and ask him eight questions about him and SHOKORA:
What does SHOKORA mean?
Chocolate, we want to express the flavor of our music.
Tell us about SHOKORA: What are everyone’s names? Where is everyone from?
The members and founders of Shokara are:
- Junichi Hernández Yoshikai (Vocals) – MEXICO
- Keiki Tanamachi Ramos (Lead Guitar) – MEXICO
- Yoshimichi Hernández Yoshikai (Bass & Vocals) – MEXICO
- Emiliano Yasuhito Hisaki Itaya (Rhythm Guitar) – ARGENTINE
- Kenji Tanamachi Ramos (Keys & Synth) – MEXICO
- Paco Flandes (Drums) – MEXICO
Describe the kind of music you play.
SHOKORA plays a special kind of music, a mix of many genres, rock, pop, metal, progressive, alternative, j-rock, j-pop, etc. We call it HYBRID ROCK!
How is your music unique?
We want to express ourselves through our songs. They talk about personal experiences, and daily life. We want our fans to feel related with our music. SHOKORA is a brand new sound, as we mix many genres in music, something different and unique.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one piece of music to listen to, what would it be?
Hum… it’s a hard question, I don’t have a favorite song, but personally I think I would listen to “Niji” – Ninomiya Kazunari from ARASHI, it’s a pretty nice song! But if it’s from SHOKORA, I would say “Yo solo se” (I Only Know).
If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be?
Of course to be recognized worldwide not only me, all SHOKORA members and our music.
What are you working on now?
Our newest production, our very first professional album produced by Rogelio Gómez, a recognized producer here in México. Trying to get signed by a record label here in Mexico or in Japan.
Where can we listen/see to some of your music?