Husbands Jiro and Mariquita dedicated their musical talent to singing Mexican music
By Larissa Torres
Latin music is also popular in Japan, in many parts of the country songs in Spanish are heard and it is common to find Mexican melodies in karaoke or Japanese singing rooms.
One of the first known Mexican musical groups in Japan was Los Panchos. The musical trio arrived in the 60s to record the album “Los Panchos en Japan” with lyrics in Spanish and Japanese, and with their boleros they gained popularity in Japanese territory.
Armando Manzanero, Mexican singer recently deceased by Covid, the Japanese also liked a lot. His romantic songs were dubbed into Japanese.
Later, dozens of Japanese singers, orchestras and bands appeared singing songs of Hispanic origin, among them: Mariquita and Jiro who are known for interpreting Latin American folk music.
It is a Japanese duet formed by the singer and businesswoman Mariko Oashi (Ladybug) and her guitarist husband Hidejiro Mimura (Jiro). They were among the first Japanese to record several albums, interpreting songs in Spanish such as “I’m not from here, I’m not from there”, “You’re you” and “Today I want you.”
They also founded the Music Amigos agency and the magazine Hola Amigos, which reports on the music of Latin America and its culture. In addition, he formed the Amigo entity that worked on the exchange of artists between Latin America and Japan.
In the 70s, Mariquita and Jiro visited Mexico to record some songs by Armando Manzanero and despite not speaking Spanish they stayed in the country for two weeks.
It was there that a great friendship began between Armando Manzanero and the Japanese. The Mexican singer-songwriter made six tours in Japan, one of them alongside La Orquesta de la Luz, a Japanese orchestra that played salsa.
Mariquita died on December 27, 2003, but the chords of her husband Jiro continued to sound to the rhythm of Mexican folklore alongside the Japanese María Matsumoto, the romantic voice of Marie Minie and Masami Takaba.
His most recent performance was in October 2020 with the Japanese singer María Matsumoto, who performed the Mexican piece “La Llorona” for the Day of the Dead season.
Among other Japanese who performed Mexican music are Tokyo Cuban Boys, Los Indios, Tomoko Takara, who performed rancheras songs and Osamu Hosegawa, musician and singer whose stage name is Sam Moreno, who at age 18 went to Mexico and returned to his country. native, decided to set up a Mexican restaurant in Tokyo and create the famous Mariachi Samurai.