Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit - Shugo Takumaru

When it comes to Japanese pop music, it's easy to get stuck in stereotypes.

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Nippon pop -- as some call it -- comes in a few varieties: bubblegum, metal, girl bands, and bubbly psychedelia.

Shugo Tokumaru defies all those cliches.

If you hear a melody in that tune called "Button" that vaguely resembles the Beatles' song "Sexy Sadie," well, it's understandable.

Shugo Tokumaru grew up listening to quirky Japanese pop music...and the Beatles catalog.

If you pay careful attention, Tokumaru's voice even echoes that of John Lennon.

And some of Tokumaru's production tricks like rewinding his original master tracks are straight out of the Beatles' playbook.

But this is homage. Not plagiarism. And even if you don't understand Japanese, it's delightful.

In Japan, Shugo Tokumaru is seen as a star on the indie rock scene.

He began rising in 2004.

That's when he put out his first recording titled "Night Piece."

It got warm reviews, but a lot of those came from overseas.

Shugo Tokumaru is one of those rare artists who actually has gained global fans through word of mouth.

The Night Piece CD was passed from fan to new found fan.

And now his latest album, Exit, has just been released in the US.

Shugo Takumaru has been boning up on traditional Japanese styles like the 13th century court music, "gagaku."

He also includes a few traditional Japanese instruments on Exit.

But we'll leave you with the more familiar acoustic six-string guitar, played here with a loping cowboy feel.

The tune is called Sanganichi.

Shugo Takumaru with a track from his just released album Exit.

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