Television Listings

Canadian singer gives Japanese anime a voice

By Junko Hirabayashi

TORONTO (Reuters) - Anime is quintessentially Japanese, but these days, a Canadian singer is giving it a voice.

Catherine St-Onge of Quebec, according to Sony Music Japan International, is the only Western singer of songs that feature in the animated TV series widely watched in Japan and abroad.

St-Onge, who goes by her stage name HIMEKA, made her debut in the Japanese-dominated industry of animated song, or "anison," earlier this year with her first single "Asueno-kizuna" or "Bonds for Tomorrow" which became the theme tune of an anime series.

A year ago, she won the Animax Anison Grand Prix, an annual competition that gathers aspiring singers from all over Japan for a chance to earn a professional singing contract.

"I really love art, so seeing beautiful animated characters is an extra," St-Onge told Reuters in an email interview.

"As for anime songs, the fact that they are attached to the animation, you feel a deeper meaning to the songs themselves. Most of the time, parts of the lyrics really become meaningful related to the story and they become really nostalgic."

St-Onge, who publishes a bilingual blog (http://6109.jp/himeka/) said she became fascinated by Japan as a teenager after watching Sailor Moon, a popular animated TV series.

Although she did not understand the words, she was enthralled by the characters and the imagery, which inspired her to learn more about Japanese culture.

"After getting interested in Sailor Moon, I quickly became fascinated by the language and general culture of Japan. Even now I'm trying to understand why I fell in love with it -- I think it's just how everything was connected together," she said.

St-Onge started learning Japanese, mostly by herself, and last year flew to Tokyo where she found out about the singing contest on the Internet.

A year later, she says her Japanese still needs improving but that has not dented her ambitions.

"I also hope to have a chance to release a full album and hold a concert eventually," she said.

Sony Music Japan International, which signed up St-Onge after she won the singing contest, calls her the only "genuine" Western anison singer who debuted in Japan.

"I believe this is the first case a non-Japanese singer wannabe who has no Japanese background survived under the same conditions Japanese competitors did," said Sony Music's Yuichi Nakanishi.

An African-American 'enka' or Japanese ballad singer made his debut in Japan last year.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Acting accolades for ‘Fargo’ role
 
Redefining relationship: A speed date with destiny
 
Influx returns to Surrey with social night of art action
Bring your art to the silver screen
 
COLUMN: Virk still has a lot to offer
 
The Hunt is on at Shot in the Dark
Alliance puts on Five Corners Christmas play
 
Pipes and drums at G.W. Graham Nov. 29
 
Greek play redux at A.D. Rundle

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 27 edition online now. Browse the archives.