Remember Aisaku Yokogawa? You should. Given how busy and visible he usually is, I am sure you must have come across Aisaku who looks very Japanese but talks Pinoy when he opens his mouth. He is that Philippine-born Japanese kid, who works as a singer, events host and interpreter, among other things. But his passion actually lies in Filipino music. So, in between having to work for a living, Aisaku spends his time singing, preferably in fluent, expressive Tagalog.
Now, it used to be that Aisaku liked taking Japanese songs and then singing those with new Filipino lyrics. That is why he has a version of Ted Ito’s Ikaw Pa Rin and of Renz Verano’s Remember Me in his first album three years ago. Those songs were originally Japanese but found a new life in the Philippines when they were translated into Tagalog. So, were Honey My Love So Sweet by the April Boys and Isang Tanong Isang Sagot by Donna Cruz. Those translations were all the rage back in the ’90s and Aisaku very nicely captured the era again with his take on those Japanese hits.
Three years later, Aisaku is still determined to foster closer Japanese and Filipino relations through the music and he has hit upon a new way to do this. Instead of singing Filipino translations of Japanese songs, he is now doing the opposite. Aisaku is singing Filipino hit songs translated into Japanese. His first crack at this venture is Akin Ka Na Lang, a big hit by the band Itchyworms two years ago. It is now titled Boku No Mono Ni Natte and Aisaku’s new version with lyrics that he co-wrote with Hiroaki Horie is a viral sensation.
The positive reaction to the single and the video of the song prompted Aisaku to do more recordings in a similar style. So watch out for Japanese adaptations of Muli, Ikaw Na Nga and even Gary Valenciano’s classic Natutulog Ba Ang Dios, plus many more. He plans to record more and will be taking the songs to Japan where maybe he can start a trend among the Japanese for Filipino songs. He has already taken the first step towards this by allowing Japanese language instructors to start using his lyric videos as a teaching aid.
Given the fact that the songs are really big hits, the Pinoys taking the classes are already familiar with them. So, it is very easy for them to understand and to learn how to sing the Japanese lyrics. Helping a lot is the fact that Aisaku has made sure that the video will be enjoyable to watch. Boku No Mono Ni Natte features the Japanese comedy group HPN3. This is made up of Yuki Horikoshi, Kazuki Tanaka and Kazuo Inoue. They are joined by Kuya Sawa, a Japanese student also known as Omu-rice, who recently went viral online selling Omurice on the streets of Manila to help Filipino street children.
These translations of Filipino songs into Japanese are a new beginning for the livewire Aisaku. He has hit into a good thing that will hopefully open doors for Filipino music in the very musical and still CD-obsessed Japan. Pinoy songs can really use this new market and I am glad that Aisaku is around to share the beautiful songs with everybody.
Meanwhile, here are the Top 20 Filipino tunes on Spotify nowadays that Aisaku should check up on and then maybe also turn into Japanese. As expected, Two Less Lonely People In The World from the blockbuster movie Kita Kita is still No. 1.
Two Less Lonely PeopleIn The World by KZ Tandingan; Hiling by Mark Carpio; Tag-ulan from the Luck At First Sight soundtrack by Thyro and Yumi; Pasensiya Ka Na by Silent Sanctury; Isang Araw by Kaye Cal; Di Makatulog by Sud; Malaya, another movie tune from the soundtrack of Camp Sawi by Moira de la Torre; You by Jona; Hanggang Kailan by Michael Pangilinan; Dahil Sa ‘Yo by Iñigo Pascual.
I’ll Never Love This Way Again from the Barcelona soundtrack by Jona; Kaibigan Mo by Sarah Geronimo and Yeng Constantino; Di Mo Lang Alam by Altitude 7; Walang Iba by Daniel Padilla; Sila by Sud; Di Ka Man Lang Nag-paalam by Juan Karlos Labajo; Unti Unti by Up Dharma Down; O Pag-ibig by Ylona Garcia and Bailey Mae; Mahika by TJ Monterde; and Cool Down by James Reid.