‘Sukiyaki’ star’s 1963 U.S. tour on DVD

Kyodo

Rare 1963 video footage of singer Kyu Sakamoto, known outside Japan for his U.S. hit song “Sukiyaki,” is to be released on DVD in April.

The rare footage was taken during the singer’s trip to the United States in 1963, when the song, whose Japanese title is “Ue o Muite Aruko” (“Let’s Walk Looking Up”), topped the U.S. charts, sources said Thursday.

After missing for years, the video turned up last fall in the vault of Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc.

TBS will begin selling the two-disc set, titled “1963 Ue o Muite Aruko” from April 24. It will include rare footage, such as a Japanese drama featuring Sakamoto that was previously unavailable in DVD format.

The U.S. footage, which closely follows Sakamoto as he was enthusiastically greeted in Los Angeles, includes backstage scenes of his appearance on the popular variety program “The Steve Allen Show.” It was narrated by the singer after his return to Japan.

Parts of the documentary will be shown in a program featuring singers from the Showa Era to be aired on TBS-affiliated stations March 31.

Sakamoto was born in 1941 and debuted as a singer in 1960. He died at age 43 in 1985, one of the victims of the nation’s worst air disaster, in which a crippled Japan Airlines Corp. Boeing 747 crashed into a mountain in Gunma Prefecture on a flight from Tokyo to Osaka.