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James Catchpole

James Catchpole is a Brooklyn, New York native, 15-year resident of Tokyo. Runs the website www.tokyojazzsite.com documenting the hidden jazz scene in Tokyo. Writes for The Japan Times and GaijinPot website.

For James Catchpole's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Delving deep into the Kanto jazz bar scene

Music Feb 26, 2019

Delving deep into the Kanto jazz bar scene

The tourist boom in Japan shows no sign of ending, with the number of visitors only set to increase in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Whether for bulk shopping, temple visiting or sushi-counter hopping, Tokyo and surrounding neighborhoods have endless ...

Farewell Mary Jane: Grieving for a lost jazz hideout

Music | Sound Off Nov 29, 2018

Farewell Mary Jane: Grieving for a lost jazz hideout

The late Donald Richie, a legendary chronicler of 20th century Japan, once said that to accept life in Tokyo, you must embrace constant change and not give in to nostalgia. In the 60 years he lived in this great city he saw multiple transformations ...

Sukiyaki Meets the World ... and the world gets to meet Toyama

Music Aug 21, 2014

Sukiyaki Meets the World ... and the world gets to meet Toyama

In June of 1963, Kyu Sakamoto's "Ue wo Muite Aruko" — better known as "Sukiyaki" overseas — became Japan's first, and only, No. 1 hit single in the United States. Fifty years later, the song is still cherished at home (anyone using Tomobe Station in ...

Yume-Goto shows how Kagawa rocks (literally) on stage

Music Nov 15, 2012

Yume-Goto shows how Kagawa rocks (literally) on stage

Growing up in a village in Kagawa Prefecture on the island of Shikoku, Masashi Tomikawa never thought twice about the geology of his surroundings. The volcanic rocks that surrounded him, however, are now part of the drummer's arsenal of sound. "In my village the rocks ...

Tokyo Jazz Festival grabs Ornette Coleman for headlining spot

Music Aug 31, 2012

Tokyo Jazz Festival grabs Ornette Coleman for headlining spot

Note: A week after the publication of this article, Tokyo Jazz Festival organizers announced Ornette Coleman will not come to Japan due to poor health. Jazz fans in Tokyo are already a lucky bunch, but when the Tokyo Jazz Festival (TJF) announced Ornette Coleman ...

Wi-Fi, Facebook and all that jazz

Music May 24, 2012

Wi-Fi, Facebook and all that jazz

Fumito Fukuchi, owner and proprietor of Kissa Sakaiki jazz cafe in Tokyo's central Yotsuya neighborhood, grins as he puts the finishing touches to an online schedule. Up this month are some live performances, but also on the menu are calligraphy lessons, photography exhibitions, record-listening parties ...

When it comes to technique, Ozone says, 'Go West'

Music Jan 12, 2012

When it comes to technique, Ozone says, 'Go West'

In 1956, pianist and band leader Toshiko Akiyoshi made the brave decision to leave Japan and enter the Berklee College of Music in Boston. As a young Asian woman embarking on a career in jazz, she was a novelty back then. She persevered and ...

Tokyo Jazz Festival plays to a plethora of tastes

Music Aug 26, 2011

Tokyo Jazz Festival plays to a plethora of tastes

Jazz is always progressing. When the first jazz cafes began appearing in Yokohama around 100 years ago, nobody could have imagined the world they'd be a part of. Bebop and blues, tap dancers and turntables — the essential ingredients of the genre have evolved, ...