Over 10,000 fans turn out for Hideki Saijo funeral in Tokyo

JIJI

The funeral Saturday for pop star icon Hideki Saijo drew more than 10,000 fans as fellow singers Hiromi Go and Goro Noguchi, who with Saijo were collectively dubbed the Shin Gosanke (New Big Three), paid tribute with speeches at a solemn ceremony in Tokyo’s Aoyama district.

“Remembering you, I can’t stop crying,” Noguchi, 62, said in his speech. “You were special.”

“Neither I nor Hiromi can replace you, but we’ll keep singing on your behalf,” he said to Saijo’s portrait. “Thank you.”

“Hideki’s songs and smile will remain deep in people’s memories,” said Go, also 62.

Saijo, whose “Young Man,” the Japanese cover of U.S. disco group Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” became a mega-hit in 1979, died of acute heart failure on May 16. He was 63.

Saijo’s other friends, including singer Saori Yuki, comedian Korokke and former idol Hidemi Ishikawa also came to say goodbye to the musician.

As the hearse with Saijo’s coffin departed the Aoyama Funeral Hall in Minato Ward, the crowd joined in as one of his songs began to play in a final tribute.