First to explain just how much I'm endeared to this artist, I can always remember when I first bought a region free DVD player by looking at the release date for Ozaki Yutaka's last concert appearance (released in the Summer of 2000!) which occurred on October 30th, 1991. When I found out that this concert was being released in entirety for the first time I excited beyond belief only to find out that it was only being released on DVD and not on VHS. Prior to this all of my J-Pop video releases had been on VHS since that was the dominate format for music releases in Japan at the time and secondly I had no idea a DVD player could be hacked to play any region. Ozaki Yutaka's DVD "The Day Last Appearance Yutaka Ozaki Artery & Vein Film Part II at Yoyogi Olympic Pool on October 30th, 1991 Complete Version" was released on July 5th, 2000….amusing to think of how little I was when this concert took place! This is the first Japanese music DVD that I purchased and the reason that I bought a region free DVD player in the first place after finding out that you could get them online. Of course now days you can hack just about any DVD player yourself by using codes or a burnt disc.
Going further back to how I first experience his music it came in the most unlikely way. It occurred in 2 instances and the second one really did it. While going to night school my sensei had let me borrow Ozaki's debut album "Juunanasai no chizu", often called by it's English title "Seventeen's Map." While I listened to it a few times it didn't catch on with me at that time…something that to this day I don't understand. In fact I forgot about it completely after returning it. It wasn't until my friend zdorama lent me the drama "kono yo no hate" ("End of this World") that Ozaki made his everlasting impact on me. zdorama was already a big fan of this drama's theme song "Oh My Little Girl" which brings me to the Gotou Maki clip which is at the beginning of this post. By the way "Kono yo no hate" is an incredible drama and one of the most heartwrenching that I've ever seen. To quote Uzagaku…"they don't make them like this anymore." "Oh My Little" girl is one of those songs that are widely known even if some of those who are familiar with it aren't familiar with the singer or any of his other music. I however needed to hear more. So I ordered his debut album "Juunanasai no chizu" and when it arrived and I saw the cover I had one of those…"you gotta be kidding me…" moments. I couldn't believe that this very song "Oh My Little Girl" was actually on this album which my sensei had loaned me quite a long time ago only to have it leave no impression on me at the time. It's one of those if I knew then what I know now kind of thoughts. So here fate was giving me a second chance to experience the incredible music of Ozaki Yutaka and this time I would make no mistakes. Upon listening to this album again for what would be the third time I was absolutely addicted to it! I began learning the words to his songs and practicing them in the shower…lol just kidding I sing horribly! But that's about the only place that you'll catch me singing these days (sigh…) 😛 I then ordered his entire album discography which includes 7 original albums, 2 live albums, and many collections and rarity releases that would follow. Sony Music has also been making sure that his legacy will live on by releasing new material, remastered albums, poetry reading, alternate versions of songs, and collections for what it seems like every year. Amazing when you consider that Ozaki Yutaka sadly passed away at the very young age of 26 of heart failure. Speculation of the cause of his heart failure range from possible overdose to alcohol poisoning. Ozaki Yutaka wrote all of his own music & lyrics and it's a tragedy that he was taken away so early in his life as he had so much more music & love to pass onto his legion of fans. Gone but never forgotten, Ozaki's fans continue to celebrate his music today and into the future and hopefully younger generations will discover his incredible song writing talents, lyrics which are easily related to with their touching realism and emotions, and the charisma of this iconic artist. While many have covered Ozaki's songs over the years there's simply nothing like the original versions.
Here's Ozaki's final live performance of his beautiful ballad "I Love You." And below is Utada Hikaru's version of the same song.
Ozaki Yutaka was born on November 29th, 1965 and made his music debut with his single "15 no yoru" in 1983. Along with his 7 original albums he also released 13 singles within this 9 year period. He passed away on April 25th, 1992.
Here is my Ozaki Yutaka album & single collection which includes 15 albums (including special releases & collections that were released after his passing) and 2 singles. The single at the bottom ("Core") I found at a used record store and its b-side "Twilight Wind" is one of my top 10 favorite Ozaki songs and it's not included on any album. The single looks very worn but it's one of my most treasured singles in my entire J-Pop collection.
On October 27th, 2004 Sony Records released a 13th memorial box set.
This box set includes 3 hybrid high definition CDs of his first 3 albums: "Juunanasai no chizu", Kaikisen", and "Kowareta tobira kara", bonus DVD with backstage footage from his January 12th, 1985 appearance at Nippon Seinenkan, and a 68 page full color booklet.
I've also collected 9 of his DVD releases which includes recently released live performances from 1984, 1985, & 1987. His "Live Core" tour appearance in Tokyo Dome, his complete final concert apprearance, interview footage, PVs, lots documentary footage, backstage footage, recording studio footage, and lots of various live performances from different times in his career.
I was also able to find 2 of his shashinshuu's at a used book store. The shashinshuu on the left is incredible as it's actually 2 shashinshuu's, one hard cover and the other soft cover which are both housed in a nice slip case.
Here are the 2 shashinshuu's out of their slip case. The photos in here span his entire music career from debut to the last known picture taken of Ozaki Yutaka in the Winter of 1992.
In closing I hope you will find Ozaki's music embraceable and take something away with you after reading this post. Every country has their iconic figures and for Japan while there may be equals there is no musical icon larger than Ozaki Yutaka. His heartfelt music and lyrics will live on as new generations discover his music and the man that wrote songs which created an entire youth movement. We miss you Ozaki Yutaka…thank you for leaving us with such passionate music. Ozaki Yutaka wrote all of his own music and lyrics. 🙂
Here are just some of my favorite Ozaki Yutaka songs in no particular order and I'd recommend listening to any of these: (note that the majority of his songs have both English & Japanese titles, I've listed them in English as that's how they're listed on the backs of his CDs) "Twilight Wind", To All That I Hurt","I Love You", "Rossana"( you must hear this song! It's so beautiful!) , "Eternal Heart" (this song is superb and his vocals are amazing, okay I'd better stop or I will have little comments after every song here lol) , "Marriage", "Shelly", "My Song", "Forget-Me-Not", "Oh My Little Girl", "Dance Hall", "Graduation", "Alternative", "Seventeen's Map", "In Your Heart", "The Night", "Rules on the Street", "Bond", "Birth", "Taiyou no hahen", "Scenes of Town", and "Mama, Say Good-bye."
I'll end with "Sotsugyou." One of Ozaki's best.
Edit: I forgot to see if the live performance of "Oh My Little Girl" is uploaded somewhere. And here it is. It's was performed early in his career. Enjoy!