Hako Yamasaki Cover

Hako Yamasaki

山崎 ヤコ, Yamasaki Hako, real name: Hatsuko Yamasaki, born May 18, 1957 is a Japanese woman. Singer-songwriter, folk singer and actress. Born in Hita City, Oita Prefecture


Born to a part-time farmer in Hita City, Oita Prefecture. her birthplace had rice paddies, and her father was a postal worker. The family consisted of grandparents, parents and one older brother. Under the influence of her older brother, who loves music, Yamasaki also started listening to records and playing guitar. her parents moved to Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture first, and Yamasaki lived with her grandmother in Hita City until she graduated from junior high school. As for the reason why her parents moved to Yokohama, Yamasaki said in an interview, "The small restaurant that my mother ran did not go well, so I relied on my brother, who was working part-time as a subway construction worker in Yokohama."
In April 1973, after graduating from junior high school, Yamasaki moved to Yokohama City, where her parents lived, and enrolled in Yokohama Gakuen High School. While attending the same high school, she began competing in music contests, and in November 1974, as a sophomore in high school, she entered the Joynas Folk Competition, where she won. Hoshino was discovered by Yokohama-born music producer Higashio Hoshino , who was involved in the contest, and Hoshino established a music office in his hometown of Yokohama. He joined New Sound in April 1975. Yamasaki was still in high school at the time.
"New Sound" later went through "Soundport" and "Soundship", and in 1989 the name of the office was changed to "IMADOKI". she worked on musical events at the Yokohama Exposition held in the same year. The firm was joined by Kei Ishiguro, who, like Yamasaki, made his debut in the Joynas Folk Competition, and Nae Yuki from Yokohama. The Joynas Folk Competition also featured Machiko Watanabe, who had not yet made her debut.
In May 1975, she signed with the folk label Elec Records. she began recording a selection of songs from among those she had already written nearly 50 songs. On October 1 of the same year, she released her first album "Tobi Bi Ma Su". she made her major debut at the age of 18. On September 26 of the same year, she held her debut concert at the Yokohama City Education and Culture Center.
At the end of 1975, she appeared on the TBS radio music program Pack-in Music, DJed by Yoshio Hayashi. In December of the same year, at the "1st Pack Festival" held at TBS Hall, she performed with Yumi Arai and Seri Ishikawa.
Yamasaki has been ill since before her debut, has long had chronic pancreatitis, and because of the burden on her pancreas, she has a constitution that "makes it impossible to drink alcohol, tobacco, or even coffee" even after adulthood. For this reason, Hoshino, the president of IMADOKI, the music agency to which she had belonged since her debut, said that in order to avoid the burden on the ailing Yamasaki, she did not take the approach of releasing singles one after another and aiming for hits.
Following their debut album, they released their second album, Walking a Tightrope, in 1976, and on July 16, 1976, Elec Records went bankrupt. she moved to Canyon Records (now Pony Canyon) and released her third album, Indigo Poems. From then on, until the 1984 album "Tesen no Hana", it was released by Canyon.
With her folk guitar playing, she sang sorrowfully and earnestly about the feelings of a woman's passions and resentments with a mundane image, and gained an enthusiastic following. There are also lyrics that make use of the Kyushu dialect and works based on traditional songs that have been handed down since ancient times in various places Japan, and there are also many local songs from local Kyushu, Oita, Kanagawa and Yokohama. With a low tone and expressive singing that emanates from a petite and skinny physique of around 150cm, and lyrics that pierce society with dark and sharp love, at the time of her debut, she was called "Miyuki Nakajima's rival".
From April 1979 to March 1980, she was the DJ for the Tuesday second part of Nippon Broadcasting System's "All Night Nippon". She was dubbed the "Madonna of Late-Night Broadcasting".
she also produced film music, and was responsible for her first film score, the theme song "Love Only Your Heart" from the 1979 horror film Hell, and the insert song "Sibling Heart ". The theme song and insert song were released as singles, but "Sibling Heart", which dealt with the incest and heart of brother and sister, was considered a banned song (although the lyrics were not Yamasaki's original, but based on a traditional song transmitted to various parts of the West Japan).
In 1981, she composed the music for Hiroyuki Goki's original film The Gate of Youth, set in a coal mining area in Kyushu, and the theme song "Orie no Song" became a hit. In 1984, she was in charge of the theme song for Ang Hui's Hong Kong film Wangxiang, which is about boat people who were displaced by the Vietnam War. In 1990, she was in charge of the music production for the film "Ambiguous, Ambiguous, Me" starring Nae Yuki, who belonged to the same music agency "IMADOKI".
At the time of the release of the album Fantasy Trip II (1982), each LP had sold 50,000 copies.
However, since the 1980s, the folk boom has passed, and due to the regression of left-wing and student movements, the politically charged protest fork has become obsolete, and against the backdrop of a booming economy, the "four-and-a-half-tatami fork" has come to be called "dumb." In a world where "Nekra Neaka" became a buzzword, Yamasaki's songs were said to be "dark" and record sales began to stagnate. At that time, comedians such as Tamori sometimes used Yamasaki's songs as "dark and scary songs" as a laughing stock.
In 1985, she moved to Polydor (now Universal Music). Released the album "Glowing Dreams". Polydor released four albums until the live album My Happiness, released in November 1986, but before the production of this album, the music office said that they wanted to keep the last stage as a live album, and it was suggested that they would take a hiatus.
After a gap of about three years, she moved to Taurus Records (currently: Universal Music) in 1990 and released two albums including "SA・SU・GA". From around this time, the blues became stronger from the folk tone until then, and the song tone and cover photo also emphasized the urban atmosphere and tried to make a makeover.
The following year, in 1991, she moved to BMG Victor (albums from 1994 onwards were released by Victor). In 1994, she won the 36th Japan Record Awards Album Planning Award for her first cover album "Juhachi (Ohako)", and in 1995 she released her first self-cover album "Jaco's Box".
In 1991, after befriending actress Eri Watanabe, she appeared in a play organized by Watanabe at Theater Company 3○○ and began working as a stage actress.
In 1997, "Washōi Nippon" was broadcast on NHK's Minna no Uta (Minna no Uta).
However, when filming of the 1993 TV drama "Pager Doesn't Ring" (Japan TV) starring Nae Yuki began, Hoshino, the representative of the music agency "IMADOKI" to which Yamasaki belonged from the time of her debut, was involved in a traffic accident. she was seriously injured and hospitalized.This is followed by a bashing of Yuki, and Hoshino becomes emotionally cornered. As a result, IMADOKI went bankrupt in 1998 and Yamasaki became a freelancer. According to Hoshino, Kei Ishiguro had already left the firm between 1986 and 1987, and Yamasaki and Yuki were with him at the time of the bankruptcy.
Yamasaki has spoken in various ways about the bankruptcy of her office, such as "I lived in extreme poverty close to homelessness for a while due to the bankruptcy of my office" and "I worked part-time as a dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant to make a living." "I didn't even know that royalties existed until the office went bankrupt, but the sudden bankruptcy made me do everything by myself, including management and sales activities," and "For 22 years, I did as the office said, but I didn't receive any royalties, and the last time the president gave me a passbook that only contained 1,000 yen" she said. In addition, she said, "I heard my song play by chance on the cable broadcast at my part-time job, and I decided to return to full-fledged singing because I thought I had to sing," and as a result, "I made a full return in 2008 and released a new song 'BEETLE' from Columbia Japan."
her musical activities continued in the meantime, and in 2000 she was in charge of the ending theme for TBS TV Ai's theater "Attohomu", and in conjunction with Shigeru Muroi, she wrote the single " Hope" is released by Toshiba EMI. In 2001, she recorded an unreleased demo tape of her debut at the age of 17, "Flying... 17 years old" and released a two-disc best album, Dear My Songs Yamasaki Hako Best.
Yamasaki had been single for many years, but in 2001 she married guitarist Hiromi Yasuda (from Otaru City, Hokkaido), with whom she had worked for a long time, composing, arranging, and performing. After their marriage, they continued to have good partnerships in both public and private life. she had always been based in Yokohama, but moved to Tokyo.
In 2002, Tokuma Japan released the maxi single "Gentle Song". In July of the same year, she made a singing and voice appearance as Hako Yamasaki herself in a special edition of the TV anime Chibi Maruko-chan (Fuji TV), and became known through anime even to the generation that did not know when she debuted in the 1970s.
In 2005, they celebrated the 30th anniversary of their debut, and from the same year to 2006, they held 30th anniversary concerts nationwide. In 2006, she released her greatest hits album, I want to Sing, and "Tesen Lullaby" was cut as a CD single from the 1984 LP "Tesen no Hana" and released a 30th anniversary album. At the end of the same year, a concert was aired on NHK BS2 "Master of Folk Arts" and attracted new attention, and continued to be active until 2008.
On November 4, 2009, they released their debut 35th anniversary album "Not Released, Table", and in 2010 they celebrated the 35th anniversary of their debut. In 2014, Pony Canyon's early album was released on CD and re-released as a remasteredCD. Since then, she has continued to release songs and perform concerts at live houses around the country, and has been active as a female folk singer and has been involved in a variety of activities such as writing essays. In 2020, they celebrated the 45th anniversary of their debut.
On July 6, 2020, her husband Yasuda passed away from colon cancer.


Singles & EPs


Music Platforms