Japanese Boy

Album: Aneka (1981)
Charted: 1
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is a plea by Aneka for her absent lover to return home.
  • This combined a mix of styles, including new wave, disco and Asian.
  • Aneka (real name Mary Sandeman) was a Scottish folk singer who sang in Gaelic with the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. She wore a kimono and Japanese wig and made up Japanese style to perform this, which was her only Top 40 hit. Sandeman found the name "Aneka" by looking through the Edinburgh phone book - the name she found was actually "Anika," but she changed it to avoid upsetting person she took it from.
  • This was a hit on the European continent as well and it was the first #1 in Britain by a British artist for the German company Hansa. It was not a hit in Japan as it was rejected by Hansa's Japanese record label for sounding too Chinese.
  • Sanderman's follow up song "Little Lady" reached only #50 in the UK. She then returned to performing Gaelic music.
  • Bobby Heatlie, former member of the Scottish rock band The Headboys, was also Aneka's arranger. He recalls in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "'Japanese Boy' was a complete accident. I'd been working with Mary on some Scottish folk albums, when she said to me she'd love to have a bash at some pop songs. Now keep in mind that she was almost six feet tall, spoke in a frightfully posh voice and was the respectable wife of a small town GP with two children. I never thought in a million years that she had a chance of making it in the pop world. Anyway, she kept pestering me and I kept forgetting to write something for her, until one day she called me to say that the studio had been booked to record a song that I hadn't written yet. To cut a long story short I wrote the chorus, and I threw the whole thing together by taking bits from other songs that I had written years before. It was recorded as a demo, and was turned down by every major company. Then the German company took it on and it went straight into the charts, and eventually #1 all over the world. There was a massive panic as to what to about her image. Then someone came up with the wig and kimono. A complete transformation." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above

Comments: 3

  • Tipawan from Udonthani, AzI want to have go to continually
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesAnd incidentally, Aneka weas also on the same record label as Japan!!! Personally, I think that statement about sounding "too Chinese" is a load of rubbish!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesI can't understand why this song could possibly have been barred from release in Japan for "sounding too Chinese" - the UK synth-rock band Japan won a fanatical fan-base just by way of their name over in Japan in the late 70s/early 80s, and their first big hit in the country was entitled "Communist China" and had had deliberate leanings toward a "Chinese" sound...
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