Japan losing interest in dancehall - Mighty Crown co-founder points to various issues
Renowned Japanese sound system pioneer, Sami T of Mighty Crown, believes that despite his country's love affair with reggae and dancehall for more than four decades, the recent change in the music has resulted in a loss of interest.
"Many of the artistes and songs that are big in Jamaica are not big in Japan at all ... because as the music changed, we have lost a lot of interest. The links have been broken but it's still alive," he told THE STAR. "We are at the stage where we need to make reggae and dancehall more visible. But it is the responsibility of the artistes to help the market continue forward. As it stands, the market needs to be rebuilt."
The Mighty Crown co-founder and selector expressed dismay at the rates that artistes who may have established themselves on Jamaican soil but do not have a following in Japan, are charging.
"Japan has been a huge supporter of the reggae-dancehall community for decades but the fees which some of these artistes are charging to perform here will only further damage the growth. It is important for the artistes to come to Japan to do their groundwork, tour our country, promote their music better and develop themselves in the market place before charging so much money ... that is what the veterans did to build reggae in Japan in the first place!" Sami T exclaimed.
He further explained that "high pricing and low pull-power is hurting the reggae-dancehall community in Japan". He also argued that another reason the reggae-dancehall industry in Japan is not doing as great as it used to is because many newer sound systems born in the country need mentorship and education on the culture. Although Mighty Crown announced its retirement, mentorship is something the operators are keen on.
"Japan has a lot of talented sound systems, tons of them, but mentorship and exposure is critical in their development. And now, in terms of the growth of the music, we need to regain or earn the attention of the newer consumers of the music. This is important because there are so many other genres of music in Japan that are distracting the youth," Sami T offered.
"Our mission has always been to bring the real authentic Jamaican music and culture to Japan and present it in its rarest form, but we recognised a lot has changed [in the interest]. It is thrilling to know that we made persons proud in the industry and community because it was our ambition to be part of the reggae-dancehall culture and help it to grow. And we did just that as persons embraced us," he continued.