is a chronicle of all the Japan and solo
TV appearances and videos that I know of between 1978 and 1982, both on
UK and foreign TV. If you know of any that I have missed, or if you
would like to add comments to any section, you can e-mail me
with your contribution. I am sorry but I can not trade or sell
any of these videos.
group perform the song (LP version) with
various visual FX providing multiple images, a bit like a mad ABBA
video. Quite amusing. Released officially on the Japanese
Video Hits DVD.
- Don't Rain On My
Parade promo video clip
Burger had the following to contribute (thanks
1978, Japan got exposure in Australia, via national Top 40 Music TV
show 'Countdown', who pride itself on breaking such acts as Blondie
into the national top ten chart, before any other country in the
world. Thinking that they could do the same for Japan, CD
started a light-hearted debate comparing Barbara Streisand's original
version to Japan's newly released version of "Don't Rain On My Parade",
as well as playing the promo-video. CD's host/producer Ian
"Molly" Meldrum was backing the second at the time.
Meldrum interviewed Bette Midler for CD, during the time Japan's
household status was starting to show signs of promise. When
asked for her opinion about Japan, she expressed humourlessly how she
thought they were all "chicks", when she saw one of their album
covers. It's actually an episode that's worth searching for,
since Japan and the single was the main topic of show. That
episode of CD, has only had a re-run once, in 1994 on Australian Music
television program Rage, which also has played Japan's "Don't Rain On
My Parade" promo clip, a number of times during the 1990's.
As for the success of the single "Don't Rain On My Parade", I believe,
judging from the episode's top 40 rundown, that it might have reached
the top 20. Anyhow, Japan did become flavour of the month in
Australia during 1978, which eventually was to lead towards cult
from this video also appeared on the Chrysalis Music/Channel 4
programmes "Top Ten" and "Rock N Roll Tales" (see later) and it also
appears on the Video Hits DVD.)
- Communist China
promo video clip
is a fairly basic performance video shot in a
studio which is a good example of the colourful, loud and fun early
days of the band. They wear the same outfits as for "Don't Rain On My
Parade". First a Japan logo appears before the group launch into the
song. The camera uses a fisheye lens at times, focusing on David in
such a way as he positively leaps out of the TV towards you as he
lunges to the microphone. Mick and David dominate, but Rob also gets a
good look-in, shaking his head now and then during the good bits. David
stomps around the stage a lot, looking hard, with his low slung guitar
and blonde mane all over the place. Mick's hair swings from side to
side (the way his earring does during Oil On Canvas) and the overall
effect is that the band are a super-charged dynamic ball of energy that
nobody should mess with. The video ends suddenly on the final note with
the Japan logo again. The version of this video that appeard on the
Video Hits DVD omits the Japan logo and just displays a blank screen
where it would be.
- Top Pops - Dutch
clip of Adolescent Sex was broadcast in Japan
on a video request show (BS-2 channel) in 2001. Thanks to Michael
Mitchell for the images.
- Sometimes I Feel
So Low promo video clip
clip of this was shown during the VH1 Japan
October 1978 - TV
appearance - "Disco 78" Germany
quality copies of this performance are in
circulation because the show was syndicated at the dawn of the
satellite TV age. It is a pretty standard Top Of The Pops type show,
brightly coloured set, lots of kids in the audience and early use of
cheesy graphics in the intro. The stage is rather small, so Rob, Mick
and David stand in a row with Rich to one side and Steve somewhere at
the back, practically inside the backdrop. In fact, I think he's
leaning against it. Steve is the star of this clip, not for anything he
actually does, but for the mirth of seeing him in those glasses,
looking like some kind of cross between the first Y.M.O. album cover,
Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music, circa 1972) and an X-Files alien.
March 1979 - "11pm"
mimed performance in a TV studio with the group
wearing the 1979 tour outfits.
March 1979 -
rather shambolic interview (with interruptions
from Japanese translators). There are also brief clips of Steve
drumming solo at a soundcheck and of the group arriving at a venue in
March 1979 - Let's Go
I Feel So Low
performances. Both performances are on the
bootleg CD "European Son". Appears to have been filmed in a very large
theatre (the Budokan?) but for the TV cameras benefit all the venue
lights are on full blast. Lots of shots of screaming girls jumping up
to Michael Mitchell for the info on this and
most of the other Japanese clips.
1979 - Life In Tokyo promo video clip
May 1979 - Dienst
Jeugd/Tienerklanken - Belgian TV
this appearance Japan are wearing the outfits
that appear on the Japanese Life In Tokyo cover and the later Quiet
Life album. It is an interesting appearance because of the way Sylvian
performs. Throughout, he comes across as acting rather happy for a
change, bending double during parts of Automatic Gun, the camera
panning in to reveal that he is trying to cover up the fact that he is
laughing. He also stumbles a few times, while Mick and Rob can be seen
to give each other looks and smile at what he is doing. Even Rich nods
his head rather a lot at one point. This appearance seems to be a
classic example of UK bands doing TV on the continent, enjoying the
hospitality, whooping it up and not caring in the belief that nobody
important (UK or US press, mums and dads or auntie Maisie) will be
watching. Now, thanks to VH1's Beat Club and other such shows, the true
horror of such TV is coming back to haunt them.
to Dirk for some corrections.
March 1980 - Town 5
amusing Japanese interview with the group
March 1980 - Let's Go
Second That Emotion
performances in a large TV studio or concert
venue with lots of screaming fans.
1980 - Quiet Life
promo video clip
was filmed at one of the London Venue dates in
early 1980 and is probably the best known Japan video clip. The
soundtrack is the original UK/German 7" version (with Rob's guitar solo
but fading out before the final chorus). The video begins with a view
of Richards hands at the keyboards before cutting to a shot of the
whole stage, cutting back to Rich then a close zoom to Mick for the
"Boys!" before David comes in. Each time the band sing "Boys!" there is
an exciting zoom in to Rob or Mick, then David, then clips of Rich and
Steve. David looks really cool in this video - the classic "Polaroids"
look with two-tone hair, blue jacket and tie, legs apart and swaying to
the beat. Mick's hair is pink and white, greased back, so he looks
pretty similar to later videos. My favourite parts are Rob's guitar
solo (this is a good video for him) and the part where David goes
"STOP!" and bangs his head forward so his hair gets messed. Then in the
same movement he flicks his hair back and it's perfect again! That's
cool! Released officially on the Video Hits DVD.
1980 - I Second That
Emotion promo video clip
this is a fairly well known clip which
has been released commercially on a number of UK chart video or
nostalgia compilations. It was also shown on Top Of The Pops (BBC TV)
when the remixed version of the song went into the UK Top Ten in 1982.
Japan are shown playing the song in a white and blue studio, with scant
decoration making it appear like some kind of heavenly nightclub. On
the Video Hits DVD.
1980 - Gentlemen
Take Polaroids & Swing promo video clips
appear on the "Instant Pictures" videotape
released in the UK. Polaroids was filmed onstage at a soundcheck and
Swing was shot in a studio, and is fairly shadowy and atmospheric
throughout. Sylvian has immaculate teeth in both of these videos.
December 1980 - "The
Old Grey Whistle Test" BBC TV
first networked UK TV appearance, with a
lengthy but very positive introduction from DJ Annie Nightingale (a
woman of taste who would always play Japan on her show). This
performance was shown twice in the same week and was also repeated in
1983/84, so there are some good quality tapes in circulation. A good
performance. It is interesting that both songs sound different to the
other live and studio versions.
This picture taken from the BBC website. So, they
must still have this one in the archives then!
September 1981 - "Top
Of The Pops" BBC TV
clip has special significance for me as it was
the first time I saw and heard Japan.
October 1981 - Mick
Karn "flanned" on Tiswas. ITV.
trash TV. Mick is trying to look and sound
his best - despite the fact that he had been called in at the last
minute and had not slept. He is sitting amidst a load of kids and Sally
James is trying to interrogate him about his "sculpturing" (without
much response, Mick is not very talkative). Then he gets flanned before
they play the "Quiet Life" video! Interestingly, Mick was appearing as
a favour for someone else who had dropped out at the last minute -
imagine if Sylvian had been flanned?
Sounds - Australia
from Tony: "I have footage of Sylvian and
Jansen being interviewed by Australian TV in what i guess to be around
late '81. David talks about a recent illness which put him in
hospital, the album they are currently working on; "Tin Drum" and their
vague plans to visit Australia. I have a feeling the
interview is filmed at AIR studios."
now seen the footage I can add the following
- Steve and David are promoting the Australian "Gentlemen Take
Polaroids" album. David says he thought of the song title first, then
built the song and album up from there. He says he does not believe in
pop videos as they can limit the imagination of the viewer. Steve says
they are recording "Tin Drum" and hope to finish it "in about a month
and a half", which puts this show at about September 1981. David says
that they had hoped to visit Australia but his illness meant that they
could not (he went into hospital the day after the Hammersmith Odeon
concert on 17th May 81).
from John Hewitt - This show was on Channel 7
- Sounds was a Saturday morning music show hosted by Donny Sutherland.
Aswell as the interview, the video of "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" was
Of China promo
on the "Instant Pictures" video tape.
This clip was voted one of the top 50 all-time best videos by Record
Mirror in 1985.
November 1981 -
"Oxford Road Show" BBC TV
group look very relaxed and all appear to be
enjoying this show. David smiles a lot throughout, perhaps relishing
the chance to shock the audience with the contrast between Quiet Life
and the Tin Drum material. Cantonese Boy is an interesting choice.
Elsewhere on the site you will read an interview where the band state
that Virgin did not want to release Ghosts as a single, so was
Cantonese Boy planned to be the next one at this early stage? If you
have this clip, listen to the drums on Visions Of China - just before
the drum solo the tape cuts out and you can hear Steve pounding away
live, making a very interesting racket that would have done as a remix.
For this performance, David wears a red checked shirt and during
Cantonese Boy puts on his round "Lennon" specs.
edition of the show marked the TV debut of Ade
Edmonson and Rik Mayall, appearing as "20th Century Coyote" (thanks to
- Sylvian on
Warhol's TV show (USA)
- Sylvian VJ's on
from Greg Huerter:
remember the David interview segment being very
quiet with long moments of silence before someone spoke
again. I do recall seeing one of those "I want my
MTV" promos with David saying "Hi I'm David Sylvian from
Japan you are watching MTV with a quick flash to the visions of china
video. As far as I know MTV in the USA only showed visions of
china it was the only Japan video I have ever
seen. I watched MTV almost every day its first year of
operation and saw the video maybe three times the most
significant time being when Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes of duran duran
played it. Nick talked about how Japan was his favorite band
and tin drum was an amazing album. I thought it was great
that he went out of his way to promote Japan in the USA and
it gave them great exposure because there guest VJ spot was
in prime time and the only time I saw visions of china before that was
late at night. I often wonder what would have happened if
Japan had stuck together and tried to conquer America with the backing
of hugely popular duran duran."
March 1982 - "The Old
Grey Whistle Test" BBC TV
Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Rhodes
performance took place when they were
recording Bamboo Music. Ghosts is a new version, unique to this
performance, allegedly re-arranged by Sakamoto. David Rhodes had been
Japan's guitarist for the Visions Of China tour, but by the next tour
had been replaced by Masami Tsuchiya. The band look pretty glum during
this performance, which took place during a pretty dark period in the
group's history. Ghosts is available on the Best Of The Old Grey
Whistle Test DVD.
March 1982 - Mick
Karn and Angie Bowie on "The Old Grey Whistle Test" BBCTV
plays some basslines later heard on his debut
album and Angie reads some of her poetry. It was all improvised and
arranged on the spur of the moment after Japan's appearance the week
before. At the time, Angie had business connections with Japan and
NOMIS, and she particularly began to socialise with Mick. The Sun (with
publicist supreme Connie's help no doubt) even suggested there might be
a romance on the cards.
March 1982 - "Top Of
The Pops" BBC TV
appearance was well staged by whoever
organised it. During suitable parts of the song David's face melts into
a ghostly image and dry ice surrounds everything, making you forget
that the whole of the TOTP hubbub is surrounding them. A lot of you
will remember this well. It's a legendary clip, good enough to work as
1982 - "Top Of The
Pops" BBC TV
this clip things seem very grim indeed.
David looks unwell, pale with unkempt hair, standing apart from the
rest, cocooned in his long coat, holding his arms in a protective way.
He does not look at the camera, just straight ahead, ignoring the
audience, who are a strange bunch dressed up like extras from Fame. I
remember my Dad criticising the music for being too strange and also
Steve's hair, so of course I had to make sure I played it all the time
Sakamoto - Bamboo Music promo video clip
shown outside Japan. Some stills appeared in
the Sons Of Pioneers tour programme, the fanzine "Bamboo" and the
Japanese magazine "Viva Rock".
1982 - Mick Karn as a
contestant on "Pop Quiz" - BBCTV
Karn - Sensitive
& The Sound Of Waves promo video clips
Hazel O Connor and shown on British TV.
Mick made several TV appearances at this time to promote "Titles". If
anyone has any more of these videos I would appreciate some grabs. The
shots above are from the few seconds I have of each (Dave Jensen not
on the Instant Pictures videotape. Only
features Sylvian and Karn.
Mick Karn/Japan feature on Midland ATV News
October 1982 - Old
Grey Whistle Test
Art Of Parties
it's first showing, The Art Of Parties was faded
out during the closing credits, but on the repeat showing (24/10/82)
the full version was shown. Nightporter was also repeated during the
1982/1983 New Years Eve show and during the 1989/1990 New Year show.
Masami goes absolutely mental during "Art Of Parties"!
1982 - French and German TV
group are shown performing "The Art Of Parties"
and "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" live on stage. Details are sketchy, but
this may have been filmed at Le Palace in Paris. Thanks Tony!
1982 - David
Sylvian on "Riverside"
Other Side Of Life
where he talks
about Japan splitting up
The Secrets of Japan (VH1 Germany, 1996)
featuring many video clips and interviews with Sylvian, Karn, Jansen
Top Ten (Channel 4 UK, 13/3/99) &
Rock N Roll Tales
clips of Don't
Rain On My Parade, I Second That Emotion, Visions Of China, Ghosts and
The Shallow Pool by JBK. Further interview segments, and a different
clip from Don't Rain appeared during "The Biz" edition of Rock N Roll