Moving to the international rhythm of Jin Akanishi

AMERICAN TOUR — Jin Akanishi returns for his second U.S. tour in 2012 with “Japonicana.” He will perform at The Regency Ballroom, 1290 Sutter St. in San Francisco, Saturday, March 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available through Akanishi’s site, photo courtesy of Johnny & Associates

Jin Akanishi, well known in Japan as a former member of boy band KAT-TUN and as a solo artist, set foot in America in 2010 for the “Yellow Gold 3010 Tour.” He returns this month for a five-city tour across the United States following the success of his singles, “Test Drive” and “Sun Burns Down.”

Akanishi climbed to the top of the Dance category on iTunes for both songs after their releases. He traveled to Los Angeles, Vancouver and Honolulu, and will perform in New York and San Francisco, to promote the release of his first English album, “Japonicana.”

In the “Test Drive” music video, Akanishi plays a leader of a gang of car thieves, and in the “Sun Burns Down” video, he’s a suave diamond thief. But in reality, he just steals women’s hearts — his most recent steal being actress Meisa Kuroki, whom he married last month, shocking both fans and the Japanese pop-industry alike.

Nichi Bei Weekly: With your English album releases, do you come to the U.S. often now?
Jin Akanishi: Yes, I have been in the U.S. a few times. I come here more often since I had to record the album and rehearse for the concert tour.

NBW: Is your main market still in Japan, though?

JA: I know I got a strong base in Japan, but I realized from my travels that I have fans everywhere. That is really cool.

NBW: What’s different about the fans over here compared to those in Japan?

JA: I appreciate all of my fans. I remember from the “Yellow Gold Tour,” the fans here danced more. My fans in Japan dance to my music too, but I think they focus more on the music.

NBW: How is working in the U.S. different from working in Japan?

JA: Main difference is language, but I think the music industry is pretty much the same.

NBW: With San Francisco being your last stop for the “Japonicana” tour, will you spend some time in San Francisco afterward? Was there anything in particular you wanted to see or do here?

JA: I’m not sure. Hopefully, but I doubt we’ll have time. I’m not really familiar with San Francisco, so anything would be great to see.

NBW: Your English sounds really good from various recent interviews. Have you been taking lessons?

JA: Actually, no [laughs]. It’s not perfect, but I’m getting used to it more now. Hopefully, I can get better at it.

NBW: You said you look up to artists like Lil Wayne; do you have any potential future collaborative efforts in the works with him or any other artists?

JA: Maybe, that would be really cool.

NBW: With your singles “Test Drive” and “Sun Burns Down” taking No. 1 on the Dance charts on iTunes, how do you feel about the success?

JA: I’m just thankful to my fans and their support. I do it for them.

NBW: What’s the meaning behind the title “Japonicana?” I understand it’s a mix of Japan, America and Spain, but what influenced you to use those three countries in particular?

JA: I named it “Japonicana” because I want anyone, anywhere to enjoy this album. Since music is international, I want my music to be international too. I don’t want to limit it to one country. It also has the Latin feminine noun “na,” meaning the album is a girl.

NBW: Finally, do you have anything to tell your fans in and around the San Francisco Bay Area?

JA: Hey San Francisco! Thanks for your support. I hope to see you all there at the Regency Ballroom on March 17th!

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