OTO Shōgatsu


Monday 31 December 2013


8pm - 3.30am



After his hugely successful “Japanica” series at OTO Howard Williams returns to see in the New Year with the launch of his new series “Japan Blues”. Expect a night of dusty old Japanese vinyl from the 30’s to the 70s with live enka from the great Akari Mochizuki and Tsugaru shamisen from Hibiki Ichikawa and Clive Bell making a guest appearance on Shakuhachi.

Ryoko will be serving her famous curry-pan and other Japanese snacks and we will be stocking up on shochu, plum wine and Japanese whisky!

If you fancy spending new year in a run down snack bar in the east of Tokyo sipping shochu whilst someone belts out enka classics but happen to find your self in London this will be the next best thing!

Japanese LP collage


In-house distributor for Honest Jon's Records and founder of Ethbo - a label whose roster include a release by Mike Cooper; Killing Melody, a collection of 70s Japanese gangster soundtracks, and the crazed garage-rockabilly of Dean Carter. He also compiled the retrospective album of Japanese guitar pioneer, Takeshi Terauchi, for Ace Records.  

An avid collector of old Japanese records, he has played at Life Bar, for Julian Opie, at tsunami charity events and, more recently, the monthly Japanica event at Cafe OTO.

Tonight Howard will be focusing on his collection of scratchy old Japanese vinyl, expect anything from folk sounds, jazz from the 30s to the 70s, kayoukyoku (Japanese popular), psychedelia, beat and boogie - all made in Japan.


A regular guest at Howard’s nights at OTO Akari sings classic Japanese Enka, a type of blues or heartbreak ballad, comparable to Portuguese Fado, though its origins lie in nineteenth century protest song. It is the background music one can still hear wandering most towns and cities of Japan, emanating from bars and shops. 

Akari started singing Enka at the age of three.  She started her career as a professional singer in 2009 as Alika Mochida. Since then, she has performed at many events, such as WOMAD 2010, HYPER JAPAN and Japan Matsuri, showcasing traditional Japanese folk music with Tsugaru Shamisen virtuoso, Hibiki Ichikawa.

HIBIKI ICHIKAWA – Live Tsugaru shamisen

Hibiki is the only professional player of Tsugaru shamisen in UK. Since his arrival in Britain, Hibiki has performed at many occasions, including the Japanese Emperor's birthday event at the Japanese Embassy, Japan Matsuri and HYPER JAPAN.