Kiyotaka Sugiyama (Japanese: 杉山 清貴, Hepburn: Sugiyama Kiyotaka, born July 17, 1959) is a Japanese singer-songwriter known for being the lead vocalist of S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe. Debuting in 1983 with the band, Sugiyama began his solo career in 1986 after the band's disbandment the previous year.[1] As the lead singer of S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe, he was the lead voice on songs such as "Summer Suspicion" and "Futari no Natsu Monogatari", while as a solo artist he has had multiple hit songs including "Sayonara Ocean", "Saigo no Holy Night", and "Mizu no Naka no Answer".[2]

Kiyotaka Sugiyama
杉山 清貴
Born (1959-07-17) July 17, 1959 (age 64)
Isogo-ku, Yokohama, Japan
OriginYokohama, Japan
Instrument(s)Acoustic guitar
Years active
  • 1978–present
Member of
Yuko Yanagisawa
(m. 1985, divorced)
Japanese name
Kanji杉山 清貴
Hiraganaすぎやま きよたか
Katakanaスギヤマ キヨタカ

Sugiyama has currently released a total of 27 albums throughout his solo career, with his debut album Beyond… (1986) reaching 1st place on the Oricon charts, with subsequent albums in the 80s also being in the top ten of the album charts. Sugiyama has been described as one of the artists who shaped city pop's image, utilizing newer synths and his vocals.[3][4]

Early life and education edit

Sugiyama was born on July 17, 1959, in Isogo-ku, Yokohama; his father was a police officer and a shamisen and dance teacher.[5] He started listening to music at an early age after being inspired by western rock music like The Beatles, saving up money in order to buy their albums. His first instrument was an electric guitar, later buying an acoustic guitar after listening to Japanese folk music. He formed a band with his classmates in junior high and started writing songs, performing at a school festival in his third year.[6] After he graduated from high school, he worked at a live house.

Career edit

In 1979, he joined the band Cutie Panchos, which was made of high schoolers who frequented a live house, becoming their lead vocalist.[7] The band participated in the 19th and 20th Yamaha Popular Song Contests held in 1980, winning an award in the 19th Popcon but losing in the 20th Popcon.[8] By 1982, the final lineup of Cutie Panchos was formed, with the band being scouted by Koichi Fujita; the band would debut as S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe with "Summer Suspicion" in 1983.[9] The band lasted two years, breaking up at the peak of their popularity due to discontent from session musicians doing all of the recordings instead of the band members themselves.[10]

After the disbandment of S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe, Sugiyama debut as a solo act in 1986 with the single "Sayonara Ocean" followed by his debut album, Beyond…, which peaked at 1st place on the Oricon Albums Chart.[11] His follow-up single "Saigo no Holy Night", reached 2nd place on the Oricon Singles Chart. While a solo artist at VAP, he befriended fellow singer Momoko Kikuchi, portraying her brother in the 1986 movie Aidoru o Sagase.[12] He released the singles "Mizu no Naka no Answer" and "Shade" in 1987 and "Kaze no Lonely Way" in 1988, all three reaching 1st place on the Oricon Singles Chart making them his only singles to be his number one singles.[13] In 1989, he wrote the song "Last Train" for Carlos Toshiki & Omega Tribe's 1989 album Be Yourself, transferring to Warner Pioneer at the request of Triangle Production alongside Carlos Toshiki & Omega Tribe and later transferring from Triangle Production to Horipro.[14]

On May 30, 1990, Sugiyama was transferred from VAP to Warner Music Japan and released his fifth album Sprinkle, reaching 1st place on the Oricon charts. In 1996, he started annually performing at Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall during tours.[15] In 2000, he was transferred back to VAP and later left Horipro to establish the company Masterwork Co., Ltd, which later became Island Afternoon Co., Ltd. In 2004, he and other members of S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe reunited for the first time for a concert.[16]

In 2013, he released the album I Am Me which featured self covers of S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe and his solo career songs.[17] In 2016, Sugiyama celebrated his 30th anniversary of his solo debut with a concert at Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall and released the album Ocean.[15][18] The next year, he released the album Driving Music.[19] In 2018, Sugiyama and S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe reunited for a national tour for the band's 35th anniversary, with Sugiyama also having a solo tour for his own anniversary of debut.[20] In 2020, Sugiyama released the album Rainbow Planet, his first album in three years, but had to postpone a tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.[21][22] In 2023, the 40th anniversary of his debut with S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe, he released the album Freedom and the compilation album All Time Best which compiled various singles throughout his career.[23]

Artistry edit

Sugiyama was inspired by The Beatles and other western rock music after listening to them at a friend's house as a child, switching his instrument from a shamisen to guitar after being inspired by Beatles member George Harrison and his Fender Stratocaster.[24] He was also interested by Japanese folk rock, including artists Takuro Yoshida and Yōsui Inoue.[25] In high school, he became obsessed with American rock and was in a school band that mimicked the style of Santana. While as part of Cutie Panchos, he and the band were inspired by The Doobie Brothers and mimicked their style. He also was a smoker and drinker in an attempt to get his voice deeper like Otis Redding, quitting both in 2011 in order to help his voice.

Personal life edit

Sugiyama met former singer Yuko Yanagisawa, the sister of comedian Shingo Yanagisawa, in 1980, with the two marrying in 1985 and having a daughter, Maho, the next year. In 1990, the family emigrated to Hawaii, living in Hawaiʻi Kai, obtaining permanent residency in 1992 while Sugiyama travelled to and from Japan and Los Angeles to record.[26][12] During his time in Hawaii, he learned about surfing and began practicing bodyboarding.[27] Sugiyama and Yanagisawa divorced, with Sugiyama returning his permanent residency and moving back to Japan in 2006 while Yanagisawa and Maho stayed in the United States.

Sugiyama is known for his use of sunglasses during performances and for his public image. He first began wearing sunglasses to hide a swollen face due to heavy drinking the night before a performance for S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe.[28] The crowd reacted positively to the style, and he began using sunglasses to the point it where it became his trademark look.[29] During his later career, he began taking off his sunglasses and showing his face without them.[30]

Sugiyama is a fan of anime, his early aspirations as a child was to become a manga artist prior to becoming a musician. He has written multiple songs based on being inspired from anime; he created the song "Boys of Eternity" for the 1988 OVA Shounan Bakusouzoku and 2022 single "Nightmare" was inspired by the anime Call of the Night, writing the song as if it was its theme song.[31][32]

Discography edit

Studio albums edit

List of studio albums with chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Oricon Billboard
  • Released: July 2, 1986
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: LP, CD
1 47
Realtime to Paradise
  • Released: March 21, 1987
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: LP, CD
1 50
Kona Weather
  • Released: December 19, 1987
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: LP, CD
2 51
Here & There
  • Released: May 17, 1989
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: LP, CD
Listen to My Heart
  • Released: November 8, 1989
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
Sprinkle 1
Moonset – Yasashina Narumade 4
Island Afternoon 7
Kanata Kara no Kaze 19
Add Water
  • Released: July 25, 1994
  • Label: WEA Japan
  • Format: CD
Rhythm from the Ocean
  • Released: September 25, 1995
  • Label: WEA Japan
  • Format: CD
Rainbow Shave Ice
  • Released: July 10, 1996
  • Label: WEA Japan
  • Format: CD
Honolulu City Lights
  • Released: June 25, 1997
  • Label: WEA Japan
  • Format: CD
Harvest Story
  • Released: October 25, 1997
  • Label: WEA Japan
  • Format: CD
Ocean Side Company
  • Released: July 21, 2000
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
  • Released: July 21, 2001
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
Heaven's Shore
  • Released: November 21, 2001
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
Aloe Vera 99%
  • Released: July 24, 2002
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
Hula Moon Sessions
  • Released: April 23, 2003
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
Shima Kara no Tegami, Umi Kara no Henji.
  • Released: December 3, 2003
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
Bay Area Kids
  • Released: August 4, 2004
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
The Sunshine Band
  • Released: July 26, 2006
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
Favorite Eternal Numbers – Desperado
  • Released: July 25, 2007
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
  • Released: December 19, 2007
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
Favorite Eternal Numbers II – Asu ni Kakeru Hashi
  • Released: November 5, 2008
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
73 100
  • Released: July 17, 2009
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
49 66
Island Afternoon II Pacific Rim
  • Released: February 10, 2010
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: CD
49 80
Kiyotaka Sugiyama Meets Tetsuji Hayashi Reunited
  • Released: April 6, 2011
  • Label: VAP
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, CD
54 50
I Am Me
  • Released: April 17, 2013
  • Label: King Records
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, CD
25 20
Island Afternoon III Da Kine of Da Buds
  • Released: June 25, 2014
  • Label: King Records
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, CD
60 62
  • Released: July 6, 2016
  • Label: King Records
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, CD
34 30
Driving Music
  • Released: July 19, 2017
  • Label: King Records
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, CD
24 23
My Song My Soul
  • Released: July 19, 2017
  • Label: King Records
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, CD
21 16
Rainbow Planet
  • Released: May 13, 2020
  • Label: King Records
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, CD
10 9
  • Released: May 10, 2023
  • Label: King Records
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, CD
11 9

Singles edit

Single Year Chart positions Album
Oricon Billboard[A]
"Sayonara no Ocean" 1986 4 31[B] Beyond…
"Saigo no Holy Night" 2 Realtime to Paradise
"Mizu no Naka no Answer" 1987 1 Summer Selection
"Shade" 1 Kona Weather
"Kaze no Lonely Way" 1988 1 Non-album single
"Boku no Ude no Nakade" 2 Time Is A Good Time
"Nagisa no Subete/Boys of Eternity" 3 Non-album single
"Purizumu Rain ni Tsutsuma Rete" 1989 12 Here & There
"Kimi ga Koko ni ite Hoshī" 12 Non-album single
"Itsumo Kimi wo Oomoteru" 1990 10 Sprinkle
"Aozora ga Menishimiru" 1991 26 Moonset
"Kaze no Ichi-byō" 19 Non-album single
"Love Is You" 1992 19 Non-album single
"Natsufuku Saigo no hi" 28 Kanata Kara no Kaze
"Livin' In A Paradise" 1993 29 Non-album single
"Boku no Shatsu o Kite Nasai" 1994 89 Add Water
"Eien no Natsunidakarete" 1995 88 Non-album single
"Taiyō wa Shitte iru" 1996 Non-album single
"Saigo no Holy Night (Version 96)" Non-album single
"September Song" 1997 Non-album single
"Loving" 1998 Non-album single
"Owaranai Rēsu" Non-album single
"EXiT" 2001 67 Zampa
"Wishing Your Love" 2002 95 Shima Kara no Tegami, Umi Kara no Henji
"Nami" 2005 75 The Sunshine Band
"Thank You For Christmas/This Is Life" 76 Non-album single
"Gift/Home Town Train" 2006 84 The Sunshine Band
"Glory Love" 2009 56 41 Veteran
"Yumewomita no Sa" 2013 84 96 Non-album single
"Hand Made" 2020 Rainbow Planet
"Nightmare" 2023 Freedom
"Too Good to Be True"
  1. ^ The Japan Hot 100 was established in February 2008.
  2. ^ 2007 rerelease.

Guest appearances and duets edit

List of guest appearances and duets with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other performer(s) Album
"Lovers Luck" 1997 Junko Ohashi Honolulu City Lights
"Kaze no Kioku" 2014 Momoko Kikuchi Ocean
"Seaside Paradise" 2021 Bajune Tobeta Brave New World – Relax World

Songwriting credits edit

Year Artist(s) Album Song Written with
1980 Cutie Panchos Non-album single "Gospel no Yoru" Tatsushi Umegaki
1983 S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe Non-album B-side "Nagisa no Sea-dog" Tsugutoshi Goto, Showichi Yoshida
Aqua City "Paddling To You" Tsugutoshi Goto, Yasushi Akimoto
"Light Morning" Yasushi Akimoto, Ken Shiguma
"Trade Wind" Yasushi Akimoto, Ken Shiguma
1984 Non-album B-side "Ai o Maki Modoshite" Yasushi Akimoto, Ken Shiguma
River's Island "Saturday's Generation" Makoto Matsushita, Toshitsugu Nishihara
"Saigo no Night Flight" Ken Shiguma
Never Ending Summer "Misty Night Cruising" Makoto Matsushita, Chinfa Kan
"Eastern Railroad" Ken Shiguma, Masako Arikawa
"Twilight Bay City" Ken Shiguma, Masako Arikawa
"Stay The Night Forever" Makoto Matsushita, Masako Arikawa
1985 Another Summer "Toi Hitomi" Ken Shiguma, Masako Arikawa
"Mayonaka no Screen Board" Makoto Matsushita, Yasushi Akimoto
First Finale "November Blue" Masanori Sasaji, Masako Arikawa
"Remember The Brightness" Ken Shiguma, Kumiko Aoki
"Kimi wa In The Rain" Masanori Sasaji, Masako Arikawa
1987 Alex To Alex To "I'll Never Forget You" Alan Tsui Yat-Kan, Yuen-Leung Poon
Jackie Lin and Par Avion Non-album single "Romansu no Tobira" Masako Arikawa, Motoki Funayama
Masanori Ikeda Quarterback "All or Nothing" Motoki Funayama, Kumiko Aoki
"Room Ocear View" Hiroshi Shinkawa, Shun Taguchi
"River Side Dilemma" Motoki Funayama, Kumiko Aoki
1988 Natural 22 "Rock'n Roll Band" Motoki Funayama, Shun Taguchi
"Ashita e no Sentaringu" Motoki Funayama, Shun Taguchi
Ra Mu Thanks Giving "One And Only" Keiko Aso
1989 Carlos Toshiki & Omega Tribe Be Yourself "Last Train" Hiroshi Shinkawa, Shun Taguchi
1990 Twin Fizz Non-album single "Omoide tote o Tsunagazu ni" Kaori Nishina
1992 Junichi Kawauchi Non-album single "Kimi no Hitomi-ippai no Natsu" Junichi Kawachi, Atsuo Katayama, John Capek
Reiko Katoh Querido "Hāfumūn wa Kizutsui Teru" Kenjiro Sakitani
"Hikishio Hoteru" Kenjiro Sakitani
"Again" Reiko Katoh, Kenjiro Sakitani
1993 Kakugo o Kimeta hi "Forever" Reiko Katoh, Hiroshi Iimuro, Takeshi Sato
Kazuto Murata Hello Again "Sayonara Jamaca" Kazuhito Murata
1994 Hiromi Go GOrgeous "Summer Again" Rui Serizawa
1998 Jean & Gingers Greatest Hits "Ie o Tobidase Papa" Kazuto Murata
1999 A.M.S&I Kiseki wa Koko ni Aru no sa "We Are Travelin' Band" Kazuhito Murata
2008 The Silver Hawks Surf Coast To Coast "Sentimental Guitar" Jori Venemies
2014 Yosuke Tagawa Toki no Tabibito "Michi wa Tsudzuku" Yosuke Tagawa

Filmography edit

Year Title Role Notes
1986 Aidoru o Sagase Yasuo Fujitani Special appearance
2003 Heart of the Sea Himself Made for the Japan Surfing Federation

References edit

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  2. ^ Mower, Kelly (May 10, 2019). "Omega Tribe is a Japanese act from the 80s that has Changed Faces and Forms a Number of Times". OtaQuest.
  3. ^ Arcand, Rob; Goldner, Sam (January 24, 2019). "The Guide to Getting Into City Pop, Tokyo's Lush 80s Nightlife Soundtrack". Vice. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  4. ^ Kurimoto, Hitoshi (January 30, 2019). "A Guide to City Pop, the Soundtrack for Japan's Bubble-Era Generation". Nippon. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
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  9. ^ "【この人の哲学】「杉山清貴&オメガトライブ」誕生秘話". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). May 29, 2020.
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External links edit