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Yosui Inoue

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Hailed as the Bob Dylan of Japan, singer/songwriter Yosui Inoue has spent the better part of three and a half decades touching upon nearly every musical style to hit Japan, with Inoue himself often at the forefront. Prior to a professional career, Inoue got his start in enka singing. Upon hearing the Beatles, however, he learned the guitar and moved toward new Western-influenced styles. After a brief turn under the pseudonym Andre Madore helped to launch his fame in 1969, Inoue returned to his own name and released his first album, Rupture, in 1972 to wide acclaim. At the head of the folk movement in Japan, Inoue found himself the premier exponent of the singer/songwriter style, handily outselling artists in all genres in the nation. His sophomore album, 1973's Ice World, stayed on the Oricon charts for a full two years, returning to the number one slot repeatedly in the earlier months of its release. With such wild success, Inoue formed his own label, For Life, and continued releasing albums each year. Success rarely came at the same level as it did for Ice World, but Inoue's popularity and sales remained high for decades to come (selling over 20 million albums cumulatively), as he explored contemporary style elements as well as additional idols (also taking up the dual guitar and harmonica, helping to cement comparisons to Dylan). Album after album followed, critically culminating with 1982's Lion & Pelican. In the mid-'90s, Inoue took a hiatus from performing and recording (though short-lived) in order to focus on production, collaborating with Tamio Okuda (formerly of Unicorn) to develop the duo Puffy AmiYumi, among other projects. Though Inoue still tours and records new material, compilations have been released in large amounts since 2000, and continue to make waves on the Oricon charts. Released in 2008, Yosui Inoue Box found its way to the Oricon Top Ten, despite being a 20-disc, $400 behemoth.

Top Songs


August 30, 1948 in Fukuoka, Japan

Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s