There appears to be quite a number of Japanese children's choirs. We have noted both boys' choirs and mixed children's choirs. We have been able to find information on the following choirs, although our information is still quite limited. The various Japanese choirs have quite a variety of uniforms. The choirs appear to mostly dress in European style clothes. I do not know of any choirs performing in traditional Japanese costumes. Choirs in the 1950s and 60s appear to have primarily performed in blazers and short pants. Some choirs have more infgormal uniforms. Some even had berets. The short pants, especially the shorter cut continental styles, and berets suggests that for some reason France figured prominently in influencing boys fashions during this period. Choir costumes in the 1990s appear to include many informal costumes with just short-sleeved shirts. Some choirs perform in blazers with long dress trousers. These uniforms appear to have more of an American flavor about them. HOpefully our Japanese readers will provide more information on the different Japanese choirs.
This is Big Mamnoth boys chorus. This group was established by Fuji TV (Japan's popular commercial boroadccasting station) in 1970's. It used informal, athletically styled uniforms. Many of its performances appear to have been rather professionally choreogrtaphed. The choir dissolved in the 1980's, but I am not sure why.
FM Tokyo is a music radio station in Tokyo. (See "Tokyo FM Boys Choir".)
The Frobel Boys Choirs is located in Tokyo. The boys appear to perform in formal clothes, usually a colored blazer with short pants. One costume shows the boys wearing open necked white shirts, light blue blazers, white short cut short pants, white kneesocks, and black dress shoes worn with black berets. They also have costumes with other color combinations. The Froebel choir appears to give considerable attention to the costume. Note in the available
photographs how all the boys have their kneesocks smartly pulled up. The blazers appear to be a destinctive trademark of the Froebel Choir.
Floebel is a publishing company for chidren, producing educational books. Pink shorts are special costume in this concert.
This is boy choir of Gyosei elementry school in Tokyo . Gyosei is a private school (boy's only) runed by Christianity church. As far as I know, there is no boys (only) chior operated by school in Japan other than it. This choir won NHK (Japan's national broadcast)'s prize many times. The picture is Gosei boys choir which is the same as the school uniform.
The Hiroshima Boys Choir wear natty uniforms of white berets, grey double breasted vests, white shirts and
black ties, grey short pants, white knee socks, and black dress shoes. Older boys who appear to be at least 13 years old wear more mature looking blue blazers with grey long pants. This is
in keeping with the school uniforms worn by many elementary boys. The elementary boys often wear shorts, but switching to long pants when they begin junior high school at about age 13. The city of Hiroshima is well known for its bomb dome marking the dropping of thev atomic bomb. The choir often participates in ceremonies there. This gruop is operated by educational comittee in Hiroshima. The boys have wore this uniform since 1973.
Figure 3.--Mixed choirs like the Little Singers of Takarazuka are usually mostly girls. But a few younger boys often also particiapte. Can you spot the boys?
Japan has many mixed choirs. "The Little Singers of TAKARAZUKA" is one example. The choir was established in 1975, supported by Takarazuka Junior Chamber. The Choir is composed of approximately 50 members from 6 years old to 18 years, who live in Takarazuka city or its outskirts. They usually practice ourselves for three hours every Sunday morning. They hold more than 20 concerts a year which are Annual concert in spring , Farewell concert for elder members, Christmas concert, Chorus festival and so on. We had Three times concert tours for us after Korea in 1988, Taipei in 1993 and the United States and Canada in 1998. The choristers are mostly girls, but there appear to also be a few boys performing.
The Little Singers of Tokyo (LSOT) has the same initials as the The Little Singers of TAKARAZUKA. I don;t think there is any relationship between the two the Tokyo LSOT is an all boy choir. The LSOT was founded by Shinichi Hasegawa in 1951. It was initialled called the Boys choir of Tokyo. Hasegawa wanted to focus on Renaissance choral music written for children's voices and to introduce European choral music to Japan. Father Paul Annuih, a Catholic priest, was teaching Renaissance church music and Gregorian chant in Tokyo. He assisted Hasegawa as advisor and choir conductor. The Choir at first practiced at a elementary school. A private studio for choir was completed at Shin-Okubo in 1954. This same studio is still used today.
This is Nishi-rokugo boys and girls chorus. It was one of the relatively few mixed groups with a substantial number of boys participating. It was informally associated with a school where the choir director taught. This group was one of most famous children's chorus group in Japan, but dissolved on May, 1999 because of the leader's death. The choir wore the same uniform of sleevless sweaters, short pants or skirts, and white short socks, for over 30 years.
Figure 4.--The boys wear their yellow short-sleeved shirts, black shorts, and white kneesocks in this photograph.
One of the most important Tokyo choir is now the Tokyo FM Choir. FM Tokyo is a music radio station in Tokyo. I think the old Victor choir was their predecessor; the one was merged into theother. The FM Choir is a typical example of a chior which is not associated with any school, but rather organized by a compamy, often a media compamy, drawing members from all over a city. The choir served as backup to
the Southern All Stars, for a decade or more, Japan's most popular
mainstream rock band). The FM Chorus appears to currently be the most active Tokyo boys choral group. The group often appears in "T" shirts and other informal costumes, but also has a more formal uniform for special performances.
Figure 5.--The Victor Boys Club Choir peforms in half sleeve shirts with their "V" emblem. Not one would question what choir they belonged to.
One particularly active Tokyo boys choir was the VB Boys Club Choir. This choir looks to be particularly active in the 1980s. It looks to have boys from about 8-12 years of age. Some of its member join Tokyo FM boys chorus. The picture above was worn for 1977 performances. The Victor Boys Club Choir appears to have been one of Tokyo's most active choir groups during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. This group dissolved, however, during the 1980s. I 'm not sure what caused this.
There appear to be a number of Japnese Boys' Choirs. I have not yet, however, succeded in collecting much information about them. Language of course is a big problem when working on Japan. We have also found some images which we believe to be Japanese choral groups, but we can not identify several of them or find information about them. Hopefully our Japanese readers will point out addituinal choirs to us and help us identify the ones that are not familiar to us.
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