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Hiroaki Yokoyama the Japanese pop musician who came searching for Pena

James Khangenbam *

Hiroaki Yokoyama the Japanese pop musician who came searching for Pena
Hiroaki Yokoyama the Japanese pop musician who came searching for Pena



" I was introduced to Pena Music by my Japanese friend Akiko Kitamuna who visited Manipur. I looked up at the you tube and listen to the musical instrument in one of Mangka's performance. I wrote to Oja Mangangsana through e mail and visited Manipur in December 2015, that was the first time I get to listen Pena sitting next to the performer. In my next visit during July 2016, I worked hard and learnt to play Pena", said Hiroaki Yokoyama - a renown piano player of Japanese pop music who did the sound design in the opening and closing of the much acclaimed cartoon serial Pokemon.

"The progressive sound of the sharik (metallic bells) along the bow called Cheijing , the finger movements on the mono string for different notes and the synchronizing unique vocal of the Pena player is what attracts me most", expressed an ever enthusiastic Yokoyama.

While he stayed in Imphal, he spends two hours daily in self practice from the things he learnt from his teachers. He also ordered a Pena before he reached Imphal for his Pena classes. Hirioki was taught by Oja Mangi, Oja Mangangsana and Mangka.

Hiroaki Yokoyama the Japanese pop musician who came searching for Pena
Hiroaki Yokoyama the Japanese pop musician who came searching for Pena



"He has immense interest in playing Pena and whatever I taught him he came learning it the next day", said Mangka in an interaction.

Yokoyama was taken to Phayeng and introduced to the village chief (Khulakpa) who delivered on Chakpa Lai Haraoba. He was also exposed to the lady folk singers of Phayeng who sang for his knowledge.

A professional sound designer and musician from Japan visiting the State for exploring the musical talent of the State are commendable. Yokoyama now owns a Pena and back home the musical instrument is expected to catch the attention of the musicians in Japan. Yokoyama's fellow artists and audience will also have the chance to listen to the melodious sound from Yokoyama as he has learnt to play for a complete understanding of the musical instrument.

On a finding note, Hiroaki Yokoyama also opined that the Pena folk music has a similar scale with the Japanese folk music but differ in length. He also said that in Japan they have 3 minutes to 5 minutes folk songs while Pena recital can go even up to three months according to the length of the story.

He also informed that there is a musical instrument in Okinawa Japan which produce a slightly similar sound with Pena and is called 'San Shin. 'San Shin has three strings and almost looks like a guitar in built.

Hiroaki Yokoyama the Japanese pop musician who came searching for Pena
Hiroaki Yokoyama the Japanese pop musician who came searching for Pena



Hiroaki Yokoyama started playing Piano since 5 years of age. Some 3 years back he travelled to Brazil to study a musical instrument 'Choro which has a size like that of Mandarin. He stayed for six days in Manipur and learnt few lines of the Pena recital 'Thang Thang Thangnaro Thangaro. He is presently working with Oja Mangangsana and sound designer Sunil Loitongbam for his Japanese pop music fusion with Pena music.

Much to the interest of authentic folklore and the native music Manipur has in store, Yokoyama is expected to visit next year to learn more of the varied musical instruments belonging to various ethnic groups in the State.

Pena performance in Japan took place for the first time in the year 1986 by Oja Thoiba who gave away his Pena instrument to the organizers in Japan after his performance.

Then in 2006, Oja Mangangsana performed at Japan and it is 2016 Hiroaki Yokoyama came to Manipur, learnt to play Pena in two visits during 2015 /16. The coming of Hiroaki in the Pena scene is expected to be a versatile approach as he is trying to compose new music for introduction in Japanese Pop music which has youthful audience.






* James Khangenbam wrote this article for e-pao.net
This article was webcasted on August 04, 2016.



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