February 5th, 1898 - March 22nd, 1976.
Yoshi-e Fujiwara was, the founder of Fujiwara opera society
("Fujiwara Kageki-Dan" in Japanese). He was born in Shimono-seki, in the
most western side of the main island of Japan, as a son of a Japanese mother and
a British officer (?). Getting the inheritance from his father, he began to
learn singing in either Italy or UK, not in Japan for sure. At first, he was
active as a concert singer in London. He recorded some arias (mainly
Italian repertory), Japanese art songs, including some war songs. It is
reasonable to believe that, as a 'half-blood', it was quite tough for him to gather the funds necessary
for opera performance while coping with some discrimination against him, he
had to behave much more Japanese-like than others, singing songs praising
the Japanese army, Japanese Imperialism etc.etc...
In RA Format
His voice was a lirico-spinto or tenore lirico with an additional power. The voice
itself is somewhat inside rather than forward. His best can be heard in the
records made in US in 1920. To Mr. Tanaka's knowledge, he made no acoustic records. In Mr. Tanaka's opinion, among his best records are: 'Ko-jo no tsuki (The moon above
an old castle)' composed by Rentaro Taki, (the pioneer of the so-called modern
Japanese art song at the turn of the century), some Shimpei Nakayama's art
songs, 'Nambu Ushi-oi uta (A folk song from the in Southern part).' and Carme (di
There is a 3-CD set of his records (not complete) from 'King record.'
Fringe Tenor alert!!
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recording and notes.
I would like to thank Mr. K. Tanaka for the Biographical Information.