• Film & TV
  • MY HEROES

Anison Star Takayuki Miyauchi Celebrates Birthday on Stage

Takayuki Miyauchi, third from left, poses with his fellow performers during the finale of his birthday concert at Minami-Aoyama Mandala in Tokyo on Feb. 4.

On Feb. 4, I took part in anime song singer Takayuki Miyauchi’s birthday concert, serving as the emcee. He schedules a concert around this time of year every year, and this year’s performance happened to take place exactly on his birthday. Feb. 4 is also the date of the first broadcasts of “Chodenshi Bioman” (1984-1985) and “Tokkei Winspector” (“Special rescue police Winspector”) (1990-1991), for which Miyauchi sang the theme songs. “Bioman” was in fact his solo singing debut.

More than anything else, it must be mentioned that the concert was performed at Minami-Aoyama Mandala in Tokyo, the venue of his birthday concert in 2013. As some of you are aware, he was diagnosed with cerebellar infarction in late 2011, and at one point there were fears he might not be able to live a normal life again, let alone continue as a professional singer. Indeed, he was able to sing only a few songs at his first birthday concert after being discharged from the hospital in early 2012. He later said he barely had any memories of that concert. He likely started singing automatically when he heard the intro to each song, as a sort of reflex.

The following year, his condition was still far from perfect when he held his birthday concert at Minami-Aoyama Mandala. He could still sing only a limited number of songs. Singing ballads, for example, was still too taxing for him. The Q and A session between him and me did not go smoothly either as he required a long time to respond to questions. In spite of all this, he managed to sing more than 30 songs at the concert, with those around him believing that singing was the best and the only viable rehab for him. The way he pushed himself relentlessly through the set was incredible to say the least. The concert would definitely have been the stick in a carrot and stick treatment. I vividly remember how he stood still, looking dazed, right after the concert ended.

Time flies, and 10 years have passed since then. Just like a decade ago, Miyauchi’s latest birthday concert featured fellow anison singers Shinichi Ishihara and Hideaki Takatori, as well as actors Masaru Yamashita, who played the protagonist in “Tokkei Winspector,” and Koichi Nakayama, who starred in “Tokkyu Shirei Solbrain” (“Super rescue Solbrain”).

We were all amazed by Miyauchi’s recovery. He has improved remarkably, especially in the last year and was able to engage in seamless conversation with his fellow performers. He sang a few ballads as well. He sang theme songs and other songs from the “Rescue” series with Yamashita and Nakayama, and the audience was delighted with their performances.

Miyauchi seems to be living the lyrics of the anison he sings. Their theme of persistence encourage not only listeners but also the singer himself, as he has said in the past. I was overwhelmed with emotion at having been able to see concerts imbued with such an ethos over the past 10 years.

Toward the end of the concert, I asked him what his resolution for this year is.

“Whatever else, I want to perfect my singing. I just want to continue singing,” Miyauchi said immediately with firmness and articulation.

It felt as though this 68-year-old embodiment of his own anison lyrics was telling younger people that he can still work hard, even harder than before.