Imawano fans bid farewell to ‘Japan’s King of Rock’

Kyodo News

Hundreds of fans of late rock singer Kiyoshiro Imawano gathered at his funeral Saturday in Tokyo to pay their respects to “Japan’s King of Rock,” who died of a lymphatic disease May 2 at age 58.

Fans began gathering early in the morning outside Aoyama Sogisho funeral hall in Minato Ward, Tokyo, and had formed a line long enough to surround it by 10 a.m., two hours before the service.

Imawano was the leader of the band RC Succession, which debuted in 1970. He wore extensive makeup on stage and was known for his rough style of delivery, even for simple lyrics.

The band’s big hits include “Ameagari no Yozora ni” (“To the Night Sky After the Rain”).

After the band stopped performing in 1991, Imawano explored other genres by collaborating with jazz and even “enka” (ballad) musicians.

“Without Kiyoshiro, I wouldn’t have been what I am today — everything from my lifestyle to the way I look at things,” said Hiroya Yamamoto, a 38-year-old office worker who considers himself a hardcore Imawano fan. “Regardless of his death, his music will stay with me.”

Many waiting in line were carrying bouquets with messages. One said: “Thank you for giving me a dream.”

A number of celebrities attended the funeral as well.

Fans were also seen gathering at a private funeral service for his relatives on Monday.