It’s been thirty years since we originally released this retrospective from the Okinawan icon Shoukichi Kina. There’s a lot we could say about the legendary Kina and his influence on popular Japanese music but we’ll let Ry Cooder, who’s featured on most of the songs here, take it away:
“I first met Shoukichi Kina in 1979. David Lindley and I were on tour in Japan, and were getting well worn out. Kina and a translator met up with us in Osaka and we all sat down in the lobby of this giant tourist hotel, which Kina hated. He just sat there, staring straight ahead, saying nothing for an hour.
One year later, a round-trip plane ticket to Hawaii came in the mail, with a note that read: “ALA MOANA HOTEL, COMMERCIAL RECORDING STUDIO, PLEASE. KINA.”
Kina had a habit of throwing himself down onto the floor and kicking his feet when he liked a playback. I remember thinking, this beats “one more for us, guys!” When Kina’s wife, Tomoko, put down the vocal on “Flowers For You Heart,” he lay down and stayed down, making the engineer play it back over and over until he had wrung himself out—a real playback party, Okinawan style. Right about then you know you’re ready to start recording for real, but it never works out that way. You squeeze off one or two, say adios, and go to the house. Then later, maybe four people discover your little contribution, and then someone wants to reissue the album and there you go.” - Ry Cooder, 1993