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Japanese Progressive Rock presented by DamoX

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2019 at 01:32
MOTOR HUMMING with Masaharu NAKAKITA (left, bass, ex-Djamra)

Hello, sorry for my long hibernation but let me recommend another Japanese music flexibility MOTOR HUMMING.
They've changing their lineup again and again, and currently there are only two; Shimpei HIOKI (guitar) and Setsuko HIOKI (drums, percussion).
At a Japanese venue Namba Bears in Dec. 2019, they gigged dramatically in collaboration with a bassist (their and my good friend) Masaharu NAKAKITA (ex-Djamra).

Masaharu NAKAKITA (bass)

Musical Aluminum (1999) - MOTOR HUMMING
Quote Found another fantastic musical gem released 20 years before. MOTOR HUMMING have been founded as an experimental rock combo in Osaka, Japan in late 1990s. This debut (and currently only one) album "Musical Aluminum" was launched in 1999 via John Zohn's private label named Tzadik Records. The frontman / guitarist Shimpei HIOKI says he had a telephone call from John (no sns nor internet needless to say) for releasing their creation 'without any notice' in those days. The time goes upon. Their lineup has changed again and again, and now there are Shimpei and his wife Setsuko HIOKI (drums, percussion). I've attended their gig at an Osakan venue Namba Bears upon December 22, 2019, where they played faithfully their original material created over 20 years before, in collaboration with their mate Masaharu NAKAKITA (bass, ex-DJAMRA ... mysteriously Masaharu's unit DJAMRA have been in the same vein of MOTOR HUMMING around the same while). They upon stage told us the audience that their sound should not be listened to carefully nor sincerely but enjoyably and ecstatically, just like many other Osaka-based projects. "Musical Aluminum" was filled with such an atmospheric grandeur.

Basically their sound material features guitar, bass, and drums ... quite a simple formation. Based upon complicated, polyrhythmic rhythm section, Shimpei's guitar play has plenty of appearances. Could not digest 'music of aluminum' according to his words before the gig indeed, but makes sense after their performance. Aluminum is easy to process, and phantasmagoric. Their soundgarden should be felt like aluminum. Some unique, playful moments are here and there, while launching heavy complex earachy melodic rhythmic punches. The audience would get immersed in funky, crazy, repetitive phrases via their instruments ... "Holiday Accidents" is such an Osakan joke. Trust me, they only provide short music comfort, like a colourful short movie. Not innovative enough nor so-called progressive but exaggerated and pleasant. You can enjoy their musical essence flooded with delight and Osakan humour. Oh guess John (Zohn) should have been absorbed with their madness. :)



Thank you for reading this blog.


Edited by DamoXt7942 - December 27 2019 at 01:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tribalfusions Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 07 2020 at 12:05
Hi there...I am not sure if this is the right place to ask this but I was curious, which Japanese prog bands play to the biggest crowds and enjoy the most popularity in terms of live shows in Japan today?

Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2020 at 01:28
And Motor Humming added in Progarchives! Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tribalfusions Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2020 at 10:21
Originally posted by DamoXt7942 DamoXt7942 wrote:

And Motor Humming added in Progarchives! Big smile


Hi Damo...I am not sure if this is the right place to ask this but I was curious, which Japanese prog bands play to the biggest crowds and enjoy the most popularity in terms of live shows in Japan today?

Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2020 at 02:31
Yuji Muto & Mako Kimata

Hello guys, and sorry for my loooong hibernation again. Whilst battling against coronavirus, I've got a new album created by Yuji Muto (guitars, ex-Next Order, Plastic Dogs, Ryorchestra). This stuff is an improvisational jazz / heavy rock one so probably cannot be fit for PA. Nonetheless let me recommend here, please.
Quote A 'live' duo Yuji MUTO & Mako KIMATA were formed in 2019 as Yuji's second improvisational project. Mako is already renowned as a metallic drummer playing double-bass drums, and Yuji is well-known as a guitarist of Next Order, Ryorchestra, or Plastic Dogs. In September 2019 they recorded material at Jazz Club Intersat (Nagoya, Japan) for their first 'live' album titled "Fission", that was released upon May 5, 2020 via Bomba Records. Sadly they cannot gig with their debut creation owing to coronavirus pandemic in Japan, but it will take them little time to perform on stage again.
Fission (2020) ... Lineup: Yuji Muto / guitars, Mako Kimata / drums, percussion
Originally posted by dAmOxT7942 dAmOxT7942 wrote:

"Fission" was released in May 2020 as the second shot of Yuji's improvisation series, in collaboration with a female metalcore drummer Mako KIMATA. Each of them has already been renowned as a session musician in other metal / jazz / avantgarde units as you know, and you have definitely been looking forward to such a instrumental battle between the two talented artists. Wondering where two eccentric originality would go ... if they could be united or not. An everlasting amazement will end up with this brilliant stuff.

The first track "Killer Hornet" kicks you away from the real world, along with Yuji's deep, heavy, explosive but sincere, polite guitar play and Mako's eccentric, complicated, strict drumming. An improvised magnificence is perfectly concordant with another play. Let me say at first, this superb session was live upon stage, actually. "Killer Hornet 2" gets more impressive and innovative. The middle part full of melodic cores and dramatic drumming is kinda killer. You can easily suppose such a powerful, complex stuff could not be played at one stretch without breathing.

On the contrary, the second one "Fission Improvisation" gets started with Yuji's quiet, gentle, but eccentric guitar phrases. Sounds like his guitar might give a speak to the audience in front of him, and Mako's drumming be supportive of Yuji's attempt to be a poet, especially the former part of this track. However, the latter stage is crazy ectopic and dissected. Their excessive play reminds you slightly of Behold ... The Arctopus, in spite of the fact they are only two.

In "A World Inside A Dew Drop" Mako's percussion play fills your brain with percussive dew drops. A gorgeous, beautiful tune really ... happy to imagine the audience listened to this one with tremendous emotion. The last "20-6", that I don't know the real meaning of, is quite relaxing. Apparent is such an expression the two instrumental atmosphere got merged and crystallized completely. You can feel aftereffects of comfort, after being knocked out by their bombastic plays.

An evaluation for improvisational creations should owe a lot to how technical and completely harmonized. In this sense, their works are great indeed. On the other hand, quite difficult to find and get to so-called sound innovation via such material. All the same, this album is fantastic.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2020 at 07:56
Don't know how I've missed this blog, but I am JUST NOW discovering it! I'm VERY excited (though 50 pages is a lot to review.) 

I'm also very curious to find out which Japanese prog bands draw the biggest crowds and/or album sales.
Drew Fisher
https://progisaliveandwell.blogspot.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote verslibre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2020 at 17:51
Originally posted by DamoXt7942 DamoXt7942 wrote:

Hello guys, and sorry for my loooong hibernation again. Whilst battling against coronavirus, I've got a new album created by Yuji Muto (guitars, ex-Next Order, Plastic Dogs, Ryorchestra). This stuff is an improvisational jazz / heavy rock one so probably cannot be fit for PA. Nonetheless let me recommend here, please.[QUOTE]A 'live' duo Yuji MUTO & Mako KIMATA were formed in 2019 as Yuji's second improvisational project. Mako is already renowned as a metallic drummer playing double-bass drums, and Yuji is well-known as a guitarist of Next Order, Ryorchestra, or Plastic Dogs. In September 2019 they recorded material at Jazz Club Intersat (Nagoya, Japan) for their first 'live' album titled "Fission", that was released upon May 5, 2020 via Bomba Records. Sadly they cannot gig with their debut creation owing to coronavirus pandemic in Japan, but it will take them little time to perform on stage again.

Sorry to hear that, Damo! I hope you're better! I always check out your blog for new stuff. Fission sounds cool. I'll listen to their music after work tonight.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2020 at 21:09
Originally posted by BrufordFreak BrufordFreak wrote:

Don't know how I've missed this blog, but I am JUST NOW discovering it! I'm VERY excited (though 50 pages is a lot to review.) 

I'm also very curious to find out which Japanese prog bands draw the biggest crowds and/or album sales.
Thanks Drew! Your knowledge of prog all over the world is excellent really. Clap
Do hope you can dig more and more Japanese progressive rock scene, even if majority or minority. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2020 at 21:13
Originally posted by verslibre verslibre wrote:

Sorry to hear that, Damo! I hope you're better! I always check out your blog for new stuff. Fission sounds cool. I'll listen to their music after work tonight.

Thanks verslibre, I'm really fine now (but simultaneously afraid when and how I be invaded by such horrible microparticles).
Yuji and Mako cannot make any gig owing to the pandemic but great material they've launched. Star


Edited by DamoXt7942 - May 05 2020 at 21:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2020 at 21:30
KYOKO (voices) of HARPY

Hello, let me post about another fantastic Japanese avantgarde-pop outfit HARPY (not in Progarchives Library yet). This unit have been recommended by my prog mate Mira a while before. Thanks Mira!
Originally posted by Harpy's bio Harpy's bio wrote:

A Japanese (Tokyo-based) uniti HARPY were founded by a drummer / multi-instrumentalist ITOKEN aka Kenji ITO and a female vocalist KYOKO (ex-OOIOO) in late 1990s. They released two official albums "Do Not Eat" (1997) and "Speech On The Radio" (1999) via a French independent label Stupeur & Trompette! whilst gigging mainly around Tokyo (Koenji etc.). They've been hibernated since early 2000s because of KYOKO's illness, and will never come back upon stage owing to her death in 2015. In 2020 her common-law husband ITOKEN has compiled HARPY's live in 1997 as "MIMI festival 1997" released via his Bandcamp.
Speech On The Radio (1999)
Originally posted by dAmOxT7942 dAmOxT7942 wrote:

Impressive / suggestive pop arts seasoned with bombastic weirdness. It's mentioned that a Japanese (almost Tokyo-based) underground avantgarde pop quartet HARPY, active just upon the boundary between 20th and 21st centuries, impressed the audience with mysterious rhythmic basis and mystic, eccentric melody lines. Their sound components would be created by the two front members - the drummer / multi-instrumentalist ITOKEN and the vocalist KYOKO - and such a surrealism around their soundscape could be developed extremely because they were under the same roof, I guess. KYOKO had played in OOIOO for a short while and you can find the reason why she left the female combo via differences of sound texture.

Every single track in this album (also in other opuses) is quite short (no longer than 4 minutes) and they stuffed much essence into a 1 or 2 minute song. As you understand through the creation, KYOKO's high-tone, immature, and especially addictive voices are tempting and outstanding everywhere. Their melody lines are not complicated nor elaborated but simple and repetitive ... forgive me but I think they produced every single stuff improvisationally and momentarily. But let me say this improvisational creativity and intensive natural beauty via their inner mind should have formed another dimension of musical dynamics (with lots of instruments utilized). You can feel full of pleasure and vivacity in this album compiled with plenty of their impulses and native ideas beneath the inner world. This creation is "not my glass of wine" indeed but should get appreciated enough more.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 15 2020 at 20:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mirakaze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2020 at 14:24
Originally posted by DamoXt7942 DamoXt7942 wrote:

This unit have been recommended by my prog mate Mira a while before. Thanks Mira!


No problem, and I apologize for leaving most of the research into their biography up to you. I certainly tried my best...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2020 at 17:18
^ Only Japanese bio available, not enough info in English as you say. No worries. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 27 2020 at 04:15
Hi Japanese progressive rock fans!
I'm glad to recommend another fantastic Japanese unit Kiku Latte (formerly known as Cichla Temensis).

Kiku Latte (Cichla Temensis)
Quote A Japanese rock unit CICHLA TEMENSIS were founded as an art rock trio featuring flute in 2006 by Takumi KOKUBU (bass), Masahiko NOGUCHI (drums), and Haruna FUKAZAWA (flute). Their first album "Another Triangle" was released in 2008 and second "Affine Space" in the following year. Their stage in Trieste Summer Rock Festival (2010) was much appreciated but sadly they went into hibernation in a sudden manner in 2012. In 2016 Takumi invited Kazumi SUZUKI (flute, ex-NAIKAKU) and Hiroyuki KATO (guitars) and revived CICHLA TEMENSIS finally. Their third album "Fantasia" was out in 2019 under the formation as follows: Kazumi SUZUKI (flute), Yusuke AKIYAMA (keyboard), Shingo YOSHIDA (drums), Hiroyuki KATO (guitar), and Takumi KOKUBU (bass). In 2020 they changed their moniker to KIKU LATTE.
Fantasia (2019)
Originally posted by dAmOxT7942's review dAmOxT7942's review wrote:

In any case, Japanese pop / rock fans love art rock. Likewise in the Japanese progressive rock scene. Some Japanese 'so-called-progressive-rock' projects run towards kinda artistic style, along with superficially complicated rhythm and melody lines, and eventually end up with unoriginal collectives. Sorry I do not know the reason KIKU LATTE (formerly known as CICHLA TEMENSIS) have experienced 4-year hibernation from 2012 until 2016, but surely they've revived due to admission of Kazumi (flute, ex-Naikaku), Hiroyuki (guitars), and Shingo (drums) ... and finally last year their third album titled "Fantasia" was released. Guess they would have squeezed all of their musical / artistic pleasure into this 22-minute creation. It's good you can find their pleasure itself easily via this opus full of acceptable phrases and reasonable movements. Yes, they keep the flautist Kazumi upon the front line like other combos featuring flute, but such delightful atmosphere should never exist without a decent, consistent rhythm section.

The first shot "Sorairo No Geranium (Sky-Blue Geranium)" has superbly cheerful disposition. Sounds like all of them be frank, positive and optimistic. Complex melody lines based upon eccentric rhythm nation can be digested easily. Uptempo favourable soundscape is immersive. In "Aoi Komichi (Green Lane)" Yusuke's keyboard works are fantastic. Quite impressive despite the fact this track is the shortest in this album. On the contrary, a slowtempo ballad "Mikazuki Ko (Crescent-shaped Lake)" sounds like an elegant social dance of flute and acoustic guitar. Wonderful the lines are not inorganic nor artificial. "Doors" would remind you that they lean musically towards Citizen Cain or so. It's excellent they play altogether pretty smoothly without any deviation. The last suite "Ibis" is the most powerful and exciting one, filled with heavy, explosive moments and sub-improvised outbreak in the latter phase. Wondering if they might intend to grab the similarity to progressive metal like Dream Theater ... another enjoyable minute really.

Although no Neues nor innovation can be heard, I'd like to say their audible fantasia in a natural manner is fantastic. Above mentioned, do hope they will never get caught up in so-called progressive rock.


Thank you for reading this blog. Cool


Edited by DamoXt7942 - August 27 2020 at 07:45
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 27 2020 at 08:08
^ That's a lovely EP, thanks for sharing. I think it would make a tiresome full album with the flute always front and center though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 27 2020 at 08:56
Thanks Samuel! Very very happy you can enjoy this ep. Big smile

I'm sure they will be added in PA soon. Let's see ...

EDIT: They've been added in JMA. Thanks John and Slava. 


Edited by DamoXt7942 - August 27 2020 at 17:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 28 2021 at 01:03
Finally Kiku Latte / Cichla Temensis added. Thanks for your patience.

Anyway they say they're recording material for a new full-length album ... cannot wait! Cool
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2021 at 03:56
Hello Japanese progressive rock fans. Thanks for your patience. Please let me recommend an obscure but authentic Japanese one-off project Hal & Ring.

Originally posted by Hal & Ring biography Hal & Ring biography wrote:

A Japenese unit HAL were founded in 1975 by four musicians - Haruhiko TSUDA (guitars), Yoichi KAMADA (keyboards), Yoshiyuki SAKURAI (bass), and Naoya TAKAHASHI (drums). In those days they were not widely known because of their short (about half a year only) activity. Later Haruhiko and Naoya founded SHINGETSU with Shizuo SUZUKI, Akira HANAMOTO, and Makoto KITAYAMA, all of whom were the founders of SERENADE.

On the other hand, a Japanese act RING were founded in mid 1970s by the frontman Takashi KOKUBO (synthesizers, vocals) who also played as a support member of SHINGETSU, in collaboration with Masato KONDO (guitars), Hiroshi HAMADA (bass), Yukitoshi MORISHIGE (keyboards, synthesizers), and Kayo MATSUMOTO (synthesizers). They recorded some material in late 1970s, for their debut album, that was entitled "The Empire Of Necromancers" and released in 2006 via Musea / Poseidon Records finally.

In 2006 HAL & RING were formed as an one-off joint project by three HALs (Haruhiko, Yoshiyuki, Naoya) and two RINGs (Takashi and Kayo). Their debut (and only one) album "Alchemy" via Musea / Poseidon Records in the same year. Anyway the HAL's frontman Yoichi did not join their recording due to his missing on their foundation days, but he joined their release anniversary gigs as a guest member.

Alchemy (2006) - HAL & RING

Originally posted by dAmOxT7942's review dAmOxT7942's review wrote:

Another obscure but primitive Japanese progressive rock gem. A Japanese short-lived one-off project HAL & RING were formed by two Japanese authentic progressive rock combo HAL (also called as 'pre-SHINGETSU') and RING. Regardless of absence of HAL's founder Yoichi KAMADA, the united act released a fascinating opus in 2006 ... this is "Alchemy" out via Musea / Poseidon Records. Not so original nor innovative but there is kinda obvious eclectic aspect that cannot be heard in general Japanese progressive rock world.
The first track "Sir Bordenhausen" has quite hard-edged melodic punches and cool, tight rhythmic junctions. Colourful keyboard-oriented complicated sound mutations are terrific. Grand keyboard plays and the rhythmic section's perfect supports work together in a precise manner. Generally speaking, the renowned Japanese progressive rock tends to lean towards either sweet symphonic or bluesy psychedelic. But they definitely have rigid jazzy essence and antipop symphonic passion, that remind me of the similarity to an Italian Giant Arti E Mestieri. Also in the third "The Flower Ladies" Kayo and Takashi create complete theatrical appearances. In such a complex melodic lines some symphonic hints can be heard, that amaze the audience possibly.

"Triplet Colors II" possesses ultimate jazz rock potential and improvisational instrumental positions, above mentioned. Haruhiko, Yoshiyuki, and Naoya have done fantastic works there. Partially leaning towards New Trolls Atomic System's "Tempi Dispari" but some original moments can be grabbed. This fluent soundscape is our pride really. "The Star Of Sorrow" is authentic slow-tempo ballad but flooded with specially hearty delight and slightly depressive tips. Also good some critical points can be touched here and there. "Open Before Knock" is one of the most pop-drenched tracks but not so simple like the sarcastic title. Bluesy guitar shouts are pretty charming and sharp drumming plus strict bass lifting would ring our bells.

"Altered States II" is kinda challenging stuff, full of distorted synthesizer-based weird atmosphere and gorgeous ambience. There are somewhat monotonous and inactivated vibes overall but who cares? A mystic, mysterious movement should be superior. In the first stage of the last longest suite "In Memory Of Charnades The Pan" we can enjoy decent symphonic elements usually heard in Japanese progressive rock scene. The middle part has dramatically beautiful territory produced by sensitive keyboard works. Japanese fans love such a sudden melodic / scenic development as far as I'm aware, and in the last phase powerful heavy rock explosions beat us completely. The ending should be in the same vein of the one in Atoll's "L'araignee Mal" Makes sense lots of Japanese progressive rock artists are inspired by so-called 'Major RPI Scene'.

In conclusion, we can be impressed in deeply jazz rock-influenced Japanese rock diversity via this creation. Sad to say this project was short-lived and is still unknown all over the world, but this should be one of good albums for launching Japanese progressive rock energy to worldwide.



Their Bandcamp is here



Thank you for reading this blog. Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2021 at 04:27
I'm a recent convert to the wonderful Symphonic Prog of Ars Nova after they were recommended to me recently by one of our newest PA members - Progishness - on my A-Z of Japanese Psychedelia. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2021 at 04:33
^ Yep Paul, I'm enjoying your thread really. Especially Jacks are Japanese Proto, let me say.
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