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Kyu "Kyu-chan" Sakamoto
Birth: Nov. 10, 1941
Kawasaki
Kanagawa, Japan
Death: Aug. 12, 1985, Japan

Internationally acclaimed singer. Sakamoto made his show business debut in 1960. His biggest hit, Ue o Muite Aruko (I Look Up When I Walk; "Sukiyaki" in the West), was released in Japan in 1961. After its release in the U.S. in 1963, the song's earnestness and melodic beauty proved irresistible despite its incomprehensible lyrics. Against all odds, on June 15, 1963, the song ousted Leslie Gore's "It's My Party" to become the No. 1 popular song in the U.S. "Sukiyaki" remains the biggest international hit by a Japanese popular singer. Credit for the song's popularity also is due to the music by Hachidai Nakamura and the lyrics by Rokusuke Ei, who is said to have written this touching evocation of loneliness after his heart was broken by the actress Meiko Nakamura. Sakamoto also recorded such popular songs as "Shiawase Nara Te o Tatako" and "Miagete Goran Sora no Hoshi o." Tragically, he was killed when JAL Flight 123, a 747 bound from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Osaka, lost pieces of its tail sections and spiraled downward nightmarishly for 30 minutes (long enough for some passengers to scribble shaky farewells to their families). The plane crashed and burned on a thickly wooded mountain about 60 miles northwest of Tokyo, killing 520 and injuring four, in the worst single airplane disaster in aviation history. Sakamoto's songs remain popular in Japan and overseas. "A Taste of Honey" and "4PM" are among the performers who have subsequently released their own renditions of "Sukiyaki." (bio by: Warrick L. Barrett) 

Cause of death: plane crash
 
Burial:
Chokoku Temple
Minato
Tokyo Metropolis, Japan
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Mar 23, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 20896
Kyu Kyu-chan Sakamoto
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Kyu Kyu-chan Sakamoto
Added by: Warrick L. Barrett
 
Kyu Kyu-chan Sakamoto
Added by: Warrick L. Barrett
 
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Dear Kyu, Thank you for such a beautiful song. Now that I know the translation, it holds greater meaning and honors love I have of my one and only Debbie. May you always be lovingly remembered. Rest In Peace.
- E49
 Added: May. 21, 2016
Kyu, I remember your song so well when I was young. I was surprised to find you passed away-so sorry you were in that plane crash. I still love to hear it-it brings back such good memories!
- Judy
 Added: May. 14, 2016
I just this day realized Kyu was aboard the ill-fated Japan Airlines Flt#123. His wonderful voice on "Sukiyaki" always brings me back to 1963. May God bless his soul and his memory.
- tim twedt
 Added: Apr. 9, 2016
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