Tokyo Pop


Comedy / Drama / Music / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100% · 10 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 77% · 250 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 369 369

Top cast

Carrie Hamilton as Wendy Reed
Rome Kanda as Minoru
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
920.2 MB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 40 min
Seeds 1
1.67 GB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 40 min
Seeds 12

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tasgal 8 / 10

Charming and honest.

There's a very rare honesty and charm to "Tokyo Pop." Although I never knew the music scene in Japan, so much in the movie is immediately recognizable from life: The naivete on many sides. The fun of being exotic for a while and the uses made of it. The value for Westerners of being in Japan for a while; the sterility of living there long-term (generally speaking). The harmless chintziness of much in Japan. A degree of gentleness. The story is believable and the characters endearing. In tune with the lightness of the movie, there are few of the crudest sorts of stupidity one is likely to run up against: Westerners who set themselves up as experts on everything under the sun. The Japanese love of grandiose abstractions; verbal bombast about uniqueness and subtlety. The extreme moral and intellectual obtuseness involved in occasionally hammering down nails that stick up. Or that if you are inclined to pithiness, then you too may be unsuited for life in Japan.

Reviewed by vertigo_14 7 / 10

...On Traditional Cultures and Globalism (Spoilers)

Tokyo Pop is an odd 80s romantic comedy. But, more significantly, it uses American pop culture (via rock n' roll) dominating an Eastern culture to illustrate a point about the disappearance about traditional cultures (and consequently, individual identity) disappearing in the face of globalism.

The movie is kind of slow-moving, but it is a funny, lighthearted one, nonetheless. The story concerns a young New York singer (the late Carrie Hamilton) who, after seeing her own rock n' roll career going nowhere, travels to Tokyo with the naive expectation that American singers have a better chance at stardom. She is in for a rude awakening, having to live in the minimimal-amenities boarding house and working long hours at a thankless job as a hostess in a karaoke lounge, where she performs tired American folks songs to drunk, middle-aged Japanese businessmen. It is hardly what you call, a respectable singing career.

Luck has it that a band headed up by co-star real like Japanese rocker, Yutaka Tadokoro as "Hiro", is looking for an eye-catching quality that will get the attention of a much sought after record executive in Tokyo. And, eventually, Hiro meets up with Wendy (the rest of the band doesn't speak English), and he encourages to join the band, which she does after some reluctance.

Eventually, they become one of the most popular bands in Japan after a mishap between Hiro and Wendy land them on the front page of a magazine, something which thrilled this difficult record executive. But, to Wendy's dismay, the band is only popular as a Japanese band (plus one American) playing American cover songs. It takes Wendy a while to realize how superficial their success is, because she knows that Hiro has written some great Japanese songs of his own. And she encourages Hiro to play these on stage one night, taking a break from the tired sets of American pop songs. And as it turns out, Hiro's band does pretty well with these songs. Wendy also opines that her presence in the band is just another superficial factor of their fame, and breaks from the group to return to the states, hoping that Hiro and his band will continue their success with their music, and not American cover songs.

Throughout the movie, you will see the criticism of globalism, or how mass Western pop culture markets amassed the beauty and viability of Eastern culture. This point is most overtly illustrated in what it took for Hiro's band to get recognized--the presence of an American and the constant reliance on American pop songs. It was Wendy who saw that there was something wonderful about Hiro's songs (solely Eastern as they were written by him and sung in Japanese) that he shouldn't sacrifice to the ridiculous American pop scene. She encouraged Hiro's band to overcome their superficial image, and in the end, they were a success for it.

But, it is also present in the disappearance of traditional Eastern culture which has given way to mass commercial markets of the West. For example, Hiro's mother always scolds him for not taking an interest in things that are Japanese. (When he talks about going to Tokyo's historical sites with Wendy, his mother says, "Oh Hiro! I'm glad to see you're finally taking an interest in Japan!") Previously, we see Hiro as a young kid who's idea of fame was going to America to live like Elvis Presley. He idolizes the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and solely American pop icons.

But Hiro's family is the same. There are scenes of he, his mother, his sister, and their grandfather at the dinner table. Hiro spends time talking about American rock n' roll, his mother is mimicking the aerobics instructor on the television, his sister is eating from a big bucket of KFC. But, his grandfather, is the only semblance of traditional Japanese culture, evident in his costume, his hobbies (fishing with the old men), and so forth. He scolds his daughter (Hiro's mother) for doing aerobics at the table, and she just retorts plainly that he's just being old fashioned. These are brief scenes, but they illustrate a valid point about the disappearance of traditional Eastern culture in the name of Western mass market consumerism and culture.

It is even evident in the scenery. That shot of the Dunkin' Donuts where Hiro, the band, and Wendy meet with plans of how to get a demo tape to the record executive, is no accident. When Wendy gets to Japan, she lives in the "Mickey House," aptly named for the massive Mickey Mouse merchandise everywhere. She works in a karaoke bar where all they entertain the guests with is crappy American folk songs. This, too, juxtaposed with the beautiful scenery of the historical and cultural exhibits that Hiro and Wendy visit midway through the movie, emphasizes the theme once again. I think essentially what the movie is saying is that the Eastern cultures should embrace their heritage, their culture, and not deny it for the superficial comfort of Western mass culture, or, more specifically, American mass culture.

This romantic comedy also provides a cool look at some of the late 80s Japanese new wave/punk scene, and it's pretty wild and makes a great backdrop for this kooky romantic comedy. (Look for Papaya Paranoia in the beginning playing 'Rauken, Rauken'). It was a funny little film with a significant political theme, despite being a somewhat slow-moving film. It may take a few viewings to really appreciate and get past the pace. I'd probably call it one of my favorite 80s movies.

Reviewed by nippon_newfie 6 / 10

Before Lost in Translation there was Tokyo Pop

This is a very light movie that highlights some aspects of being a foreigner in Japan. This movie was released the first year that I moved to Japan so is especially relevant to me. It is often more travelogue than drama as I felt that some scenes were shot simply to show absurd aspects of Tokyo life and clashing cultures (the Japanese mother getting ready for her aerobics class as the daughter practices chopstick use; the boy working in a neighbourhood crepe shop; the plastic food factory; suited Salarymen fishing on the Kanda RIver). Still it has a certain simple charm that makes me smile and I feel that it better captures aspects of Tokyo at that time than Lost in Translation does for a more contemporary Tokyo. I just came across it as i was cleaning out my videos to take to a flea market (my favourites have all been replaced by DVDs). This doesn't seem to be available on DVD now so I am watching it as I dub it to make my own DVD. It still makes me smile and will certainly do the same for anyone who has spent time in Japan.

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