Paul Weller and the Tokyo Mod Legacy

(ABOVE: Manji Masanori solo)

To explain what happened last night, let us begin by defining our terms.
In the early Sixties, the ‘Mod’ movement (the word being the shortened form of both Modernism and Modern Art) became a force to be reckoned with. It encompassed both fashion and music, and resulted in the rise of ‘Cool Britannia’, a cultural wave that swept around the world until the dawn of the Psychedelic Age, when the centre of the universe shifted from London to the USA’s West Coast.
Despite that, the Mod movement lived on. It returned in the wake of the Punk revolution in the late Seventies, survived due to a cult following during the Eighties, was referenced by Blur and Oasis in the ‘Britpop Wars’ of the mid-Nineties, and experienced a full-blown revival thanks to the 2012 London Olympics, the popularity of athlete Bradley Wiggins, and social media kingpins such as Warren Peace.

The Jam (Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler – pictured above) came to the public’s attention in 1977. At first labelled a Punk band, their taste in fashion and songs exploring the mess of late Seventies Britsh culture marked them as Mods for a new era, and created a new movement joined by bands such as Secret Affair, Squire, the Purple Hearts, and everyone on the Two Tone record label.
The Jam’s connection with Japan was forged in 1980, after their legendary concert in Nakano Sun Plaza. The Jam Fan Club was formed by Minako Watanabe and Akemi Zushi. This resulted in finally meeting the members of The Jam backstage in 1982.
During the long years that followed, Paul Weller’s work with The Jam, The Style Council, and his solo albums has always been an inspiration (arguably the main inspiration) for Japan’s Mod bands and fashion stores. The Mods Mayday annual festival, organized by Manabu K. Dove from Club Asia, is a major part of Tokyo’s social calendar. The Young Soul Rebels boutique is one of Kichijoji’s hottest stores, and Yoshiko Watanabe from The 5678s has acknowledged the Mod influence in many interviews and live appearances.
All this led to In The City 2015, to mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of The Jam Fan Club in Tokyo and to celebrate the strength of global Mod culture.

All this led to In The City 2015, to mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of The Jam Fan Club in Tokyo and to celebrate the strength of global Mod culture.
The event was held in the Good Heavens British Bar in Shimo-Kitazawa; it kicked off with a solo set from Manji Masanori from Boss, followed with a selection of songs from The Crickets and then The Setting Sons (pictured above) – two Tokyo Mod ‘supergroups’ containing members from a number of other bands.

This was followed by a live talk show featuring Minako Watanabe, the Fan Club co-founder, in conversation with Gen Shirogawa (lead vocalist from The Setting Sons) and Junko Shoji. This was to announce the launch of the bilingual website, and the fiction anthology Setting Sons Project, in which different writers will take a different track from the Setting Sons album as an inspration to create an original short story.

If you’d like to know more about the Setting Sons anthology, then send an email to becuase we’d love to hear from you.
If you want to know more about the Tokyo Mods, then take a look on Facebook and send some of us a friend request.
If you’d like to know about Mod fiction and science fiction, take a look at the adventures of Jimmy Diamond …

About J P Catton

Speculative storytelling and skewed fiction: the blog and website of author John Paul Catton.
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