Foreigners show their Japanese singing skills on 'Nodo Jiman Za! World'

Foreigners show their Japanese singing skills on 'Nodo Jiman Za! World' Nicholas Edwards

TOKYO —

If you can sing in Japanese and you’re brave, then you should try for a spot on NTV’s program “Nodo Jiman Za! World.” Two segments were aired this year—one in June and the other on Oct 11.

“Nodo Jiman” has been around for decades, mostly on NHK—“nodo” means throat and “jiman” means boast. It features amateur singers from across Japan who sing their hearts out before a nationwide audience. It has mainly been for Japanese (although African-American singer Jero once appeared on it).

This year, NTV aired its own version—“Nodo Jiman Za! World,” specifically for foreign residents who love singing in Japanese. The contest attracted 13 contestants from 10 countries. The youngest was 12 and the oldest 71.

The winner on Oct 11 was Nicholas Edwards, 19, from the U.S. state of Oregon. He sang “Konayuki” (Powder snow) by Remioromen in the final round.

According to one of the judges, Tsunku—who is a producer of the famous idol group Morning Musume—Edwards won because his singing voice shows how much he loves Japan and Japanese songs.

Here is a video of Edwards’ performance in the final round.

Sergio from Peru and Monique Dehaney from Jamaica performed very well, too, in the final round.

After watching these videos, who do you think was the best singer? Check out all the contestants here.

“Nodo Jiman Za! World” will probably be on again next year, so start practicing.

Japan Today

  • 2

    JapanGal

    I thought Nicholas Edwards was a girl at first. Sort of like Ellen. He had a great voice in a feminine way.

  • 1

    ninjohitokiri

    Just watched his performance and he was amazing! Yeah, i mistook him for a girl at first though.

  • 1

    genjuro

    He does look feminine and looks like the type you'd find in a shojou manga. Great voice, too. Wonder if he'll try to pursue or get offered a recording contract of some sort.

  • -2

    Foxie

    Wow, this is sung better than the original.

  • 2

    smithinjapan

    If you can sing well you should be able to sing well in Japanese (assuming you can memorize the lyrics or can read the words at karaoke). Japanese is one of the simplest languages on the planet in terms of phonetics and lack of intonation/stress.

  • 2

    combinibento

    Well so much for a foreigner introducing some manliness to the male vocalist culture in this country!

  • 1

    Ben_Jackinoff

    He sang Konayuk (Powder snow) by Remioromen in the final round.

    Unless the meaning was (Powder yuck), this should be written 'Konayuki'.

    Moderator: Indeed, it should. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • -1

    JapanGal

    Funny Ben. That i is important.

  • 3

    tmarie

    Edwards won because his singing voice shows how much he loves Japan and Japanese songs

    What should loving Japanese songs and Japan have to do with a singing contest??

  • -1

    Bartholomew Harte

    Wherecan I sign up?Does anyone know how to get this station in N.Y.C.? Thank You!

  • -1

    plasticmonkey

    Edwards won because his singing voice shows how much he loves Japan and Japanese songs.

    tmarie, I agree: This is one of those countless shows designed to inculcate the notion that anything the Japanese do as a matter of course requires superhuman dedication and training for foreigners to achieve.

    foreign residents who love singing in Japanese

    There it is again. If anything in the "free" world can be called propaganda, this country has it down to a fine art . . . or maybe again it just comes naturally . . .

  • 0

    TorafusuTorasan

    @plastic "superhuman dedication and training"

    That's what I should have had before attempting to do a karaoke "Haisai Ojisan" in Naha last weekend. Now I know to train in advance to see if I can say any of the words besides the ones in the title. It's a good thing that the song's author Kina wasn't there to hear me that night (it was at his live house/restaurant).

    Can Nicholas Edwards warble that annoying Kimura Kaela "A Winter Fairy on a Melting Snowman" CM song?

  • -1

    Triumvere

    Damn! That was impressive!

  • -3

    Elbuda Mexicano

    The Japanese love to have their egos stroked over and over again! Tell them you love their food music culture etc..but in this music and it will help you win in this society. This kid from Oregon was on Tokyo MX TV show The Golden Hour a few months ago all dressed in pink wearing angel wings. Really kawaii!!

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Sorry it was supposed to be in this case music. Good luck on this nodo jiman!!

  • 0

    papigiulio

    I thought the Peruvian guy was much better. Also there was another blonde girl who was very cute and had a great voice, shame she didnt make it to the final 3

  • 0

    tokyokawasaki

    @JapanGal: I thought Nicholas Edwards was a girl at first. Sort of like Ellen. He had a great voice in a feminine way.

    I make the same mistake with most younger Japanese men. What is it with the feminine look, why are they trying to look like women? I find most of their eyebrows to be creepy. I think they spend more time on grooming themselves than women, and that is not right is it?

  • -1

    LH10

    lol

  • 1

    genji17

    hed fit in with all the herbiviours here

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    This is just one show of so many that the Japanese love to see, us gaijins drooling over Japan, Japanese culture, food, music etc..but if I were in Mexico, I would rather have Japanese etc..say nice things about my country than complain, and I am sure this is just human nature, French do not want to hear non French complaining about Paris etc..right?? They would rather we say how much we love French wine, bread, etc..right? So I guess Japan is not that much different in the respect that people need to be made to feel liked, appreciated etc..right?? IMHO.

  • -1

    Ryuji Ryu Azama

    What a beautiful voice he has! I know Japanese is hard to pronounce U.S. people are same as speaking English we do. But his pronunciation is really nice! Sing a song is really good way to speak & learn foreign language. I'm studying by Avril Lavigne's song. But I don't feel my pronunciation becoming better. I have to continue that. The important thing to studying English is enjoying. Sing a song is fun. Fun & continue make our English skill much higher level. I felt how he loves Japanese songs. As a same tome I’m proud of my country Japan. I’m Japanese but I have a lot of thing I still don’t know. I’m studying English now but I have to know about my country culture etc.

  • 0

    Mark Quijano

    I saw him on TV. I think he's a good singer with high range and a feminine voice color. By the way, how to join in this contest? Can anyone give me the website of the TV program? Thanks.

  • 0

    Kim Tondo Laus

    I want to join ... How can i contact them????

  • 0

    Carina65

    ****i like singing Japanese songs very much ... I would like to be apart of this ... I want to join the contest ... Can someone tell me how?

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