Tomohiko Kira, Zabadak and Yoko Ueno

It’s always a pleasure when you come across fantastic music that sparks up your spirit. I just wish it would be under better circumstances.

If you’re an Idolm@ster fan you may remember Chihaya (Asami Imai) singing a cover of Tooi Ongaku in the Master Special album series. It was a fan request that matches with her voice perfectly – although, I wonder if it’s also because there’s a line in the song that mentions “small chest.”

Tomohiko’s life was sadly cut short on July 3 at the age of 56 from an undisclosed illness. It was mentioned on Zabadak’s (the band Tomohiko lead) official website that he was ill at the time of Zabadak’s 30th anniversary concert in March of this year, and took a month to recuperate.

While it is unfortunate to lose a cherished musician (2016 seems to want to take them all), Tomohiko’s leaves behind a long career to look back on. In fact, while looking at a few of his accomplishments, I was surprised to find I had actually heard his music years ago. One notable song being Time’s Scar that was used for the opening of the RPG Chrono Cross. Tomohiko plays the guitar on this tune that sets up the forlorn melody:

Looking further back on his career, Tomohiko also composed for the soundtrack of the 1988 horror film Evil Dead Trap. What makes this trap evil and/or dead, I don’t know, but the film sounds grotesquely awesome (as a veteran horror fan, yeah, it’s really damn grotesque, so viewer discretion is advised!). Of course, the sound as far as music is concerned is also cherished by horror fans. Have a listen to the film’s tense and moody theme. Film critic, The Horror Guru, even notes that the theme is used cleverly in the film for any moment ranging from suspense to “exciting.” It sounds a bit Goblin inspired too, which is awesome in of itself:

I wish I could dive deeper into Tomohiko’s career with his band Zabadak. I’m particularly interested in when Yoko Ueno was part of the group. On top of having a delicate, yet, restrained singing voice, she can be seen playing instruments like the accordion, a recorder, and an Irish whistle.

With such an eclectic interest in instruments, I can see why she would be interested in forming the duo group Oranges & Lemons with Masumi Ito for the anime series Azumanga Daioh. Not to get off on too much of a tangent, but AzuDai is my top favorite anime series and the music is icing on the Soramimi Cake. Perhaps I can dive into each of their solo projects another time — preferably before they pass…

About all else I can mention is that they got the name from a song by the band mentioned in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. I have to say, while it’s tragic that we lost Tomohiko Kira, it was nice to go down the pleasant rabbit hole of music (and fucked up Japanese horror films!).


I have a lot of listening to do, and if you want to hear more of the music of Tomohiko Kira, there are a few Zabadak albums available on Spotify, so give ’em a listen and maybe become a fan: