Japanese Boy

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"Japanese Boy"
Aneka - Japanese Boy.png
Single by Aneka
from the album Aneka
B-side "Ae Fond Kiss"
Songwriter(s) Bob Heatlie
Producer(s) Bob Heatlie, Neil Ross
Aneka singles chronology
"Japanese Boy"
"Little Lady"
Music video
"Japanese Boy" (TopPop, 1981) on YouTube

"Japanese Boy" is a hit single by Scottish singer Aneka, released in 1981. The song became her highest charting release, reaching number one in several countries including the UK. The song's success would eventually lead audiences to associate Aneka closely with both the lyrics' subject matter as well as the kimono that she wore during some televised performances of the song, associations that she found difficult to discard as her career proceeded.



Written by Bob Heatlie and produced by Neil Ross, the song was recorded by Scottish folk singer Mary Sandeman. Realising that the name didn't fit the song, they decided to come up with a name to put to the single. Leafing through the telephone directory, they came upon the name of Aneka. [2] This was then released as a single and Sandeman came up with a Japanese image under which to perform the song. To their surprise, the song became a major hit when it eventually reached No. 1 in August 1981. [3] The song went on to become a hit all over Europe and beyond, although according to Sandeman, it failed to chart in Japan itself because according to the Japan office of her record label, Hansa, the song "sounded too Chinese." [4]

The success of the single proved to be a problem however, as Sandeman was left with a dilemma of what to do as a follow-up, now that her image was so firmly associated with one song. She modified her image and kept the Aneka name, but future single releases failed to chart highly in the UK, although she did score two follow-up hits in many countries in Europe. [5]

The song was released on 7" and as an extended 12" version and featured on Aneka's debut — and only — album, released later in 1981. "Japanese Boy" sold almost half a million copies in the UK, making it one of the best-selling singles of 1981, and the second-best seller by a solo female artist (behind Kim Wilde's "Kids in America").

Sandeman featured in a 2006 Channel 4 documentary titled Bring Back the One Hit Wonders. Justin Lee Collins attempted to organise a one-off performance of as many 'one hit wonders' as possible but despite getting in touch with Sandeman, she declined to take part as she didn't want to travel to London from her home in Scotland and had "no desire" to perform the song. [6]

Chart performance

See also

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