Shoichi Kaneko was born in 1942 in Fukushima prefecture and was raised as part of a musical family in Tokyo. During his studies at Rikkyo University, he became fascinated with jazz and continues to enjoy playing jazz bass to this day.
In 1966, at the age of 24, he composed “Kyo no Hi wa Sayonara” (Farewell to This Day), which is now a standard in music text books and is commonly sung at elementary and high school graduations. It has been performed by some of Japan’s most popular folk singers and others, notably Joan Baez in the late 1960’s. He continues to write Japanese school songs, sharing his love for music and jazz with all.
In 1975, dissatisfied with the Tokyo mayorial election system, Shoichi Kaneko decided to run for mayor of Tokyo himself. Advocating open televised debate of political issues, he was regarded as something of a maverick, and appealed to voters to show their support by writing the title of his song “Kyo no Hi wa Sayonara” on the ballot. This proved to be a miscalculation though, as these ballots were disposed of with all the other spoiled ballots and were never counted. Kaneko himself received about 2,800 votes. The televised debates he suggested have yet to materialize; however, present day politicians now must make their policies clear to the voting public. This simply was not done twenty five years ago.
Through F.I.A. and Chikyujinmura, Shoichi Kaneko continues to share his philosophy that cultures can be bridged through language and music. His vision and outlook inspire us as we move into the new millenium and the age of globalization.