Enka is a genre of music unique to Japan. It's been influenced by all kinds of things, from traditional instruments and melodies to modern pop.

Enka appeals mostly to older audiences in Japan - singers generally perform in kimono and have a particular style of singing that is evocative and listenable but rings of another age. Enka lyrics often deal with (surprise!) ephemera, sadness, and loss.

It could be considered analogous to Country Western music here - harkening back to an older time (kind of) but in reality influenced by new and ever-changing forces.

The only Enka artist I can think of right now is Fuyumi Sakamoto, but there are of course lots others, male and female. It is my suspicion that Kyu Sakamoto (of Sukiyaki fame) was very influential in shaping modern Enka.

Enka songs were first invented during the middle of the Meiji restoration in Japan by youngsters who sang for the rights of citizens to participate in politics. The songs are sung similarly to how minyous, or local songs, were sung.

Modern enka singers have nothing political to sing about. They are known to use a unique voice fluctuation technique called "kobushi". Like country music in the States, enka doesn't appeal to a large population of youth. (Although it seems like country music is more of a regional thing than strictly an age thing.)

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