I often find I need to correct myself about Tokona. You see, the problem is, I forget that he’s dead. I always first think ‘he is’, ‘he does’, ‘his performances are’. I don’t seem to be accepting that he’s no longer with us and often think about ‘what makes him such a great performer’, rather than what made him such a great performer.
I think it’s partly because Japan is a world away. With other dead rappers like the Notorious B.I.G, Tupac or Big Pun, there’s no forgetting because of how high profile they are in English speaking Hip-Hop culture. There are also a horde of other rappers that constantly mention them. This isn’t the case (or I’m not aware of it being the case) with Japanese Hip-Hop culture and Tokona-X, so I don’t get that constant reminder.
While there are a lack of reminders (for me at least), in my own small world, it is his music that keeps him alive. Recording a voice and digitising it now means that even once the person in the recording has passed away, their voice is preserved perfectly. I can hear every breath he took throughout his songs and see how he acted in videos. This is the same as even living artists that I haven’t and may never be able to see in real life, so without those constant reminders, I find it easy to forget that he’s not around any more.
I often forget Tokona is no longer with us, mostly because of the what he left behind. The most important thing to remember is that if we can do good work on this earth, it will live on after our death. As the 10th anniversary of his passing approaches, I wonder what will happen to mark the occasion in Japan? I’m sure I’m not the only person in the UK that remembers him, but I can’t see there being any events happening here. In Japan, I hope there will be parties and club events in Nagoya at least. No doubt, there must be thousands of fans and artists alike in Japan who still have fond memories of him.
If you know of any events or are organising any, please let me know in the comments. Japanese is also okay.