The Plastics – Japanese New Wave
The Japanese band, The Plastics formed in the 76 ‘, with their debut album, “WelcomePlastics” coming out in ’79.
It’s no coincidence that 76 ‘ was also the year of birth of the B-52’s that besides having in common with Plastics their manager, they also share(d) a similar fanbase.
The Plastics are: guitarist / vocalist Toshio Nakanishi, vocalist Chica Sato, guitarist Hajime Tachibana, keyboard player Masahide Sakuma, and programmer Takemi Shima.
They were also in touch with The Talking Heads, who owe them some of their success, as it was The Plastics‘ Toshio Nakanishi who designed the tour program book for them and had the chance to meet the band’s singer David Byrne.
He sent The Plastics demo to the B-52’s producer and so they started their intense, albeit brief, techno-pop-star career.
In fact, after the release of the first album, The Plastics also went to play in the United States with a long tour.
Let’s say that the techno-pop /new wave band from Tokyo represented well the 80’s fashion and its extravagance.
They gathered their inspiration from Japanese trash culture, from the new electronic sounds coming from Europe and from the youth protests carried out by the musical and artistic subcultures made in UK.
The Plastics represent the experimentation at 360 degrees that brings together music, fashion and art, in which each member makes available his own field of origin and his passions: Nakanishi was an illustrator, Sato a stylist, and Tachibana a graphic designer.
The result is a colorful and avant-garde mash-up.
It is no coincidence that Chica Sato and Toshio (who later became her husband) became style icons in Japan and spokespersons for the colorful and fluorescent wave of new-wave.
After their split in 1981, the members of The Plastics nevertheless continued to give their artistic contribution: Nakanishi and Sato gave life to the band Melon in New York City, Tachibana did his only work under the name Low Powers, and Sakuma a became a music producer.
Displaying an obvious understanding of the trend of music, Toshio was a major player in the Japanese Hip Hop scene before his untimely passing in 2017.
Although they were active as a band for a short time, The Plastics has the merit of having made known in Japan amongst the American bands like theB-52’s and The Talking Heads, of having made a strong contribution to the 80’s fashion and to have brought around the world a breath of colorful and shimmering Japanese air.
In short, they were the link between various musical and artistic subcultures and the bridge between many countries, so that fashion, music and art had no boundaries.
Words written by Federica Diaz Splendiani