Kawamura Dies

Popular Japanese rock singer Kaori Kawamura died July 28 following a battle with cancer.

Kawamura, 38, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and underwent a mastectomy. The cancer returned by October of last year and spread to her bones. She remained active right up until her death.

Kawamura was born in Moscow to a Japanese father, who was working for a trading company, and a Russian mother. She moved to Japan when she was 11 and was constantly bullied at school because of her foreign features.

As a result, she gravitated to music and made her debut with the album Zoo in 1988.

She had several hits in 1990-91 and moved onto movie acting. In the later half of the 90s she divided her time between Tokyo and New York, where she was a fixture on the club scene.

Another prominent J-rock musician died the previous week.

Futoshi Abe, the guitarist for Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, passed away from an acute epidural hematoma, believed caused by a head injury, though Abe’s management did not elaborate.

TMGE was Japan’s most popular garage band of the 1990s and had attained arena status by the time it broke up in 2003.