While July 4 was celebrated with less gusto than in previous years as the rising number of coronavirus cases put something of a dampener on proceedings, one man was doing his best to keep things lively: Japan's Consul General to the United States, Kanji Yamanouchi.
The diplomat, dressed in work shirt and bow tie, delivered a short speech about international brotherhood before unleashing a version of The Star Spangled Banner that harked back to Jimi Hendrix's infamous Woodstock rendition.
“This year marks the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the very first Japanese delegation to the United States and New York City,” says Yamanouchi. “On top of that, the Fourth of July is just around the corner, so I would like to perform the American national anthem with my deepest gratitude and respect – inspired by Jimi Hendrix – to strengthen the friendship between the United States and Japan.”
The description of the video on YouTube reads, "Would Japan's Consul General run divebombs down the length of a distorted open E string to portray the rocket's red glare as Jimi Hendrix did in his psychedelic version of The Star Spangled Banner in 1969? Why, yes he would."
Yamanouchi also plays guitar in the band @K4, who also feature Tokyo TV anchorwoman Kyoko Komatsuzawa on keyboards.
"In these rapidly changing times, and on levels ranging from statecraft to individual exchanges, I will be active in strengthening people-to-people relationships between the Japanese and American people in the area," he writes, on the Japanese Consulate website (opens in new tab). "It is my sincere hope that our endeavours will advance the strong, collaborative relationship between Japan and the U.S., and ensure a brighter, shared future as a whole."