2024/05/29 04:52

We want to boost the Osaka-Kansai Expo with the power of entertainment.

LIFE

On the five-story GALA wall, artworks by five artists from Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan) are displayed.

Through the efforts of TEAMEXPO, Staff members at GALA have been diligently working to energize the Osaka-Kansai Expo with the power of entertainment, even amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the interview with Mr. Satoru Sakaguchi(LEFT), a representative of GALA RESORT, and Mr. Lawrence Minamimura(Right), vice president, about their endeavors.

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(Mr.mimamimura said)

During the pandemic, when we couldn't conduct regular business activities, our remaining staff focused on studying English intensively and promoting the allure of music through social media with the help of musicians. We did this so that whenever foreign tourists return, they'll be welcomed. We diligently prepared until the situation returned to normal.

Thanks to these efforts, when foreign tourists did return, we were able to promptly resume our services as before. To enhance the image of our company and industry, we also prioritized recruitment interviews and employee education. Currently, with over 100 people, including employees, dedicated DJs, musicians, and more than 30 part-time staff, we work together to provide nightclub services.

Although nightclub work may carry negative connotations, we take pride in bringing happiness to people through music and entertainment. That's why we emphasize employee training, including special leadership workshops, to instill a sense of pride in our work, which translates into societal contributions.

Furthermore, we've advanced our nightclub management to benefit the public through activities such as neighborhood clean-ups and support for "children's cafeterias."

Our representative, Mr. Sakaguchi, who himself lived in a children's home until he was 16, believes in the importance of supporting children in need of necessities.

To address this, he has launched a nonprofit organization. Staff members at GALA also contribute to these activities, experiencing the significance of social engagement and naturally enhancing their humanity.

What percentage of your customers are foreign tourists? And what efforts are you putting into promotions?

Approximately 60-70% of our customers are foreign tourists, including many repeat visitors and expatriates living in Japan. To cater to this demographic, we prioritize hiring staff proficient in English and promoting understanding and inclusion of the LGBT community, ensuring that everyone can enjoy our music events regardless of nationality or gender.

In terms of promotions, we focus on leveraging social media platforms to announce our events and collaborating with DJs and artists to reach a broader audience. However, our most significant promotional tool remains positive word-of-mouth from satisfied customers. Therefore, we strive to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors, as positive experiences lead to positive reviews and contribute to our reputation and staff morale.

What kind of people work as part-time staff members?

Our staff includes individuals proficient in foreign languages and young people who choose to work with us for a defined period as part of their life experience. We welcome individuals from diverse backgrounds and do not discriminate based on nationality or gender. We want everyone to experience the joy of providing enjoyable music experiences to our customers at GALA, regardless of their background. Especially for those interested in interacting with people from different countries using foreign languages, this job can be fulfilling. While our interview process is rigorous, we encourage anyone interested to take on the challenge.

What do you want to achieve at the Osaka-Kansai Expo?

(Mr.Sakaguchi said)

We aim to showcase at the Osaka-Kansai Expo the potential of using the power of music, especially the "HIPHOP culture," which dominates about 70% of the HIT CHART worldwide and leads youth culture, to create a "peaceful and poverty-free world."

While there may still be a lack of understanding from the authorities, in the United States, many artists possess financial resources and influence comparable to top corporate executives. Similarly, among Japan's Z generation, there are talented individuals earnestly striving to improve society. We want to involve such individuals and believe in the potential of events that transcend musical genres. At the Osaka-Kansai Expo, we aspire to create a space where people from all around the world can acknowledge and respect each other, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or gender, enabling them to express themselves freely and comfortably.

We also intend to utilize platforms like TEAMEXPO to connect with like-minded groups and individuals, working together to elevate the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo, likely a once-in-a-lifetime event, and make it a memorable experience for everyone involved.

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GALA RESORT, Tokyo Metropolitan Development Soemoncho Building,

7-9 Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture

Located in the heart of Namba, Osaka, close to the iconic Glico sign, GALA RESORT is Japan's first five-story building dedicated to nightlife. With a capacity of 1500 people, it stands as a central hub for Osaka's nightlife scene. Each floor offers a unique experience with genres like HIPHOP, EDM, K-POP, HOUSE, TECHNO, and TRANCE, where DJs mesmerize the audience with the latest sounds and lighting. World-renowned artists and DJs make regular appearances, attracting a diverse crowd of foreign tourists and repeat visitors to Japan.

GALA RESORT https://osaka.gala-resort.jp

Explore the activities of the nonprofit organization Care with Music

https://care-with-music.jp/

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HIPHOP is a culture of overturning existing values, rising, and achieving success against the odds.

 

 

The growing trend of HIPHOP has rapidly expanded in recent years, becoming a mainstream genre in many countries and regions, with its influence increasing globally, particularly due to the widespread adoption of streaming services and the amplification of social media. 

In the United States, HIPHOP and rap songs often dominate the Billboard charts, constituting a significant portion of the music industry's revenue. While the prevalence of HIPHOP varies by region and country, its importance continues to grow on the international music scene.

The differences between Japanese and American HIPHOP are influenced by cultural backgrounds, history, language, and the experiences of artists. Some key distinctions include

Cultural Background and History:

American HIPHOP emerged from communities of African Americans and Latinx Americans during the 1970s, addressing themes of social oppression, economic hardship, and racial discrimination.

Japanese HIPHOP, while influenced by American HIPHOP, has developed its own unique identity, reflecting the distinctiveness of Japanese society, identity exploration among youth, and individual experiences.

Language:

American HIPHOP predominantly uses English for expression, with lyrics and rap culture centered around the English-speaking world.

Japanese HIPHOP primarily uses Japanese for expression, although some artists incorporate English rap into their work. Japanese lyrics often include wordplay and cultural elements unique to Japan.

Themes and Messages:

American HIPHOP often tackles themes such as poverty, racial discrimination, and social injustice, using self-expression and personal experiences to delve into societal issues.

Japanese HIPHOP typically focuses on Japanese society, the current state of youth, and individual stories and experiences, while incorporating a unique perspective and themes, influenced by American HIPHOP but with a distinct Japanese flavor.

Popular Japanese HIPHOP artists among the Z generation

Since the mid-2000s, there has been a growing number of university lectures branded as "Hip hip-hop studies" in the United States. These lectures delve into various aspects of history, linguistics, anthropology, and cultural studies related to hip-hop. Given the multifaceted impact of hip-hop culture on America and the world, it became necessary to organize this academically.

With the establishment and diversification of the internet, the landscape has evolved: the emergence of streaming services like SoundCloud has enabled artists to pursue their careers without traditional record label contracts, a trend that began in the mid-2010s and continues today.

Artists like Chance the Rapper have even won Grammy Awards without formal album releases, relying solely on mixtapes. Amid its 50-year history, hip-hop finds itself in a period of significant upheaval, where the hip-hop ethos of "turning existing values upside down" may be more urgently needed than ever.