Director: Fran Rubel Kuzui Run Time: 99 min. Release Year: 1988 Language: Japanese
Starring: Carrie Hamilton, Diamond Yukai, Masumi Harukawa, Taiji Tonoyama, Tetsurō Tamba
Bleach-blonde wannabe rocker Wendy (Carrie Hamilton) is disillusioned with her life in New York City. After receiving a postcard from Japan saying “wish you were here,” she spontaneously hops on a plane to Tokyo with dreams of making it big as a singer. Quickly finding herself broke and a fish out of water, she moves into a youth hostel for gaijin (foreigners) and takes up work as a hostess at a karaoke bar. Just when she’s at her breaking point, she meets Hiro (Diamond Yukai), a rock ‘n’ roller whose band is looking for their big break. They form a romantic and musical connection and Hiro convinces Wendy to become their lead singer. Through a combination of hustle and luck, they stumble into their 15 minutes of fame, but Wendy soon comes to realize that being a gaijin rocker may be nothing more than a passing fad. An underseen gem of ‘80s American independent cinema by Fran Rubel Kuzui (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Tokyo Pop takes us on a breezy tour through bubble era Tokyo, replete with knowing nods to the city’s vibrant pop culture.
“You don’t have to be a fan of rock music to get a kick out of ‘Tokyo Pop,’ a wedding of American and Japanese youth cultures as seen through a fun-house mirror.” – Walter Goodman, New York Times
“Loping through downtown Tokyo with her seven-league stride, her shades on her nose, her white-blond hair tucked up under a leopard pillbox, Carrie Hamilton stalks through ‘Tokyo Pop’ straight into our hearts… A shrewd, amiable cross-cultural romance full of talent at every level.” – Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times
“A sweet, cocky love-and-rock story.” – Molly Haskell, Vogue