Number 1 Hit "Sushi"

Living in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor Inspired to play ukulele after hearing Eddie Kamae Mother taught him how to play the ukulele How he got on the All-Navy show on Ed Sullivan Friend convinced him to make a record Number 1 Hit "Sushi" Playing 3 shows a night in Waikiki "Song for Anna" Performing in Japan

Transcripts available in the following languages:

[Play music]

We recorded at radio station, and with this portable [Ampax?] recorder, tape recorder, two-track, so if you made a mistake you had to start all over from the beginning.  So we recorded that album in one day, called the Cool Touch, and I recorded all Japanese songs, mostly, except one or two.

And this song that [Hida?] wrote, called [Sazanaka no michi?], I called it Sushi.  And that's the one that hit, that thing became number 1 in Hawaii in two weeks and this song that [Hida?] wrote, called [Sazanaka no michi?], I called it Sushi.  And that's the one that hit, that thing became number 1 in Hawaii in two weeks.

Dick Clark. He, and Lloyd Thaxton, they both played my record, yeah?  That record.  And the kids were dancing to it.  And I wasn't even working, I was just watching the TV, you know?  I didn't even have a job.  And to work in Hawaii, I couldn't play that song, you see?  Because the managers of all the hotels, strictly, you know, demanded that you play only Hawaiian music, and no other kind of music.  So I was playing at the Moana Hotel, with the trio, you know, during the Sunset hour, that was my first job on Waikiki.  Lloyd Thaxton came to the stage, he said, "You're Ota-san?"  I said, "yeah."  He say, "You wanna play 'Sushi' for me?"  I looked at him, I knew who he was or anything, I say "I cannot play that song." Hahaha!...

[Play music]

Something like that, I don't remember.  Hahaha!

Date: August 2012
Location: Hawai`i, US
Interviewer: John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

dick clark hawaii Lloyd Thaxton music musician record ukulele

Itadakimasu 2! Another Taste of Nikkei Culture

Read the Itadakimasu 2! stories >>

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation