Hideki Saijo, a singer and actor who became a national star in the 1970s in Japan with songs such as "Young Man" and "Kizudarake no Laura (Laura with a thousand cuts)," died yesterday due to heart failure, his office said, Mainichi daily reported. He was 63.
He was also well known in Hong Kong.
A native of Hiroshima city, Saijo debuted to stardom in 1972, and became popular among younger audiences. Along with singers Hiromi Go and Goro Noguchi, Saijo was called "Shin Gosanke (The New Select Three)."
NHK reported that he was also popular in other Asian countries.
He performed at a concert held just before the 1988 Seoul Olympics, becoming the first Japanese to sing in the Japanese language at a public venue in South Korea since the end of World War Two.
In 1998, he sang at the Great Wall of China in an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Japan-China peace and friendship treaty, NHK said.
Saijo made appearances in the TV comedy series "Terauchi Kantaro Ikka" featuring a traditional Japanese family. His film, "Ai to Makoto (Love and Sincerity)" was a blockbuster.
Saijo suffered strokes in 2003 and 2011 but remained active professionally, making efforts to overcome illness through rigorous rehabilitation programs, Mainichi reports.