Hiroshima (Hiroshima Inc.)

Hiroshima, alas, is not a Hawaii group per se, but islanders of a certain age will recall when "Hawaiian Electric" from the group's 1987 album, "Go," was heard almost 24/7 as the theme music for a Hawaiian Electric Co. ad campaign. And, as long as expatriate Kimo Cornwell is Hiroshima's pianist/keyboard player, the group will have that link to Hawaii as well.

As for the title, this is indeed a departure for the group, which also includes founding members Dan Kuramoto (wind instruments/percussion), June Kuramoto (koto) and Danny Yamamoto (drums/percussion) plus Dean Cortez (bass) and Shoji Kameda (taiko/percussion). After more than 30 years as recording artists Hiroshima founded its own record label and distribution network. Although venturing into new territory on the business front, the band's ever-popular blend of Asian and Western instruments remains intact and as enchanting as ever.

June Kuramoto's koto and Cornwell's keyboards and synthesizers define two instrumental contrasts — one Asian and organic, the other Western and electronic. The group's skill at blending those disparate elements and building on them pays off once again.

The contrasting melodic textures of koto and harmonica (the latter played by guest artist Tetsuya "Tex" Nakamura) open the album on an intriguing note. Harmonica isn't heard on any subsequent selections but the interplay between the koto, the rhythm section, and Dan Kuramoto's shakuhachi and assorted Western wind instruments makes each of them distinct.

"Yamasong Duet," featuring Kameda on taiko and Yamamoto on Western drums and percussion, is a dramatic departure from the standard smooth jazz/new age format and taps a different part of Hiroshima's musical foundation.

Beautiful new arrangements of two older selections — "Thousand Cranes" and "One Wish" — complete the collection.

"Departure" is available at, iTunes, and CDBaby.


John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for nearly 40 years. Contact him via email at