7 August 2020
Yogetsu Akasaka, a Japanese musician and formally trained Buddhist monk, has become a viral phenomenon with tracks marrying religious chanting with beat-boxing. Akasaka has long been interested both in music and religion. He began beatboxing around 15 years ago, buying a looping machine in 2009 to help him build layered sounds.
His Heart Sutra Looping Remix, featuring the 37-year-old dressed in the formal robes worn by Buddhist monks at funerals, has been viewed on YouTube more than half a million times since it was posted in May. The idea came to him during the state of emergency imposed in Japan over the coronavirus pandemic. He also hopes that by combining his two passions, he can offer a fresh perspective on Buddhism to younger people, particularly in Japan, where he says the religion is largely associated with death and funeral rites.
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