by Chris MaGee
I'd seen stories and YouTube videos of 27-year-old Pittsburgh-born Jerome Charles White, Jr. (above right) better known as Jero many times before. The former information science major has become a real celebrity in Japan for singing traditional enka songs. His first single, a cover of the old enka classic "Umiyuki (Ocean Snow)" debuted at number 4 on the Japanese charts and his subsequent album "Covers" has become a huge seller.
Of course this is the J-Film Pow-Wow and not the J-Music Pow-Wow, so we've never had a reason to run a story on Jero before... that is until now. Tokyograph is reporting today that Jero will be making his acting debut alongside Tadanobu Asano, Kazuki Kitamura, Yoko Maki, and Yusuke Santamaria in Hideaki Hosono's upcoming screen adaptation of Kankuro Kudo's stage play "Donju (Dumb Animal". Jero's role in the film will be as a hired thug working for Kitamura's character, one of a group of friends searching for a less than intelligent writer named Dekogawa (Asano).
Oricon has three stills of the enka singer in character and for those of you who are interested in hearing why Jero has become such a huge hit in Japan check out the YouTube video below of him singing his big hit "Umiyuki".