Ranko Fujisawa, like most Japanese after World War II was virtually starving…she sang in a club frequented by American troops but the spare change she was offered was barely enough to eat….after Japan’s surrender she and her family had been part of 5 million Japanese who were repatriated to a Japan devoid of infrastructure and food-producing capacities…General McArthur took urgent steps to provide free food to the Japanese population…some of the first ships to arrive were two Argentine ships full of wheat…in gratitude, the governor of the province arranged a celebration for them and summoned Ranko to sing tangos…the first tango she sang was the classic “Caminito” composed by the renown Juan  De Dios Filiberto…the sailors were ecstatic and in gratitude the captain of the ship agreed to help arrange a performance for Ranko back in Buenos Aires…a few years later Ranko found herself  singing at the Teatro Discepolo in Buenos Aires  accompanied by the legendary, Anibal Troilo; in the audience was the president of the republic, Juan Peron


The performance was so successful that several radio stations began vying for her talent; she accepted an offer from Radio Splendid….she returned the following year for a two month radio contract and recorded “Mama, Queiro Un Novio” with the Anibal Troilo Orchestra…that same year was published her autobiography “A Foreigner in Tango”….as a child she had studied piano and voice and her parents hoped that she would become an opera singer…at the age of 24 she happened to hear the Orchestra Tipica de Tokyo play “La Cumparsita” and she was immensely moved; she decided that tango would be her life’s goal…she would also marry its director Shimpei Hayakawa…in 1950 she made her debut at the “Ciro Club” in Ginza, Japan and two years later she made her first recording….among the highlights of her career are a 10 month tour of South American countries and February of 1981 a performance in Japan accompanied by Horacio Salgan….her last performance was in September of 1991…she was featured in one argentine film “Viaje De Una Noche De Verano” in 1965


  1. Hello, I was looking for this singer, since I knew she visited Peru long ago. I have an old recording of an Peruvian “vals” (waltz) composed by a famous Peruvian composer and very close to my family. He died a while ago longing to see her again, his widow and children family survived him in Nagoya and I am sure they would love to know about her. If you do please let me know.
    Ana Maria Quispe

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