Tokyo Pop and Carrie Hamilton Featured

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  • Saturday, 25 February 2023 00:12
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Tokyo Pop and Carrie Hamilton Photographs by Bob Gruen

Tokyo Pop and Carrie Hamilton

Legendary Rock Photographer Bob Gruen in Japan

A friend of mine from high school wrote and directed the movie Tokyo Pop. She brought me to Tokyo to be the stills photographer for the film, and that’s where I met Carrie Hamilton. She plays a young girl who becomes a singer in a Japanese rock band and finds her own path. Tokyo Pop co-starred Yutaka Tadokoro, now known to millions of people across Japan as Diamond Yukai, and features actress Toki Shiozawa and wrestler Dump Matsumoto. Filmed in 1986 on location in Tokyo, Tokyo Pop explores what life in Tokyo was like back then, especially for an American girl and a rock and roll band trying to make it.

Carrie’s character, Wendy, leaves New York because she’s tired of being just a background singer, and after some difficulties in Tokyo, she meets Hiro (Diamond Yukai) and joins his band. They accidentally become famous when a misunderstood photo of them with the professional wrestler Dump Matsumoto goes viral. Eventually, Wendy realizes that fame is fleeting and that she does not belong in Japan. She returns to New York, but with the confidence to be her own person and to write and sing on her own. It’s a comedy, but also very much a story of female empowerment, which is rare in rock and roll. I understand from the director, Fran Kuzui, that there are plans to re-release the film soon.

I stayed in touch with Carrie after Tokyo Pop, and when I saw her, she was often with an eclectic group of friends – artists of all different sorts, lively, productive, positive people. She was one of the most open and forthright people I’ve ever known: fearless, in the moment, real.


The complete article can be found in Issue #281 of the Tokyo Journal.

Written By:

Bob Gruen

Tokyo Journal columnist Bob Gruen is one of the most well known and respected photographers in Rock and Roll. By the mid 1970s he was already regarded as one of the foremost documenters of the music scene working with major artists such as John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Elton John, Kiss, Aerosmith, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, etc., and also covering the emerging New Wave and Punk bands including The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones & Blondie.


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