Japan is home to many recycle and second-hand shops and one of the most famous chains – as much for its suggestive name as its ubiquity – is Hard Off. Founded in 1972, Hard Off stores can be found across the country, selling used furniture, clothes, toys, home appliances, musical instruments and more.
Yusuke Nagata, Hard Off Ambassador and manager of the Kurume Kokubu branch in Fukuoka, found a way to combine his job with his passion for music. After business hours, he transforms the store into a budget music studio and performs a variety of songs using damaged instruments and other objects from the shop.
He’s covered hit songs by girl band AKB 48, Japanese rock band X Japan, J-Pop star Ayumi Hamasaki and many others. Nagata has been doing these covers for quite a while now, including at his previous store in Fukuoka’s You Me Mall Chikugo.
Not only does Nagata sing, play and record all of the instruments himself, he also films and edits the music videos, uploading them to the store’s YouTube channel. And they’re a huge hit. A recent cover of X Japan’s signature tune ‘Rusty Nail’ has over 4 million views and band leader Yoshiki even reached out to Nagata on Twitter.
Check out the videos below to see what Nagata gets up to after hours.
X Japan – ‘Rusty Nail’
AKB 48 – ‘Heavy Rotation’
L’Arc-en-Ciel – ‘Ready Steady Go’
(Anime fans will recognise this as one of the opening songs of Fullmetal Alchemist).
Medley of Attack on Titan anime songs
Nagata updates the store’s YouTube channel once a month, but you can also check his personal YouTube account, which is updated more regularly with new songs.
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