Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman has written the Japan heritage official theme song. The track, which can be heard below, was performed by Friedman and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, with strings arranged by Akira Sasaki, bass played by Kiyoshi, piano by Yukiko Takada, tsuzumi by Shonosuke Okura, and drums by Mitsuru Kurauchi. The track won't be officially released or made available for purchase.
Says Friedman: "It was a thrill and an honor to be asked by the Japanese government to compose this music. It will be played and performed at official events and functions from now on.
"As a foreigner living in Tokyo, I'll always appreciate the gracious treatment I've received here and welcome this kind of responsibility in the future."
In November 2016, Friedman was named an ambassador to Japan heritage for the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo. The mantle involves him promoting important elements of cultural heritage, such as dance and cuisine.
Friedman believes a reason he was chosen is because he can talk about Japan as an insider. "It's one thing for a Japanese person to explain what Japan's like," he told Billboard. "But it's another thing for someone who grew up in America to tell you."
In July 1999, Friedman was onstage performing at Woodstock '99 in front of a sea of fans as the lead guitarist for MEGADETH. Since joining the band in 1990, Marty played a crucial role in their rise to stardom with his unorthodox style of virtuoso guitar playing, selling millions of records worldwide, and being nominated for multiple Grammy Awards. Just six months after Woodstock, in an unexpected move that shocked his friends, family, and especially his bandmates, despite platinum albums and sold-out tours, for reasons unknown, he suddenly quit the band and walked away from it all. Unbeknownst to his U.S. fans, Marty moved to Tokyo to pursue his love of Japanese pop music, and in the process, reinvented himself as a wildly successful Japanese TV celebrity. Marty has appeared on 700-plus television programs, commercials and motion pictures since then, and become was dubbed "the Ryan Seacrest of Japan" by Billboard magazine in the USA.
Friedman is continuing to tour in support of his latest solo LP, "Wall Of Sound", which was released last August via Prosthetic Records. The disc was produced by Friedman, engineered by Paul Fig (GHOST, RUSH, ALICE IN CHAINS) and mixed by Jens Bogren (KREATOR, OPETH, SEPULTURA).