Eastern VMAs a first for cabler

TOKYO — Japan’s latest hip hop and rap group Rip Slyme came away the big winners of MTV’s first ever MTV Video Music Awards Japan May 24 in Tokyo.

They nabbed the New Artist and the Hip Hop/Rap categories.

Other awards went to old favorites. Japanese superstar Ayumi Hamazaki won Female Performer and Male performer went to Ken Hirai.

Pop band Mr. Children was crowned for Video based on their song “Kimi ga suki” (I Love You) while Japanese rock group Dragon Ash took the Rock award.

The honors for Group and Dance went to non-Japanese entries, Backstreet Boys and The Chemical Brothers, respectively.

Oasis secured Best Live Performance based on their set during the previous day’s MTV Super Dry Live event when hundreds of Tokyo fans also saw Rip Slyme and Jay-Z.

MTV is Japan’s second-largest music channel reaching almost 3.5 million via satellite and cable. It is on the verge of overtaking local rival, Space Shower, to become No. 1 only 18 months after its re-launch in January 2001. A previous unsuccessful setup with a local partner was ended in 1998.

MTV Japan is “one of our most important regional channels,” says MTV Networks Intl. prexy Bill Roedy who flew into Tokyo to oversee the event, one of ten international MTV awards shows.

MTV sees a bright future in Japan. “It’s the source of cool and a leader in youth culture,” says Roedy.

The Japan outfit also contributes heavily in creative and technical fields to MTV’s worldwide programming.

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