David Bowie – Crystal Jun Rock, The Garden Version (Japanese TV Ad, March 1980)

March 31st, 2020 | by Nick

David Bowie • Crystal Jun Rock • The Garden Version • Japanese TV Ad • March 1980

This video is a new restoration of a thirty-second Japanese TV Ad from 1980, featuring David Bowie.

The following is from From Roger Griffin’s magnificent book:

“David Bowie The Golden Years”

Crystal Jun Rock
Television Commercial
Kyoto, Japan

With the bulk of the Scary Monsters backing tracks complete, Bowie accepted an invitation to promote Crystal Jun Rock, a brand of shochu (a Japanese distilled spirit similar to vodka) made by Takara Shuzo Co. Ltd. He would appear in several television commercials, speak four words – ‘Crystal Jun Rock Japan’ and provide the music. The shoot took place over two weeks at a temple in Kyoto.

In Japan he was asked why he agreed to do the commercial:
Bowie: There are three reasons, the first one being that no one has ever asked me to do it before. And the money is a very useful thing [spoken in Japanese]. And the third, I think it’s very effective that my music is on television 20 times a day. I think my music isn’t for radio.
Did you write the music for the commercial?
Bowie: Yes, this is the important point and the reason I agreed to do the commercial. It’s a very slow one. I didn’t use bass or drums so it’s very different from anything I have done before. It will be included in my next album. I don’t drink while I work so I didn’t drink while I wrote this one, of course.

Takara Shuzo was initially disappointed that Bowie didn’t actually sing on the soundtrack he submitted, Fuji Moto San, which he retitled Crystal Japan. But the elegant commercials and the print campaign had the desired effect, increasing demand for Crystal Jun Rock.

At least four Crystal Jun Rock Japan Ads featuring David Bowie were produced. All of them were quite different from each other.

Several versions have been online for many years, mostly in poor quality. The so called “Garden Version” had not previously been online, and was entirely unknown to me. It surfaced in 2017 as part of a Japanese documentary, whose title translated into English is, I think :

KYOTO, the Place David Bowie Loved

The ad was in great quality, but had contemporary text written over it, as part of the documentary. “Removing” the text was quite a challenge, and I recently produced a small video illustrating how, with digital editing the Ad could be restored to it’s original form:

I had intended to dub over the original soundtrack of the ad, with the contemporary remastered version of Crystal Japan. However, when it came to it I discovered to my surprise that Crystal Japan in the ad is actually a different version – or at least a quite different mix – to the released one. And so I left as is, and merely tweaked the soundtrack of the ad with a little EQ.

Thanks for watching, hope you dig it!


Video Source:
Crystal Jun Rock • Japanese Shochu Liquor TV Advert • Takara Shuzo Co. Limited • March 1980

David Bowie • Crystal Japan • Recorded at the Scary Monsters sessions, New York City • 1980 • Music and Production by David Bowie & Tony Visconti

Originally released on as a 7” single on RCA Japan (SS-3270) • July 1980

Always more videos to follow, so please keep your electric eye on me babe!

I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money out of this etc. Just a fan making videos for other fans.


#DavidBowie #TonyVisconti #CrystalJapan #ScaryMonsters #Kyoto #Japan #1980

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