Tributes have been paid to the Japanese record store owner Naoki Iijima, who built a strong reputation as a dedicated champion of the Bristol music scene.
Iijima, who founded Disk Shop Zero in Tokyo in 1993, passed away on February 11 at the age of 48 following a battle with cancer.
A renowned supporter of the Bristol music scene, Iijima began collecting records by musicians based in the city in the 1980s, ensuring that Disk Shop Zero became the biggest stockist of Bristol-made records outside the UK.
Bristol Evening Post article from 1999
In 2015, Iijima co-founded the party and label BSO, which was dedicated to “the spirit of Bristolians and music from Bristol”.
A Facebook page, Raising Funds For Naoki DSZ, has been set up by Smith & Mighty’s Rob Smith, who also records and produces under the name RSD.
The page, which is supported by Save Bristol Nightlife, explains that a special tribute compilation of music by Bristol-based artists who Iijima championed during his lifetime is currently being readied, with all the proceeds from the record going directly to Iijima’s family.
Tributes to Iijima have been posted online since his death last week. The Bristol producer and DJ Kahn praised Iijima as “one of the kindest, most generous people and the biggest champion and lover of Bristolian music I ever met”.
You can see a selection of the tributes to Naoki Iijima below.
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We have lost a great friend today. One of the kindest, most generous people and the biggest champion and lover of Bristolian music I ever met. Naoki San was loved by all the artists he came into contact with here in Bristol, and for decades he and his lovely family had been coming back and forth visiting and making connections and long lasting friendships. He devoted his life to music and was a great ambassador for Bristolian music in particular through his amazing record shop Disc Shop Zero in Tokyo, which was the most extensive library of music and culture from all different periods of Bristol history that I’d ever seen. When we were first starting out and releasing our early records, Naoki was one of the first people to promote us (especially in Japan) and was consistently supportive of our music from the beginning. I remember him coming all the way over to London to catch an early Young Echo event at the legendary (but now extinct) Plastic People club where he was filming and documenting it all. He was always just so supportive and excited by the music coming out of our city. Naoki was also paramount in helping organise the first Kahn & Neek tour in Japan back in 2015, and we had the pleasure of staying with him and his family in Tokyo where he showed us around the city and was so hospitable to us. A lot of people in our community are truly devastated by this loss today and that’s a testament to the character of the man and the many friends he made through his passion and generosity of spirit. Never to be forgotten, his legacy will most certainly live on. There are plans already underway to release a massive collection of music from the many artists that he befriended over the years, with all proceeds going to Naoki’s family. I’ll post more information as soon as I have it for those that want to support in this difficult time. Sending my heart felt love + condolences to the family ?
We are so sad that everything happened so quickly and we couldn't get there in time to give you our message of love and blessings but we know you feel the love and that you will rest in blessed peace. You were someone very special and we love you and thank you for your friendship and dedication to the music. Nobody knows and understands our music like you know our music. We send love and sympathy to all Naoki's friends and family and especially the girls and his beloved wife Miwako. Always there for you. <3
Posted by Raising Funds For Naoki DSZ on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
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The picture above was taken last week for our friend Naoki E-Jima. We recently found out he was very sick but we didn’t know how long he had, doctors said it could be up to a year so we all wanted to show how much he meant to us. Tonight Naoki passed away. His passion and knowledge for Bristol music is beyond most. Almost everyone in this picture has played for him either at one of his @bs0tokyo events or knows him in some special way. So if you have a glass tonight, raise it to Naoki, who will be missed. A true fighter, did things his way and a man with a big heart. Thankfully he was able to see this print before he left us. We all send condolences to his family in Tokyo. RIP NAOKI E – JIMA ❤️ Not everyone could make the photo session but here's the bunch that did: From left to right – Peverelist – Beavis – Addison Groove – Annie McGann – Josh Hughes Games – Kahn -Flynn Ites – Rider Shafique – DJ Die – Rob Smith RSD – Stryda – Rat -Rudey Lee – Liam Duggan – Andy Scholes – Sam Binga – Andy Jenks – Gabba – Ray Mighty – Peter D Rose – Guy Calhoun
Sean from The Moonflowers doesn't use facebook much but he sent this message: For NaokiIt’s is with great sadness we…
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This morning we got news of the heartbreaking passing of Naoki Dsz E-jima – we are so sad that we never got to meet in person, and so grateful that we had such a warm and generous and steadfast supporter of our works in Japan. We always intended to make it to Tokyo one day, and while we still hope to, there will be a massive hole where we hoped to find our friend. One love to all of his family and friends in their immeasurable grief. Inna lilahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un.