I'll start by writing about one of my favorite Japanese vocalists, and also one of the first I came across; Fuji Keiko.
I think I can assume she is known at least by name to most of those interested in showa era japanese pop music. It seems most around my generation know her through her daughter Utada Hikaru, but I'm actually not familiar with any of Hikaru's music.
Most english language sources tend to refer to Keiko as an enka singer, but to me she is more just kayo kyoku, or as many a Tokyo record store categorizes her albums under, "Mood Kayo," though there is certainly an overlap, and some tracks of hers come pretty close to pure enka.
Here's her singing "面影平野” in 1978. It seems she is surprised before the performance by her grandmother from Hokkaido being brought on stage. A conversation follows that I understand maybe a quarter of.
I'm still kicking myself for being a cheapskate and talking myself out of buying the Fuji Keiko collected LP I saw during my last trip to Japan, thinking I'd find it somewhere else in tokyo cheaper. I did manage to snag some of my favorite singles of hers though.
It would seem impossible to write about her without mentioning her relatively recent death under unfortunate circumstances... of which I'm not sure what to say except what a loss. It's been addressed in other places more in depth and by better writers than myself.
Next time maybe I'll talk about an Idol, or a punk band, or Murata Hideo.