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Thousands Turn Out for Rock Singer’s Funeral

April 30, 1992

TOKYO (AP) _ Tens of thousands of young Japanese, many carrying flowers or tape players, attended the funeral Thursday of a 26-year-old rock singer known for his protest songs.

Yutaka Ozaki died Saturday after being found unconcious and apparently intoxicated on a Tokyo street. The cause of death was listed as fluid in his lungs.

Japanese youths are not known for mounting protests. But Ozaki’s songs decrying the tight regulations governing high school students’ dress, hair styles and after-class activities were highly popular.

Police said 37,500 people gathered in the rain at Tokyo’s Gokokuji Temple for Ozaki’s funeral. They said thousands waited overnight at the temple gate.

Jun Nohara, 17, said he and a friend skipped school classes and rode two hours by train to the temple. Nohara left a pack of cigarettes in memory of the singer. Others left flowers, beer and cigars.

Ozaki’s reputation as a rebel was enhanced by an 18-month prison sentence he served on a drug possession conviction in 1987.

On Wednesday, a man in his 20s jumped to his death from a nine-story apartment building in front of Ozaki’s home. He left no note, but newspapers identified him as an Ozaki fan.

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