This Month in Music History – February 18, 1933: Yoko Ono Born in Tokyo, Japan

Yoko Ono has always seemed to be a very divisive figure among Beatle fans. For far longer than she was married to rock icon John Lennon, the court of popular opinion has, for very few legitimate reasons, pointed an accusatory finger at the Japanese artist. Yoko Ono, for her part, has taken the criticism with commendable class and dignity that has ever been seen. We here at LBJBR wish Yoko a very happy birthday. It was on this month in music history, February 18, 1933, to be exact, Ms. Ono was born in Tokyo, Japan.

Yoko Ono Concept Art

An old world was careening wildly to its destruction while the new one, including our birthday girl, was still very much in diapers. The war would leave just as many scars just as deep for Ms. Ono and her generation as it did its European foes. After the devastation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to bring World War II to an all but close, the once indomitable imperial empire was now very vulnerable and, more importantly, reachable in the nuclear age.

The children who grew up in strife, conflict, and war, would forever in the immediate, pushing forward, taking or asking for very little opportunity to stop and take in the world around them. It might not even be here tomorrow. No sense getting needlessly attached.

Yoko’s story of survival during war read like this, via Wikipedia:


“Starvation (During WWII) was rampant in the destruction that followed the Tokyo bombings; the Ono family was forced to beg for food while pulling their belongings with them in a wheelchair. Ono said it was during this period in her life that she developed her “aggressive” attitude and understanding of “outsider” status. Other stories tell of her mother bringing a large number of goods with them to the countryside, where they were bartered for food. In one anecdote, her mother traded a German-made sewing machine for 60 kilograms (130 lb) of rice to feed the family.

After the war ended, Yoko was back in school, the product of a prominent pre-war banker father and concert pianist mother, Ms. Ono “…found herself a classmate of Prince Akihito, the future emperor of Japan.”

In the mid-1950s, Yoko would leave Japan to join her parents in America, her father’s work necessitating the movie. She settled in with them in Scarsdale, New York, which according to Ms. Ono’s Wikipedia page, lay a mere 25 miles from the city center of Manhattan, where Ms. Ono found her spiritual home.

She gravitated to the New York art scene and began networking and displaying her art in showings. She would eventually cross paths and the rest, as they say, is history.

Time has proven Ms. Ono had very little to with the Beatles break up. They were headed for that path long before she was even on the scene.

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