He Likes It Like That

Toshi Kubota always had a little bit of soul. Growing up in Japan's rural Shizuoka prefecture, where his parents still run a store near Mount Fuji, he watched Soul Train and, despite poor radio reception, strained to hear stations that played rhythm and blues.

Kubota has chiseled good looks, bedroom eyes, dreadlocks and hysterical, fainting female fans. In other words, he's a star in Japan. His current, almost impossible dream: to be the next big thing to hit the rhythm and blues music scene in America. "When people look at me, I am not sure if they want to listen to my...

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