Can you tell me where Aneka has gone?
She misses her Japanese boy

Mary Sandeman isn’t an instantly memorable pop star name is it! But, Mary can lay claim to a number one smash hit single in the early 1980’s before disappearing, possibly with the person in question in that very song. Tonight, Mary Sandeman IS Aneka!

Born in Edinburgh in 1947, Mary trained as a folk singer in the 1960’s and performed traditional Scottish music during the 1970’s. But in 1981, she ‘flipped out’ and assigned herself the name Aneka, after seeing it in a telephone directory(!) She donned some Japanese costumes and put a stick in her hair and went off to Elektra Records where fellow Scotsman Bob Heatlie (b.1946) fashioned an anthem to suit her new identity and thus, “Japanese Boy” was written and recorded for her global debut.


The song was released in July 1981 and would go to number one in the UK, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland as well has charting top ten in pretty much most of the rest of the world, apart from America, where it stopped just short at No.15. Aneka followed this success with her self-titled debut album, although the novelty value was not so generous as with the single. And it seemed that Aneka would join the list of stars who can call themselves ‘one hit wonders’, as “Japanese Boy” would be her one and only.

Subsequent releases failed to reach the dizzy heights of “Japanese Boy” with the follow up, “Little Lady”, making the top ten in Finland and Austria and “Ooh Shooby Doo Doo Lang” pretty much flopping everywhere. Aneka released two more singles, “Heart To Beat” in 1983 and “Rose, Rose, I Love You” in 1984, before calling it a day. Aneka was consigned to the dustbin and Mary Sandeman rediscovered herself once more and recorded the album “Reflections On Scotland” in 1991.


Since then, Mary has pretty much retired from life. She popped up on a TV documentary in 2006 about one hit wonders and revealed that “Japanese Boy” has sold over five million copies worldwide! Mary enjoys family life and is a grandmother now and is even rumoured to be working as a tour guide in Stirling, Scotland! Head on up if you dare to track down the lady that is responsible for one of the most unique and ‘individual’ songs in pop music history!

aneka Mary Sandeman 2021

Stay in touch with Aneka/Mary

Take a look at our other Where Are They Now? posts or find out more here.