Had the usual talk with my anime buddy last night over the phone. It's not new news but he complained again about the poor quality of coffee in Japan. My taste buds aren't nearly that refined so I am perfectly fine with the Japanese java, and frankly that was good, since especially when I became a freelance English teacher in my later years there, those coffeehouses were absolutely necessary for places to teach. I was pretty good with any place ranging from the 80s-style Renoir franchise to the newest Starbucks branch.
However for the discerning palate, I think, really, folks like my friend will need to go to the Mom & Pop places in Tokyo operated by coffee connoisseurs. They look like very fashionable bars with shelves of many kinds of coffee beans, and they serve their cups starting from about a little under a thousand yen. Good coffee, good atmosphere...they cost.
Now, that I've got you in the mood for a cuppa joe perhaps, I can talk about the song du article here. Actually, I got the idea to talk about it from doing the previous article regarding the lineup for the 1982 Kohaku Utagassen earlier today. One of the customs for the Kohaku shows from way back is that both the Red and White teams got together during one segment in the broadcast to do some of the beloved old kayo from decades past. You might say that it's like a mini-version of the regular NHK kayo shows.
Although I remember such a segment from the 1981 show, I don't remember the kayo segment from the 1982 edition. But J-Wiki has diligently put up the schedule for that show and apparently there was that segment. Naoko Ken & Hiroshi Itsuki（研ナオコ & 五木ひろし）along with Harumi Miyako & Keisuke Kuwata（都はるみ & 桑田佳祐）did their bit by singing the ditty "Ippai no Coffee kara" (Over A Cup of Coffee).
The original "Ippai no Coffee kara" was released in March 1939 with the singers being Noboru Kirishima and Misao Matsubara（霧島昇・松原操）who at the time was known as Miss Columbia（ミス・コロムビア）since her record company, the current Nippon Columbia, was trying to promote the young singer from Hokkaido. Written by Koh Fujiura（藤浦洸）and composed by Ryoichi Hattori（服部良一）, the song told a story about love blossoming for a couple while enjoying the java at a cafe. "Ippai no Coffee kara" may have been rather prescient since Kirishima and Matsubara would end up getting married to each other the same year. It's also interesting to note that Matsubara passed away less than 2 months after Kirishima's death in April 1984.
The above video has Kirishima performing the song with actress/singer Chieko Baisho（倍賞千恵子）from about 3:09.
According to J-Wiki, when Hattori was coming up with the melody, it had been titled as "Ippai no Beer kara"（一杯のビールから）which was fine with him as someone who appreciated the golden brew. However, lyricist Fujiura who wouldn't touch a drop of alcohol was far more of a coffee fan, and somehow the title got changed to the final "Ippai no Coffee kara". Just my opinion, but I think there is something more romantic and right about love over a cup of coffee rather than a mug of beer.
Also I found out from the J-Wiki article that the song stood out for its modern, jazzy beat that was unusual for the times. No other details were given but I can guess that at the time, the Japanese government was probably pushing more for military marches with a nationalistic bent.
J-Wiki even pointed out as a final piece of trivia that in 1939, a cup of coffee cost a whopping 15 sen, and there were 100 sen in 1 yen. I could imagine folks back in the early Showa era doing a spit-take on their cuppa on finding out the costs of a cup of coffee in Tokyo in the late Heisei era.