I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Iruka -- Ame no Monogatari (雨の物語)

When I first started listening to "The Sounds of Japan" on CHIN-FM back in 1982, the first program I taped directly off the radio had the theme of rain. Junko Yagami's "Mizuiro no Ame" was the second song. But this was the first song I heard. Now, after having heard a lot of aidoru and technopop over the past year since my trip to Japan, "Ame no Monogatari" was a revelation. Iruka(イルカ) (nee Toshie Hosaka...保坂としえ) has this soft yet resonant delivery for her genre of folk and light pop. The bluesy electric guitar intro grabbed me right from the start which then led into the singer's tale from a man's point of view about his feelings for his lover during a rainstorm outside. And then the strings come in during the refrain which gives the song a further richer feeling. As you may tell, this song remains a special one for me.

"Ame no Monogatari" was released in March 1977, and peaked at No. 16, ending up at No. 34 in the yearly rankings. It was written and composed by Shozo Ise(伊勢正三), a member of the most famous folk band in Japan, Kaguyahime(かぐや姫), which was responsible for arguably one of the most recognized folk songs in the early 70s, "Kandagawa"神田川)。

Iruka means "dolphin" in Japanese, and Hosaka earned it after some of her friends noticed her walking with her guitar case and thought that she looked like the animal. I guess I had to be there.


  1. Truly, this song is an instant classic !

    And once again, Chikuzen Satô didn't miss the chance to revive it in his album "ウタヂカラ ~ CORNERSTONES 4 ~", as for several other songs that you talked about on this blog (you should have a common good taste with this guy ! ^_^).

    1. Hello again, Le singe!

      Yep, "Ame no Monogatari" is one of my favourites. I actually have Sato's very first "CORNERSTONES", but I've got one of the tracks from "CORNERSTONES 4", his great cover of "Hatsukoi" by Kozo Murashita, on another CD by a piano-playing duo called Futaba.

    2. Hello J,

      In Chikuzen Sato's 2007 cover album, "Ame no Monogatari" and "Hatsukoi" are the two songs that received the same kind of jazz-fusion rearrangement with an equally subtle and powerful result.

      I shoudn't dare to say it surpasses the original, but... well, according to the mood of the day...
      Just have a look on YouTube and feel it by yourself.

    3. Hi again. Thanks for introducing Sato's cover of "Ame no Monogatari".

      I listened to it just now and it is marvelous. He can definitely weave some arranging magic. But I think at this point, my allegiances will still be with Iruka. However, I gotta say that choosing between Sato's version of "Hatsukoi" and the Murashita original is truly difficult for me.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.