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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Peanuts -- Kawaii Hana (可愛い花)

Going really far back here. Not sure if some of you folks remember some of those Godzilla monster movies from the 50s and 60s. In a few of them, everyone's favourite mutant giant lizard had a friend-or-foe relationship with everyone's favorite giant moth, aptly named Mothra. Well, Mothra and her baby caterpillars were good buddies with a couple of tiny twin princesses. Whenever the pint-sized princesses needed kaiju help, they would yelp "MOTHRA----AH!", and the grubs would come running with spinnerets firing.

The princesses were played by the Ito twins, aka The Peanuts. Emi and Yumi (whose real names are Hideyo and Tsukiko respectively) were raised in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture and were discovered while working in a restaurant by Shin Watanabe(渡邊晋), the president of Watanabe Productions, a huge talent agency.

"Kawaii Hana"(Cute Flower) was The Peanuts' debut song, released in April 1959. It was a cover of jazz saxophonist Sidney Bechet's instrumental "Petite Fleur", which had been released in January 1952. The Peanuts' cover was given lyrics by Takashi Otowa(音羽たかし) and arranged by Hiroshi Miyagawa(宮川秦). Miyagawa would become even more famous several years later for composing the title march for the anime "Uchusenkan Yamato"宇宙戦艦ヤマト).

The Ito twins would become famous on TV and radio for nearly 20 years, not only singing pleasant Western pop melodies but appearing as hosts and guests on various musical-variety shows in Japan (as well as the Mothra gigs). They also appeared in America on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Danny Kaye Show.

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