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.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Toshiyuki Nishida -- Moshimo Piano ga Hiketanara(もしもピアノが弾けたなら)

I first heard this cute little ditty on one of my Japanese school classmate's "The Best 10" videos decades ago with a papa panda-and-cub duo pretending to play on a piano in a sepia-toned salon while Nishida sang (no, I wasn't drinking at the time...."The Best 10"show was always known for giving its all when setting up live performances).

Toshiyuki Nishida's (西田敏行)day job is as an actor who's been in everything from samurai dramas to detective suspense shows. But the Fukushima Prefecture native is best known as Densuke Hamasaki, the fishing-crazy protagonist in the long movie franchise "Tsuribaka Nisshi"(釣りバカ日誌....The Fishing Maniac's Diary), and for those folks who did catch the live-action version of "Uchusenkan Yamato" (宇宙戦艦ヤマト....Space Battlecruiser Yamato), Nishida played Chief Engineer Tokugawa a couple of years ago.

But Nishida also dipped into the music world. He apparently covered a lot of the "Ultraman" themes from the 70s into the 80s (must be a fan), before he found himself a music star in 1981 with "Moshimo Piano ga Hiketanara"(If I Could Have Played The Piano). It was penned by Yu Aku (阿久悠), who at the time felt sorry for the clumsy if well-meaning bungler in Japanese society (most kind of you, sir), and decided to write a song in support. The title and lyrics refer to one such bungler (Nishida was the perfect choice for that type of role) who wistfully sings his laments about not being able to express his heart to the one he secretly loves. The piano sounds like something Richard Clayderman or John Winston would love to play, and for that, thanks should be given to composer Koichi Sakata(坂田晃一).

Aku-san received a lyricists' award for this song. The song itself, released in April 1981, peaked at No. 4 on the Oricon charts and ended up being the 25th-ranked song of the year. A Gold Prize was also given at the Japan Record Awards.

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