Credits

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, June 1, 2012

Kiyohiko Ozaki -- Mata Au Hi Made (また逢う日まで)




Just saw on NHK News this morning of the passing of Kiyohiko Ozaki(尾崎紀世彦). It was a bit of a surprise since he had left us just at the age of 69, but he had been suffering from liver cancer. He'd had a career spanning beyond 30 years but his most famous hit was "Mata Au Hi Made"(Until We Meet Again) released in March 1971.

Right from the start, Ozaki had a larger-than-life presence. Known for his tuxedo, huge sideburns and his booming voice, he definitely stood out on the stage. Though even his most ardent female Japanese fans wouldn't have thrown their underwear to him, he was often known as the Japanese version of Welsh singer Tom Jones. Strangely enough, he does have a personal link with the UK since his father was half-Japanese, half-British.

The song was once again the product of Yu Aku(阿久悠)and Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平). Originally meant as a jingle for a Sanyo air conditioner commercial, the song underwent two changes in titles and lyrics, it was third-time lucky when they finally found the right singer (ah...actually, it was a tad more complicated than that). Indeed, Ozaki's 2nd single spent 9 weeks from May to July 1971 at the top spot, and was the 3rd-ranking song of the year. It also earned the Grand Prize at the Japan Record Awards and became a million seller.


The video above shows a young Ozaki at the Japan Record Awards performing his signature tune. My personal thought about the song is that this was the right song for him. With that voice of his, he could convey that feeling of hope despite the parting that is described in the lyrics. And what a great title for a singer to leave this mortal coil on.

16 comments:

  1. Dear Mr. Canuck,
    Thank you very much for your reaction on the death of my favorite singer Kiyohiko Ozaki. I didn't know some of the details of the origin of Mata au hi made.
    In 1973 I heard for the first time a fragment of Mata au hi made in a Japanese movie I saw on Dutch television. A Japanese acquaintance of mine asked his father in Yokohama to buy me an album of Mr. Ozaki, and since then he has been my favorite singer. In 2009, 36 years after I heard him singing for the first time, I was fortunate enough to go to his concerts in Hiroshima and Nagoya. It was really unforgettable, and I was very sad when I heard about his death. He will be my favorite singer until my dying day!

    Yours sincerely,
    Mieke de Koning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Mr. de Koning, thank you very much for your comments. You were very fortunate to have seen Mr. Ozaki in concert a few years ago. I think amongst the kayo kyoku I've heard over the decades, "Mata Au Hi Made" will stand out as one of the favourites.

    If I'm not mistaken, Ozaki had also sung the Japanese version of "The Godfather" theme. He definitely owned that song, and my first thought on watching the original movie with Marlon Brando for the first time was "Why is there a Japanese song in a Hollywood movie?"

    But you are right....he did leave us too soon. But he left a fine legacy with this song.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Stationed aboard the USS Ajax AR-6 August 1971 thru January 1972, this was my favorite song. The stand bar i hung out at had this record and when there, i had them play it repeatedly. Glad i found this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello there, and thanks for your comments. Even after 40 years, this song still has a place in a lot of people's hearts not just in Japan. I actually had a colleague who used to serve aboard the Blue Ridge who liked this song as well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. eu sou brasileira e sou fã dele. tenho 54 anos ele e seu maior sucesso trazem lindas lembranças da minha vida.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ola, beth roma! Muito obrigado por seus comentarios.

      And unfortunately, that is the only Portuguese I know. But I was able to translate and understand your kind comments into English. I'm happy to hear that the late Mr. Ozaki's song could bring so much happiness to you. Thank you very kindly!

      Please feel free to comment again.

      Delete
  7. I have just known him from last 4 days by chance. Surprisingly, I watch his VDO from you tube everyday.

    Mr. Kiyohiko Ozaki has a very distinguish voice with the power a lot. I found out 2 days later that he passed away. I recommended 2-3 links in youtube for frineds and put it on my FB as well. He is really distinguish male vocalist.

    By the way, thank you for your effort to update his information to public. I learned from this page that he got his cancer at least 30 years before he passed away. it is alos hard to believe.

    Thank you for your useful infotmation.
    Warm regards,
    Bangkok Thailand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very kindly for your comments. According to the news coverage I saw on the national broadcaster, NHK, of his passing last year, Mr. Ozaki was regarded very warmly. I think he left a fine legacy.

      Delete
  8. I first bought a "cassette" in the 80's from Mr. Ozaki's music, in my state of Texas, because I saw a heartwarming face on the cover of the cassette. Ever since then ~ I love/loved his voice, his songs. I memorized them . When I met a friend in Japan and I sang a few lyrics, she enjoyed that I knew his music. I've shared my love for his music, with some of my best friends in Russia, America, and Mexico. Unfortunately, I did not know of his passing in 2012. Such a loss . . He music will "always" remain my favorite!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Cori. And thanks very much for your warm comments about Mr. Ozaki. "Mata Au Hi Made" is one of my nostalgia songs with a capital "N". Although I don't remember ever hearing it when I first visited Japan in 1972, hearing this song always reminds me of that first trip as a 6-year-old.

      Apparently, according to the other comments I've gotten about him and this song, they were both very much loved in various parts of the world. I'm very warmed by that thought. And I think a lot of Japanese would be surprised and delighted to realize that a lot of folks outside of the country actually enjoy and love kayo kyoku.

      Anyways, keep on commenting and thanks for becoming a follower! :)

      Delete
  9. Ozaki, was a favorite of mine from the early 70s when I was stationed in Okinawa, I purchased every album, and loved them. I listen to him all the time on You Tube, and it brings back so many memories of the good times in Okinawa, he was fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi there, and thanks for your comments. It seems like amongst the singers during that time, Ozaki had quite an international reach according to the comments I've been getting. By chance, were there any other singers that you enjoyed listening to while you were in Okinawa?

    ReplyDelete
  11. He actually started out singing in a Hawaiian band(!), then in a country western band, and in a pop chorus group, before striking out on his own - not by his own choice but by insistent record producers who had heard about this amazing singer. He also sung lots of American pops, movie theme music, and jazz. He was phenomenal in every genre. You will find a ton of youtube videos if you'd search for Kiyohiko Ozaki or paste 尾崎紀世彦 in the search box. Here's one gem called "Kokoro Moyoh"from his later years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lghbdDuDuTI

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi J!

    I'm watching the FNS Kayousai now, and this song came up, and I got really intrigued. The singer was quite good looking, and the song is incredibly heart tugging.

    I looked it up and your article was the 2nd to come up! :D

    Its sad knowing he left quite soon. I love this song, and is now part of my permanent Kayo Kyoku playlist.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Yuie-chan!

      It's one of the most heartwarming kayo that I've known. Yes, Ozaki left us too soon but he left the Japanese with a truly evergreen song.

      Delete

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