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 29, 2012

Saburo Tokito -- Yuuki no Shirushi (勇気のしるし)

Years before Red Bull would smash into the nightclubs and study rooms of the world, there was Regain. The black-and-yellow vitamin drink still exists in Japan but over 20 years ago, one commercial and one song for this drink would have everyone marching gleefully whether or not they bought the stuff. I remember it even made it onto CNN as part of a report on the state of the Japanese economy which was starting to enter its quarter-century of recession.

The only other Saburo Tokito (時任三郎)song I have in the blog up to now was his debut song in 1981, the bluesy ballad "Kawa no Nagare wo Daite Nemuritai"川の流れをだいて眠りたい). About a decade later, Tokito would achieve another sort of pop fame by becoming the Ultimate Japanese Businessman/Ultra Daimyo, Saburota Ushiwakamaru(牛若丸三郎太). He challenged viewers with this popular catchphrase, "Can you battle it out for 24 hours?" The above is the commercial that made it all possible.

This is the full 3-minute version of "Yuuki no Shirushi"(The Badge of Courage)which was released as a single in November 1989. It peaked at No. 2 on the Oricon weeklies and became the 16th-ranked song for 1990. I'm sure it was a hit at the year-end parties and karaoke bashes. There's nothing like a rousing march to get everyone up and singing.

This is the series of Ushiwakamaru Regain ads. Since those days, there have been a number of new Regain ads with other celebs, but no one and nothing has come close to The Ultimate Japanese Businessman.

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