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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, August 3, 2012

Rumiko Koyanagi -- Seto no Hanayome (瀬戸の花嫁)



Man, listening to this song....just transports me back to my early childhood. When I visited Japan for the very first time 40 years ago, I recall seeing women wearing those dresses and sporting those hairstyles. "Seto no Hanayome"(The Bride of Seto), along with Rumiko Koyanagi's(小柳ルミ子) debut single, "Watashi no Jokamachi"私の城下町) and Mari Amachi's(天地真理) "Hitori Janaino"ひとりじゃないの), which already have their own entries here, are the three earliest Japanese pop songs that I can remember clearly from my stereo days.

Although "Seto no Hanayome" is about the area surrounding the Seto Inland Sea between the main island of Honshu and the smaller island of Shikoku, whenever I hear it, memories of traveling on my first Bullet Train, walking through the Namba area of Osaka and seeing the different-coloured phones come flooding in. The lyrics, written by Michio Yamagami(山上路夫), actually express a young bride's feelings about moving to that region from the title to start her new life as a married woman. Yamagami has written a number of songs, some of which are also represented in "Kayo Kyoku Plus"such as Agnes Chan's "Hinageshi no Hana", Yuki Saori's "Yoake no Scat" and GARO's "Gakusei Gai no Kissaten". The melody was provided by the just-as-prolific Masaaki Hirao(平尾昌晃) who composed and sang "Canada Kara no Tegami" as well as composing "Watashi no Jokamachi". The one part of the melody that will always strike a chord with me is the simulated gull cries, followed by Koyanagi's optimistically plaintive delivery.


Some people may have thought that the song referred to a particular point in the Seto Inland Sea region, namely some island near Kagawa Prefecture. However, in actual fact, lyricist Yamagami had never visited there, so the song could refer to any point....a testament to his writing abilities, no doubt. In any case, "Seto no Hanayome", released in April 1972, was another great hit for Koyanagi; her next big hit after "Watashi no Jokamachi". It won a Japan Music Award, and entered the Oricon rankings at No. 7 before soon hitting the top spot, and ended up becoming the 2nd-ranked song of the year. Needless to say, Koyanagi performed the song at the 1972 Kohaku Utagassen.

11 comments:

  1. I need to familiarize myself with Rumiko Koyanagis music. This song is beautiful!

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    1. Please do. That's one of the reasons I set up the blog in the first place...so that folks can find out about some of these oldies but goodies.

      Rumiko also had a huge hit in the early 1980s with "Ohisashiburi ne"...quite a different Rumiko in her performance. :)

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  2. "Seto no Hanayome" (The Bride of Seto) is quite a popular folk song among the Shikoku inhabitants.

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    1. Hi, barrych, and thanks for your comment. Yup, it has been quite the nostalgic song for many folks over the decades. I think a lot of them can't help but sway their heads every time it comes on.

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  3. When I think of Koyanagi, I think of her superb dance moves. Nobody could beat her, she is my ultimate stage goddess!

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    1. Hi, Nazim.

      Yes, she sure showed off her dancing on her appearances in the Kohaku during the 80s. Quite the different image from what I remember from her old record covers from the 70s.

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    2. Halfway into Naoko Ken's 1986 Kohaku performance, she was joined by four backing dancers: Aki Yashiro, Sachiko Kobayashi, Hiromi Iwasaki and Rumiko Konyanagi. Rumiko was perfect, Hiromi subdued, but Aki and Sachiko were hilariously clumsily enthusiastic.

      Anyway, here's Rumiko singing Seto no Hanayome in a Yoru medley in 1976. If you look closely, you'll notice how elegant she looks in that dress. If you look even more closely, you'll notice Hiromi Iwasaki being unable to keep time and getting bumped for her troubles, and Kenji Sawada pointing and laughing at her.

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    3. Oops, I forgot to post the link.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=804r77Oy4xc

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    4. Hello there.

      Well, she may not have had the greatest moves but there's no arguing about her voice...ha, ha!

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  4. Living in Japan in the early 70's & listening to hanayome...... was dynamic! I learned every word of the song & still to this day can sing it! Memories are Magic!

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    1. Hello, David.

      It must have been quite the time living in Japan back then. I had a small experience of that myself when I visited my relatives there in 1972. Was Koyanagi your favourite singer of the time?

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