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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chage & Aska -- Yah Yah Yah

Want to liven up that karaoke party? A bit too many enka ballads? Well, click on this song. This is probably one of the most adrenaline rush-inducing fist-pumping uptempo tunes in all of J-Pop, provided by Chage & Aska. Less than 2 years after coming up with their most successful song in their career, "Say Yes"(the 4th-ranked song in Oricon history), the duo from Fukuoka came up with another that also has one of the easiest-to-remember titles, "Yah Yah Yah". Simple is best, indeed.

The song was released in March 1993. At that time, I was in the middle of my 3 years back in Toronto...between my Gunma and Tokyo stints. The Japanese-Canadian Students Association at the University of Toronto had a weekly Wednesday program of showing Japanese dramas at the International Student Centre, and one of the popular shows for the folks who came out (undergrads, Japanese working-holiday visa students) was a medical drama, "Furikaereba Yatsu ga Iru"(振り返れば奴がいる....If You Turn Around, You'll See Jackals). Starring Yuji Oda and Ken Ishiguro, the pair played rival doctors at a hospital; Oda played  the embittered surgeon with a past. "Yah Yah Yah"was the theme song for the program, and Ryo Aska(飛鳥涼)even helped out with the score for the episodes. The song was an often-heard tune on those Wednesday nights.

As you can see on the video above, "Yah Yah Yah" is a real crowd-pleaser. And Chage & Aska get everybody jumping when the refrain gets screamed out and the winds blow through their trench coats. You can even bring your own "Yah Yah Yah" kit to karaoke. Just make sure you and your mate wear those coats, and bring along a small electric fan to plug in.

The song became the No. 1 song for 1993, and sold at least 2 million copies. And in the history of Oricon, it is currently the 11th-ranking hit. It is also on the duo's 16th album, "Red Hill", released in October 1993, which also enjoyed its time at the top of the album charts and was ranked 8th overall for the year.

Above is the opening credits sequence for the drama with Ishiguro and Oda running on the beach. For such a dark drama, "Yah Yah Yah"just seems so atypically up-with-people. And if you look at the complete sequence, Chage and Aska themselves show up for a few seconds. In retrospect, it's strange seeing Oda as a villain of sorts considering that a few years later, he would take on the character of his career, the fecklessly idealistic Detective Sergeant Shunsaku Aoshima in "Odoru Dai Sosasen"踊る大捜査線...Bayside Shakedown).

A piece of trivia about the drama itself. The screenplay was by famed director Koki Mitani(三谷幸喜), who, a year later, would come up with the Columbo-like detective, Ninzaburo Furuhata(古畑任三郎). However, he was shocked to learn of his script undergoing so many re-writes on unpleasant experience that he used to write one of his movies, "Radio no Jikan"(ラジオの時間....Radio Time).

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