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, January 1, 2013

Chikai Inagaki -- Hotaru no Hikari (蛍の光)

Now that the New Year will be arriving in about 20 minutes, I think it rather appropriate to introduce this song as my final entry for 2012. Of course, I used to hear "Auld Lang Syne" by that old bandleader Guy Lombardo as a kid on New Year's Eve whenever the clock finally struck midnight, years before the late Dick Clark became a household word in the United States on December 31st.

Just to give a bit of background, "Auld Lang Syne" came about from the poem composed by Scotland's Robert Burns in 1788. Somehow, it made its way to Japan a century later in 1881 into a songbook, and it is assumed but not proven definitively that Chikai Inagaki(稲垣千頴), a teacher at an institution that would eventually become the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, provided the Japanese words to the song, first known as "Hotaru"(Fireflies) and later to become "Hotaru no Hikari" (The Light of the Fireflies) (thank you, jprockwell of and J-Wiki for that information).

"Hotaru no Hikari" is, of course, heard on New Year's Eve, notably at the end of NHK's Kohaku Utagassen at about 11:45 p.m. But it is far more prolific in Japan on virtually a daily basis, as it is also used at school graduation ceremonies and as the musical cue at department stores, pachinko parlours, supermarkets, etc. for customers to skedaddle home at the end of the business day. So, when I was living in Japan, my impressions of hearing the song were not of lifting a glass of champagne but of quickly scrambling for that final bento in the supermarket before the doors slid shut for good for the day. Guy Lombardo was far from my mind during those years. And that version is in the video above.

This video contains the sung version of "Hotaru no Hikari"....not sure if it's a Vocaloid, though.

But in any case, I'm finishing this with four minutes to spare before the song gets played for real. I wish all of you all the best for a Happy New Year, and I look forward to hearing from you in 2013!

Yoi O-toshi wo omukae kudasai!(良いお年をお迎えください!)

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