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 8, 2013

Harumi Miyako -- Kita no Yado Kara (北の宿から)

My knowledge of enka is quite a bit more limited when compared to the pop sectors in kayo kyoku. So, basically my remembrances of certain enka songs are based even more on just pure emotion. Case in point, I've heard Harumi Miyako's(都はるみ) "Kita no Yado Kara"From An Inn of the North), released in December 1975 and her 66th single, countless times but I didn't really listen to the lyrics until recently. I've always gone by the melody, and the intro for this song is amongst one of the most recognizable in the genre. The song starts with the uncertain strings followed by a pure but lonely section of saxophone and a mandolin-like instrument before the soft and haunting vocals arrive.

The Yu Aku-penned(阿久悠)lyrics and the music composed by Asei Kobayashi(小林亜星) weave an image of a terribly lonely woman up in that northern inn, talking of "....knitting a sweater that she cannot wear..."despite the cold and self-deprecatingly asking her long-gone lover whether "....if it would be OK to die?" Yup....terribly lonely. Without even being aware of the lyrics, though, I got the impression from the music alone of a traditional countryside hints of raucous drinking at an izakaya in town or standing sternly on the bow of a fishing boat....just a soft delicate song in the winter. However, according to J-Wiki, the late Aku recollected the following:

"I had intended to write of a strong woman, but it ended up being an impression of a sad or scary woman."

"Kita no Yado Kara", despite Aku's later recollection, struck a chord with listeners and critics alike. Winning no less than 6 different awards, including The Japan Record Awards' Grand Prize, it hit the top spot on Oricon, became the 3rd-ranked song for 1976, and just missed out on being in the Top 10 of 1977 for a second year in a row, reaching No. 11.


  1. Minako Honda with an attempt at enka. Her a capella rendition of Kita no Yado Kara is beautiful, at odds with an extremely unenkalike costume and bouncy celebration at the end.

    1. Hello there. Yup, I recall seeing Honda trying out enka on "Music Fair" years ago after her hard rock phase.

  2. Please pardon my side-tracking. I am looking for the karaoke version of Kozure Okami theme song. Please direct me. Thank you

    1. Hello there. No problems with your request. Cut and paste the following kanji into YouTube: 子連れ狼 カラオケ, and you should be able to access a number of karaoke videos for the theme song for "Kozure Ohkami". Just in case, one video I found was here:

      Also, I wrote about the theme song a few years ago on the blog:

      If you wish, feel free to take a look.

      All the best!


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