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.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mayumi Itsuwa -- Kokoro no Tomo (心の友)

In my last few months residing in Japan in 2011, I did my fair share of shopping for discs that I knew would be more difficult to acquire once I returned to Canada (and yes, that is considering the existence of Amazon Japan). I was glad that I did pick up the BEST of Mayumi Itsuwa(五輪真弓).

But it was actually a commenter for the article on Saori Yuki's "Yoake no Scat", arad246, that re-introduced me to a wonderful ballad by Itsuwa, "Kokoro no Tomo" (Friend in My Heart). As soon as I checked it out on YouTube, I remembered the melody just like that.

After first seeing Itsuwa give that stirring performance of "Revival" on the 1981 Kohaku Utagassen, her songs popped up a fair bit on the radio program "The Sounds of Japan" on CHIN-FM. I first  heard her classic "Koibito yo"恋人よ) on that program, and in fact, an entire episode was devoted to highlighting her music.

"Kokoro no Tomo" was a track on her 13th album, "Shiosai"潮騒...Roar of the Sea), released in October 1982. Unlike the mournful "Koibito yo", (both songs are above) this song is one of encouragement and gratitude for friendship....perhaps it's a spiritual sequel to the latter song. In any case, Itsuwa's voice just flows effortlessly throughout as if she had been the only one meant to sing this song that she had also written and composed. The melody seems to put listeners at ease, and the lyrics express that message of that close bond which ties everyone together.

Now, here is the translation of those lyrics:

At the time you took away my suffering,
That living courage starts to rise even in me.
Until I met you, I was a lonely wandering person.
Let me feel the warmth of your hand.

Love is always a lullaby,
Whenever you feel tired from your journey,
Just call me
Your friend of the heart.

Why do people pursue happiness whose days have passed,
Forgetting especially the belief in one another somewhere?
Close your eyes quietly and open the door to your heart.
When you take a hold of me, wipe away your tears.

Love is always a lullaby,
Whenever you feel weak,
Just call me
Your friend of the heart.

Mayumi Itsuwa -- Best Collection

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