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.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mika Nakashima -- Yuki no Hana (雪の華)

I was actually hoping to have gotten Mika Nakashima's(中島美嘉)10th single "Yuki no Hana"(Snow Flower) into the Xmas songs last month, but couldn't pull it off in time. But I found another purpose here since at this time, Tokyo and a lot of the Kanto region have been inundated underneath a very heavy blanket of snow for the past 24 hours. Currently, the area looks more like Toronto than Toronto itself at this time.

Bar none, "Yuki no Hana" is a wonderful ballad. Released in October 2003, it's hard to believe that it's close to a decade since this song came out. The arrangement just seemed to perfectly fit it being sung while surrounded by a forest of freshly fallen snow. In fact, for the actual music video, Nakashima had asked that it be filmed in a studio under zero degrees Celsius. Talk about suffering for one's art. And it's almost a pity that the song became a commercial tune for mere chocolates.

Written by Satomi and composed by Ryoiki Matsumoto(松本良喜), "Yuki no Hana"peaked at No. 3 and was ranked at No. 53 in the yearly Oricon charts. The song won the Gold Prize and the Songwriter's Prize at the Japan Record Awards, and Nakashima not only got to perform it at that year's Kohaku Utagassen but would return for an encore a couple of years later. Nakashima's performance of the song was a good part behind its popularity. I followed her early songs from her debut of "Stars" in 2001, and although her voice tended to get overwhelmed at certain points in certain songs, I think she hit "Yuki no Hana"out of the ballpark here. That delicateness of her voice matched the fragile surroundings of snowflakes and icicles. And since the initial release in Japan, it's been covered by singers in her own country and in other countries such as South Korea, The Phillipines and America. Finally, I gotta say that I haven't come across so many karaoke YouTube videos of a single song until I found "Yuki no Hana".


  1. Thanks J-Canuck for this great post on 雪の華. I was surprised as well to hear about the snow storm that hit Tokyo and the Kanto region yesterday. NHK News mentioned that its been 12 years since it last snowed liked this in Tokyo. 雪の華 is one of 中島美嘉's signature songs and it's one of her best for sure. 雪の華 was among one the J-Pop covers that Eric Martin did on his "Mr. Vocalist" album. I must admit it is kind of neat to hear English language versions of Japanese songs like "Pride", "I Believe" and "Everything". One of the more interesting covers of the song is by former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman who does a great acoustic rock guitar version of the song. I didn't know this but he's been residing in Japan since 2003, speaks fluent Japanese and has even appeared on Japanese TV on various variety shows and music programs. He just recently married a Japanese cellist this past December.

  2. Yeah, I've been watching NHK News over the past couple of days, and it looks like the snow is there to stay for a while. I can only remember it snowing like that once while I was there.

    It's been an interesting 24 hours since I put up "Yuki no Hana". Usually the songs are able to reach 10 pageviews within the same period of time, but this song is already on the verge of hitting 30 pageviews! It's definitely got its fans. I think Boyz II Men have even covered this one.

    I've seen Marty Friedman show up on a number of the variety shows over the years. It's pretty amazing that a member of Megadeth can speak Japanese as well as he does. Then again, I heard that Ray Parker Jr. had also set up some sort of roots in Tokyo some years back.


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