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

Saburo Kitajima -- Matsuri (まつり)

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! (明けましておめでとうございます。)

Hope all of you have had a Happy New Year. Some of you may still be reaching for that champagne, others may be going for that bottle of aspirin. I know at the time I'm writing this in the Eastern Standard Time Zone, Japan is already well into its 2nd day of celebrating O-Shogatsu. Unlike over here, where most of us will be morosely heading back to work on January 2, in all likelihood, a lot of folks in Japan will still be having days off for much of the rest of the week as they visit those temples and enjoy that o-sechi and watch all of the special Holiday TV. Of course, friends and family will be dropping by each other's homes for some in-home revelry. In other words, it's traditionally a very festive beginning to the year.

And so my very first entry on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" for 2013 will be based on Sabu-chan. Notably, his 68th single from November 1984, "Matsuri" (Festival). Saburo Kitajima(北島三郎)goes all out musically describing the joyous raucousness of the typical Japanese festival with its dancing, loud chanting and raising of mikoshi (portable shrines). Those festivals may not show up until much later in the year, but the feeling of celebration is always there in the first few days of a New Year....helped greatly by goodly quantities of beer, shochu or sake. And there's no one better than a veteran enka master to make that abundantly clear as is evident in the above video of a past Kohaku Utagassen. All the festival tropes are there, including the traditional Sabu-chan whiteout of confetti. Kitajima has performed this favourite 5 times on the annual New Year's Eve show, with the most recent performance being in 2009.

His final line is rather modular. "Kore ga Nihon no matsuri da yo!" (これが日本の祭りだよ!...This is a Japanese festival!) is the official ending to the song but depending on the circumstances, Kitajima has substituted "Nihon" with other words, such as place names if he is singing the song in a certain area. In the above video, he substitutes it with "Kohaku".

By the way, "Matsuri" was written by Rei Nakanishi(なかにし礼) and composed by Joji Hara....which happens to be Saburo Kitajima's pen name.

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