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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kozo Murashita -- Yuko/Kagero (ゆうこ・陽炎)

I decided to cover both the A and B sides to Kozo Murashita's(村下孝蔵)4th single (April 1982) since I re-discovered the B-side song, "Kagero"(Heat Haze) on one of my ancient tapes of "Sounds of Japan" today. One of my old classmates from Japanese Language School, Mio Inokuchi, just happened to be the co-host on that broadcast, so it was a bit poignant to hear her voice from 30 years back as a high school student.

As has often been the case with Murashita's songs, "Yuko" is a beautifully woven creation but with that little kernel of pain. His biggest hit, "Hatsukoi"初恋), involved the angst surrounding that feeling of first love. "Yuko" was named after his wife, and Murashita sang about the title character, a former fiancee, shutting herself off from the protagonist. According to J-Wiki, the singer's divorce was finalized in 1985. The single itself peaked at No. 23 on Oricon.

"Kagero" is a summery song which I could see Murashita singing while in a hammock by the sea as he reminisces about that long-ago girl (Yuko again?) through a photograph. The even more relaxed melody here makes me wonder if the singer had written and composed the song while in the middle of that titular heat haze. There is also a chorus backing him up in there which kinda acts like a Japanese wind chime trying to cool things down. With all of those high-energy summer songs that usually come out, it's rather nice to have one that gets you to lie down and lay back.

The two songs also made it onto Murashita's 1982 album "Yume no Ato"(夢の跡).

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