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.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hiromi Iwasaki -- Azayaka na Bamen (あざやかな場面)

I started the month with a Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美)song, why not end it with one as well? One of the commenters also pointed out this lovely tune. I first heard "Azayaka na Bamen"(Vibrant Scenery) on a BEST tape of the singer that I got back in the mid-80s. It was originally released as Iwasaki's 13th single in May 1978.

I was surprised to read on J-Wiki that this was the tune that stopped Iwasaki's winning streak of 11 consecutive songs to break into the Top 10, going all the way back to her breakthrough single of "Romance" in 1975. It didn't even break into the Top 100 of 1978 although it did peak at No. 14 on the Oricon weeklies. A pity, since I think the country waltz nature of the song (composed by Takashi Miki...三木たかし) continued the early image of Hiromi-chan as this fresh-faced young girl with the incredible voice. Perhaps it was a case of Iwasaki Fatigue from the listening public. I'd always imagined her singing this song against a backdrop of green grass just looking out over into the ocean, and sure enough, Yu Aku's(阿久悠)lyrics invited the listener to close his/her eyes and remember a much-cherished scene from way back. For me, that would've been my grandfather's village in Wakayama Prefecture right by the sea.

The interesting part of "Azayaka na Bamen" was the ending. For a little over 3 minutes, the song gently made its way across the countryside when suddenly with a flourish of strings, Iwasaki went into an epic "La, la, la" while a drum rat-a-tatted things off. A country waltz changed into a military hero sendoff.


  1. Hiromi is one of my favorite singers. This is a lovely song and it's a shame that it didn't perform well with the public. I'm a fan but didn't even know about this song until a few weeks ago. Thanks for the info on it.

    1. Hi, ジョン。

      Yup, Hiromi is one of my faves as well. I was also surprised at its relatively low showing, but perhaps if it had been released earlier or somewhat later, it could've done better.

      It's been great having people finding new old songs by their favourite singers. I've come across a few myself over the past year and a half.

  2. I found a version of Azayaka na Bamen from her 30th anniversary concert. The second part makes my spine tingle, in particular the end where the instrumentation dies out and it's just the present her singing to the 1978 her.


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