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.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Masashi Sada -- Kanpaku Sengen (関白宣言)

Listening to this song and reading about the history behind it reminded me of the current social phenomenon in Japan known as soshoku danshi草食男子) or "herbivore men". In recent years, there has been some hand-wringing that a sizable number of the young generation of men have become passive, dispassionate and totally uninterested in women. Well, decades ago, singer Masashi Sada(さだまさし) frequented a Kyoto snakku, and over there, he became well acquainted with the proprietress whom she called "Mother" since she was close in age to his real mother. One night, Mother openly lamented the fact that Japanese men were no darn good and because of that, Japanese women were ending up the same way. She felt that society needed a good whupping, and Sada was the one to do it; she asked him to write up a song to give the contemporary Japanese man a needed swift kick in the keester. And this was back in the 70s....very much in the Showa Era!

And sure enough, Sada did what Mother had said and created "Kanpaku Sengen", his 8th single. That second word is easy enough to translate as "declaration", but looking up that first word brought up the definitions of "Imperial advisor to the Emperor" and "premiership". But considering the general tone of what the title was meant to convey, and the lyrics, I think I'll probably go with "Declaration of Law". Released in July 1979, it's a slightly tongue-in-cheek sung manifesto of a new husband's rules of his castle to his wife. Hubby's standard operating procedures are for the wife to always be up before he is, create good meals, and look pretty among other demands in the first few verses. However, the song seems to progress through the entire timeline of a full marriage and near the end, Sada's voice gets a bit more quivery as he thanks his wife for helping in a good life and asking (begging?) her to not die before he does. Throughout the song, his imperious demands are softened by the unimperious-sounding Sada and his gentle guitar. Also, the not-so-serious nature of the declaration is further impressed upon through the cover with the usually unassuming singer posing humourously in a tux while holding a glass of wine.

"Kanpaku Sengen"has become a Sada standard and it's a song that I've heard from time to time on various programs although I hadn't been aware of the meaning until recently. But I did notice that whenever he performed the song, there was a bit of a twinkle in his eye. The song hit the No. 1 spot on Oricon and became the 4th-ranked song of 1979, selling almost a million records (actually take a look at the Comments below for changes to that statistic). It also earned Sada a Japan Record Award Gold Prize, and a movie based on the song was even filmed some months afterwards. And I wouldn't be surprised if it did and perhaps still does pop up on the wedding party playlist sometimes. Even within the music world, a number of singers have come up with tunes in response to "Kanpaku Sengen", such as Eri Hiramatsu's(平松愛理) "Heya to Y-Shatsu to Watashi".

As for Mother's reaction after listening to the song? "You're still too easy on 'em!"


  1. Splendid! This song has a Cantonese version in Hong Kong, in the 70s, I think. The title of the song is "Big Woman Declaration", and the content is the exact opposite of the Japanese version. It's about a woman telling a man how he should behave!

    1. Ah, the answer songs go international! Marvelous! I wonder what Avril Lavigne could do with this one. :)

    2. I didn't know it's a Japanese song until I read your post. When I click on the YouTube link, I immediately recognized the melody but I forgot what the Cantonese version was, nor who sang it. Thanks to the Internet now I know it's called "Big Woman Declaration"!

      Before yesterday, I always thought it's an English folk song :)

  2. Hello.
    According to Oricon, this song sold 1.245.000 copies.

    1. Hello there. Point taken on that and according to Nikkan Sports, it may have sold almost 1.7 million copies.


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