Credits

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.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Masaharu Fukuyama -- Gang★




I'm kinda crossing pop cultural interests here at the beginning of this write-up, but I've always wondered which Japanese actors would've made good incarnations of the British time-and-space hero Doctor Who. I've got a small list, but one person I probably could include is Masaharu Fukuyama(福山雅治), solely on his portrayal of the tall, handsome, brilliant and eccentric physicist who solves crimes in the drama, "Galileo". I never saw the series except for its commercials, but he has that certain intrepid if slightly befuddled look about him which would've made him an ideal Japanese Time Lord. For those who have never heard of "Doctor Who", allons-y!

However, my memories of him mainly reside from one of his early dramas....all the way back in 1993, to be exact, when he was part of that large ensemble cast which made up the heartwarming and occasionally tearjerking "Hitotsu Yane no Shita"ひとつ屋根の下....Under One Roof). He played the 2nd-oldest son brought back into the fold who was just starting his career as a doctor, and was, in terms of temperament, the Michael Corleone to Yosuke Eguchi's(江口洋介) nice-guy version of Sonny Corleone (yes, "The Godfather" trilogy is also another interest of mine).

But I also know a bit of his career as a singer. I'm not particularly a fan of his although I know about his huge hits like "Sakurazaka"桜坂...Cherry Blossom Slope)and "Hello". However, being a jazz fan, I was struck by his 17th single, "Gang★"(I will leave out the star from now on due to reasons of laziness). Yes, I know it's not totally jazzy but there is a cool horn section in there, and I also liked the band Stray Cats with their rockabilly sensibilities which this song somewhat reminds me of. Fukuyama was responsible for coming up with this swing-a-linging tune and he even gives his bit of scat in there as well.

The official video is also interesting for that mix of sex and Halloween....and "Alien", and it has a couple of celebs in there as well: Haruhiko Kato(加藤晴彦)as the hapless victim and Miho Yoshioka(吉岡美穂)as the fanged femme fatale. Now, as I've said a number of times before, I'm not a big lyrics guy, so I was rather surprised when I came across the English translation of Fukuyama's lyrics, especially the meaning behind the title, "Gang"(star not included)....didn't have a clue about them. All I can say is that his onscreen sister in "Hitotsu Yane no Shita" or his onscreen partner in "Galileo" would probably be racing to feed the lad a soap diet. You can check out the translation here:

utau-inu.com/centj/translations/gang_fukuyamamasaharu.htm (by Brian Stewart and Takako Sakuma)



 According to J-Wiki, although the song took about 14 months to create from pencil to CD single, the basic melody was ready to go within about 30 minutes. While the singer was wracking his brains to get "Sakurazaka"(which had been released almost a year before "Gang"was), he started whipping up this sexy little ditty as a bit of a palate cleanser. "Gang" was released in March 2002, peaked at No. 3 and ended the year as the 90th-ranked song.

A very young Fukuyama in one of my ancient
Myojo magazines.

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