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, September 15, 2013

Kayoko Ono/Junko Yagami -- Sayonara no Kotoba (さよならの言葉)

I had actually heard this song being sung by Junko Yagami(八神純子) via one of her BEST albums, but hadn't realized that it wasn't actually written and composed by the singer. Kudos to the original goes to Kayoko Ono(小野香代子). "Sayonara no Kotoba" (Words of Goodbye) is a lovely little waltz which would have made for a fine ending theme to a bittersweet romance movie back in the 70s. Listening to some of the contemporary, high-energy stuff, it's always nice when I can hear something like this to bring things back to ground.

There is not much written about Ono; there's not even an entry for her in J-Wiki for reasons that will become clear in a few lines. I actually had to get what little I could find from a Japanese blog titled "Jerrio's Café". It wasn't made totally clear whether Ono was even an amateur singer but she entered the 13th Yamaha Popular Song Contest (nicely nicknamed PopCon) in May 1977 with "Sayonara no Kotoba". She did extremely fact, she won the Grand Prize for the entire contest! And yet, soon afterwards, Ono gave up any intentions of going professional and instead went overseas to study. And that's all she wrote. I can only imagine what kind of songs she could have made if she hadn't taken that other path.

Go ahead one year later. Junko Yagami, who herself had won an Excellent Prize at PopCon back in 1974 with "Ame no Hi no Hitorigoto" (雨の日のひとりごと....Speaking to Myself on a Rainy Day), did her own version of "Sayonara no Kotoba" for release as her 4th single in May 1978. Yagami also possessed that clear high voice that Ono did, so she made for a good fit for the song. As I said, her cover made it onto at least one of her BEST albums but also originally appeared as a track on her debut album, "Omoide wa Utsukushiku Sugite"思い出は美しくすぎて...The Memories Are So Beautiful)which came out in June of that year. Of her early singles, Yagami was known for her Latin and/or disco-infused hits, but her version (and the original) stood out because it had that folksy, kinda European charm. In fact, I think it has some melodic similarity to at least a few of the tracks on Taeko Ohnuki's(大貫妙子)"Grey Skies" (1976).

Junko Yagami -- Best of Me


  1. 小野香代子さんの歌声好きです。

    By C・Cバクスター

  2. CCさん、こんにちは。ようこそ!



  3. According to the blurb in this Youtube video, Kayoko Ono is living in the USA (it doesn’t specify where) and working under the name Kaje. Incidentally, this is the extremely rare studio version of this song, arranged by Shun Fukui. I have no idea of the source of this recording, presumably one of the Cocky Pop commemorative albums.

    1. Thanks, Mike.

      That lessens the mystery a bit about where Ono went and eventually stayed. Nice version of "Sayonara no Kotoba" as a French waltz.


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