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, November 17, 2013

Teresa Teng -- Wakare no Yokan (別れの予感)

It's hard to believe it's almost been 20 years since Teresa Teng(テレサ・テン) left this mortal coil prematurely. She was very much part of the process in helping me to enjoy kayo kyoku/J-Pop through venues like my old karaoke haunt of Kuri and the radio show "Sounds of Japan" in the 80s.

Not too long after her passing in 1995, I had already been in Japan for several months when I was doing my usual browsing in the CD shops. I came across a Teresa Teng BEST album which I quickly snatched up since despite enjoying her songs greatly, I'd never gotten an original album by her. Another big reason for getting it was to listen again to her wonderful hits of "Aijin"愛人) and "Tsugunai"つぐない), but there were more that I hadn't heard that made up the latter half of the disc.

And then the very last song on the CD was "Wakare no Yokan" (Parting Omen). Again, this was a song that I hadn't come across before but unlike the other new ones, this one hit me as something special right from the opening exotic notes. Like the two other songs I mentioned, it wasn't quite enka but still somehow had that enka nuance (perhaps simply because Teng was just as comfortable singing enka/not enka...European enka?). There were also a couple of other paradoxes with it. It was created by Toyohisa Araki(荒木とよひさ) and Takashi Miki(三木たかし), and yet it didn't sound solely Japanese; I could've imagined it written and composed and sung in a number of nations in Asia whether it be Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc. And despite the names behind the production of "Wakare no Yokan", the arrangement sounds like something that Koji Tamaki(玉置浩二)and Goro Matsui(松井五郎) would've created during the same time.

"Wakare no Yokan" was released in June 1987 as Teng's 18th single. It got as high as No. 16 on the Oricon weeklies and had a long run on the charts with it becoming the 94th-ranked song for 1988.

Perhaps it is because of the title or the fact that it is the final track on that BEST CD or the fact that Teng had already died before I got to even know this particular song, but I have considered "Wakare no Yokan" to be her goodbye song, although I know that she still released a number of singles following this one, including one that came immediately after that I also like titled "Koibito Tachi no Shinwa"(恋人たちの神話....Lovers' Myth). To me, it just has this cheerfully melancholy beat that hints at a final goodbye of sorts but also a celebration of what came before. If this had truly been her last song, it would've made for a fine coda.


  1. Teresa Teng fitted well into the near-enka sound probably because much of her music is a 1960s update on the Asian singers of the 30s, singers like Zhou Xuan and Rikouran. Old classics like The Wandering Songstress and Ye Lai Xiang are probably best known via the Teresa Teng versions, which take the 30s melody and graft it onto a 60s European style rhythm and backing.

  2. I went looking for this song after hearing a snippet of it while watching Koreeda Hirokazu's film After the Storm (recommended, but not as much as some of his other work!), which by the way has as its original Japanese title "Umi Yori Mo Mada Fukaku" - a quote from the chorus.

    It is simple, to the point, melancholy, wistful and beautiful. There is also just no doubt about the quality of the singing voice behind it...It is in my opinion an amazing song, and I can see what you mean by it also being an excellent coda of sorts.


    1. Hello, youngheartsparkfire.

      Reading the article again, I realized that it's been a little over 4 years since I wrote it. Then listening to "Wakare no Yokan" once more, I still think it would have been an excellent farewell tune for Teresa.

    2. Your blog is a living wonder ;)

      By the way, if all goes well I'll be heading to Tokyo next month.

    3. Thanks! Hope you make it over there. There won't be any cherry blossoms but I think you may make it for plum!


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.