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.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kiyoko Suizenji -- Namida wo Daita Wataridori (涙を抱いた渡り鳥)

I was going through my Dad's 45" collection when I came across that familiar face of Kiyoko Suizenji (水前寺清子)beaming on the cover. The song she was representing there was her debut, "Namida wo Daita Wataridori" (Migrating Birds Holding The Tears) from October 1964 (although the version that I have is a 1972 re-issue). When I played it on the TEAC, "Namida wo Daita Wataridori" once again jogged my long-term memory as Cheetah's piercing voice came through the headphones. It was yet another oldie from my childhood.

Written by Tetsuro Hoshino (星野哲郎...under the pseudonym of Megumu Arita), who later wrote the theme song to "Tora-san" and Suizenji's own crowd-rousing "San-Byaku Roku-Juu-Go Ho no March"(三百六十五歩マーチ), and composed by Shosuke Ichikawa (市川昭介...under his own alias of Yutaka Izumi), the lyrics made me wonder if this would also have been a fitting song for the aforementioned wandering salesman Tora-san, as Suizenji sings about traveling from place to place like the birds in the title but never quite finding that significant other.

Oricon didn't exist back in the mid-60s but Suizenji's debut single made an impact since she was later invited to the 1965 Kohaku Utagassen for the very first time in what would be a long series of appearances on the NHK special. She certainly made an impression on the stage that night as she brought that swagger and brio in her performance.

Now, as for the Cheetah nickname....I had always thought that it was given to her as a tribute to her power as a singer in comparison with the famed animal from Africa. Well, count me wrong on that score. According to J-Wiki, her birth name was Tamiko Hayashida(林田民子), and songwriter Hoshino, before Suizenji's debut, derived the nickname as an abbreviation of his declaration "Chiisai Tami-chan no kimochi wo wasurenai you ni"ちいさいみちゃんの気持ちを忘れないように...So that you don't forget little Tami's feelings).


  1. Are there Obon festivals in Canada? During California Obons
    1+1の音頭 by Kiyoko Suizenji is very popular

    1. Hello there and thanks for the YouTube links.
      Unfortunately, Toronto doesn't have any huge Obon festivals. If there are, they are most likely held on a very small scale at the local Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre.

      I gather that the California festivals are pretty big with the long-established and large Japanese communities there in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    2. Ah, just to add onto my first comments...I can only speak about my city. But perhaps there may be an Obon festival out in Vancouver.

  2. There are lots of Obon festivals in California, every weekend in July and August there is an Obon somewhere.
    Hawaii Obons are pretty big too. Are Obons big deal in Japan?

    1. Yeah, one of my friends from Hawaii told me that there is a pretty nice-sized Obon out there. Obon is a huge of the major holiday seasons in Japan. I take it that you have yet to visit the country?

    2. No, but I hope to visit one day.

      Would you happen to know anything about that song - 1+1の音頭? I could not find much information online.

    3. Hello again.

      I'm afraid I couldn't find much information about it myself. But from what I could glean was that it was released in 1970, and was created by Tetsuro Hoshino and Kunihiko Suzuki. Basically it's a coy little romance dressed up as a jazzy tune which apparently has had some popularity as a song to be played at festivals according to the YouTube videos I've seen.

    4. OK, thank you for researching it!


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