Earlier tonight, I got to see the welcoming ceremony for President Obama during his state visit to Japan on NHK. To be honest, I was more interested in his sushi dinner with Prime Minister Abe at Jiro in Ginza the night before since most of my experience with sushi when I was living there either involved supermarkets or the kaiten joints.
But that's all by-the-by. After the live coverage of the US President meeting the Emperor and Empress, there was a 10-minute segment on the lovely Ryoko Moriyama（森山良子）. I've always loved the lady's calming voice and music, and listening to songs like "Ame Agari no Samba"（雨上がりのサンバ）is the equivalent of getting a musical massage (not the shiatsu variety...pure Swedish). So I was a bit intrigued when I heard that the 18-year-old Moriyama had initially nixed singing "Kono Hiroi Nohara Ippai" (This Grand Field) as her debut in January 1967. She had been set on becoming a jazz singer like her father and wasn't too thrilled on starting her career with a folk song, although it was a song that she composed and even performed on a radio show during her college days.
However, that appearance was the one that helped launch her career as The Queen of Folk and as the Japanese Joan Baez. The song got a lot of people talking and several record companies tried to get her to come over to debut with them with Philips Records being the one to finally win Moriyama over. And it is a beautiful love song with the suitor promising to give his beloved all of the flowers in the field to be bundled together into a mighty bouquet tied with a red ribbon. Those lyrics were from Keiko Osonoe（小薗江圭子）.
I'm glad that the record companies never gave up. And since then, "Kono Hiroi Nohara Ippai" has been used in elementary school readers and even got a slot on NHK's "Minna no Uta"（みんなのうた...Songs for All）segment a few years later after the song's original release.