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.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tadaharu Nakano -- Rokko Oroshi (六甲おろし)

Y'know....all those 17 years I was living in Ichikawa-shi, Chiba-ken, and I really never got all that into Japanese baseball. Then again, I was mostly just a casual fan of Major League Baseball over here (currently living in a city where the local team has been out of the playoff picture for over 20 years hasn't helped my attitude) in any case. Mind you, there was that one time when the 2005 Chiba Lotte Marines under Bobby Valentine (yup, the same one who got run out of Boston after that one horrible season in 2012 with the Red Sox) beat the Hanshin Tigers for the Japan Series championship which had a lot of my neighbours crowing with glee well into the night of October 17.

Speaking of the Hanshin Tigers, which have been compared to the Bosox against Tokyo's Yomiuri Giants' equivalent of the New York Yankees, they've managed to win the championship once in 1985 and then get to the finals in 2003 and the aforementioned series with the Marines in 2005. So, they haven't exactly been a dynastic threat (then again, there really hasn't been a dynasty in Japanese baseball since the Seibu Lions in the early 90s) but the Tigers can boast that they have the most rabidly loyal fans in the country and the most well-known team song in J-Baseball history. Heck, even I know about "Rokko Oroshi" (The Downward Wind of Mt. Rokko).

Written by Sonosuke Sato(佐藤惣之助)and composed by Yuji Koseki (古関 裕而...who would also create the theme for the world's most famous giant caterpillar, Mothra, many years later) in 1936, it was first presented at a rallying party held at the Koshien Hotel in late March of that year for the just-established team of the then-Osaka Tigers. The first singer was Tadaharu Nakano (中野忠晴)who sang a mix of jazz and popular songs in the Showa Era. Officially, it is known as "The Osaka Tigers Song" and then "The Hanshin Tigers Song", but "Rokko Oroshi" is the name that has stuck all these decades. Mt. Rokko is actually the name for a chain of mountains in neighbourhing Hyogo Prefecture, and quoting from the Wikipedia article here, "In Japan, wind which blows down from a mountain is known to be cold and harsh, hence the song symbolizes the Tiger's (sic) brave challenge under hardship". The article also has the official English translation of the song.

The Hanshin Tigers may not have had a championship (and therefore not have gotten the opportunity to throw Colonel Sanders statues into the Dotombori Canal) for almost 30 years, but whenever that song comes out on the television in the early months, I think even non-Tigers fans can be warmed by the fact that spring and baseball season is just around the corner.

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