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, June 3, 2014

Hiroshi Mizuhara/Ryotaro Sugi -- Kimi Koso Waga Inochi (君こそわが命)

Of course, when I'm asked about the key musical instruments for the enka genre, koto and shamisen come to mind immediately. However, when some of the traditional kayo kyoku head over to that enka/Mood Kayo border, my favourite instrument is that bright trumpet. Being also a bit of an old jazz fan, I've often thought that Harry James may have been the patron saint for those Japanese trumpeters behind some of the more famous Mood Kayo tunes.

Tonight, when I saw "Kayo Concert"(歌謡コンサート), I got to hear another wonderful song of the genre punctuated by that brass titled "Kimi Koso Waga Inochi" (You Are Truly My Life). It was originally sung by the late Hiroshi Mizuhara (水原弘 2nd posting on him in as many weeks), and it's a ballad about how happy the protagonist is on actually finding the love of his life. Released in February 1967, it was written by Kohan Kawauchi (川内康範)and composed by Kosho Inomata(猪俣公章). As much as it's wonderful to hear some guy head over heels in love, it's the the trumpet that wins me over.

Mizuhara won the Grand Prize in Singing at the Japan Record Awards that year along with getting to appear on the Kohaku Utagassen for not only 1967, but also for 1969 and 1973. The above video has him singing on that 1973 special.

When I was going down the YouTube scroll for this song, I saw a familiar face (namely the one above) singing "Kimi Koso Waga Inochi". I couldn't place the face nor the kanji that made up his name, but when I checked out J-Wiki, I realized that Ryotaro Sugi (杉良太郎)was a mainstay on all those jidaigeki programs, including his role as the original Suke-san, one of the loyal members surrounding the disguised Lord Mito from "Mito Komon"(水戸黄門). Along with his career as an actor, Sugi has also been singing since 1965 with his "Sugi Ryotaro no Kimi Koso Waga Inochi" coming out in 2006.

According to J-Wiki, on top of his entertainment career, Sugi has also had quite a few titles in the diplomatic corps. He's a director for a Japan-Vietnam friendship society and a Ministry of Foreign Affairs special ambassador to that country, an honourary mayor of Honolulu and even a Chairman Emeritus for a cultural association between Japan and Singapore.

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