Thursday, July 10, 2014
Yoko Minamino -- Kamisama ga Inai Getsu（神様がいない月）
I cracked open an old compilation LP of kayo kyoku from the 1980s that I hadn't heard in years some days ago. I bought it at ol' Wah Yueh and heard some old favourites but there were also some tracks that probably didn't really see too much daylight outside of the singers' really die-hard fans. One case in point was Yoko Minamino's （南野陽子）"Kamisama ga Inai Getsu" (The Month Without A God).
First off, I'm a bit uncertain about the title. Initially, I had thought that the last kanji there,「月」, was tsuki or moon. After all, I think in Japanese folklore, there is that story about Princess Kaguya returning to the moon, and in more recent culture, there is...well, the one....Sailor Moon. However I took a look through the lyrics but saw no mention of ol' Luna although there are references to a god. There is a message, though, of the year passing from summer to winter as it gets colder and a girl's fortunes seem to be waning. So perhaps that kanji might actually be standing for getsu or month. If any die-hard Nanno fan can elucidate, I would be very happy indeed.
"Kamisama ga Inai Getsu" is a track from Minamino's 4th album, "Garland", which was released in November 1987. Listening to it after so long on the old phonograph, I rather felt like a sommelier sampling a complex glass of Bordeaux. Although the song starts off on a fairly maudlin note with those strings and Nanno's vocals, it picks up in the refrain sounding like an old jaunty European ballad. At points, I wondered if this could've been sung by folks like Taeko Ohnuki （大貫妙子）or Reimy（麗美）, and I even thought whether the tune was a throwback to those kayo by Judy Ongg and Saki Kubota（久保田 早紀） from the late 70s which sent listeners to foreign climes. Definitely pretty interesting for an aidoru ballad. And as mentioned in the last paragraph, the lyrics by Megumi Ogura （小倉めぐみ）hold plenty of ennui for the poor young girl who feels that her god has abandoned her with the receding last rays of summer. Masayuki Kishi （岸正之）was responsible for the music.
As for "Garland", it was her only LP that would reach No. 1 on the charts although in the CD format, both it and a later release, "Gauche" (1989) would hit the top spot.