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.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Haruo Oka -- Akogare no Hawaii Koro (憧れのハワイ航路)

Just two days ago I managed to come across this rarity: A pack of 4 CD's filled with Enka and Kayokyoku from back in the day at 'That CD Shop'! As you can see I used rarity. That's because you can almost never find CD's of those genres being sold here in Singapore and also, being a pack of 4 would usually mean that it would cost a bomb, right? Nope, that thing only costed less than 20 bucks (SGD)! I guess no one wanted to buy it until I came along.

Anyway, those CD's had many classics from the 50's and 60's by singers like Hideo Murata (村田英雄) - its got 'Jinsei Gekijo' (人生劇場)! - and for the Mood Kayo side we've got Frank Nagai (フランク 永井) and Wada Hiroshi & Mahina Stars (和田弘とマヒナスターズ). But what was really interesting was that there were even songs from the 40's! And that was where I found the song that had been popping up in my mind occasionally since I had discovered it a couple of years ago while watching Chage & Aska discussing about old songs on a talk show.

That song was 'Akogare no Hawaii Koro' by Haruo Oka (岡晴夫). Its now the oldest song I'm quite fond of, being released in 1948! I'm sure that makes it one of those cheerful and uplifting post-war tunes talking about longing for the beautiful sunsets and coconut tree-lined paths of the exotic islands of Hawaii.

I had actually found it quite silly back then how Oka sang this song: Eyes open as wide as his mouth and seemingly staring into space while standing quite still in front of the microphone. Especially so as he began the distinguishable start with his equally as distinguishable nasally voice.

Same performance as the clip shown on the talk show C&A were on.

HAAAAAre ta sora soyogu kaze
Minato defune no dora no ne tanoshi

And that would get stuck in my head from time to time to the point that it'd be annoying since I only clearly remembered those 2 lines above. It was written by Miyuki Ishimoto (石本美由起) and the jaunty, quintessentially 40's music was composed by Yoshi Eguchi (江口夜詩). From what I gather, it was quite popular since it was used in a movie by the same name in 1950 starring Oka himself and a 13 year old Hibari Misora (美空ひばり) and its sung quite often nowadays too by other singers, most probably when there is a post-war song special or something on that line.

Oka, born as Tatsuo Sasaki, debuted as a Kayokyoku/Ryukoka (流行歌) singer in 1939. Ryukoka was basically any kind of pop music and Enka branched out from that genre, but now it just refers to pop music from the 20's to the early 60's. He had never participated in the Kohaku since he insisted on live performances, which was quite a shame. Unfortunately he passed away in 1970 at only 54 years old.

That's Oka and Misora, by the way.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Noelle.

    It sounds like you found the Holy Grail of early kayo kyoku songs. Keep those discs safe!

    I remember the melody and vocals of "Akogare no Hawaii koro" very well if not the title. They are indeed very jaunty and positive-sounding. I think at the time, Japan needed all the good news it could get and perhaps Hawaii was seen as an Eden of sorts.


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