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.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ikuzo Yoshi -- Suika (酔歌)

Okay I have to admit, the first time I heard what the name of one of Ikuzo Yoshi (吉幾三)'s 3 representative songs, I was a little perturbed.

"How can a song named 'Watermelon' be so popular? And how can it be a singer's representative song??" I remember saying to myself, since I only knew 'Suika' as Japanese name of the green water-filled fruit. And that was until I finally saw the Kanji words for it and what it meant on Yoshi's Wikipedia page.

Oh. 'Suika' didn't mean watermelons in this song. Well then.

Anyway, 'Suika' in this aspect means 'The drunken song'. Drunken because the poor fellow in the song is trying to drink away his loneliness as he misses people - like ma - he left back in his hometown probably in some rural part of the country, and far far away from the city he had come to work in to earn a living. Sadness added by the fact that he may not have earned enough to make a trip back too? (My interpretation of two comments on one of the song's video ( that show the translation - in Mandarin, that is - of  two-thirds of the song. Comments made by this person 'bkbkcat')

So he spends nights at bars/izakayas alone, drinking himself to death. Therefore the drunken song, 'Suika'. Wow, its a sad song, huh? I would consider this one of Yoshi's grittier songs since he has written more lighthearted songs. And I think this type of Enka song can fall under the Bokyo or Homesickness category of Enka, kinda like Masao Sen's (千昌夫) 'Kitaguni no haru' (北国の春) but with a heavier ambiance.

Released on the 25th June 1990, it did alright on the Oricon charts. I thought it'd do better, but considering that its an Enka song and that it had quite the fierce competition (1990 had lots of good songs...), I suppose 38th being the song's highest position was understandable.

*Sigh*, whenever I hear the last few words of the song "Konya mo sake o", it makes me feel like making a toast even though I don't like alcohol and am still below legal drinking age in Singapore. Eh... a toast with some apple spritzer, perhaps?



  1. Hello, Noelle.

    I remember this song via the refrain. I gather that part of Yoshi's stock-in-trade is the crying-in-one's-beer song since that was also the case with his "Sake yo". He's very good in conveying that melancholy with those vocals of his.

  2. Yeah, and the other part of him is happy-go-lucky and being able to sing/write silly songs. Examples of that being the Tofu song 'TOFU', with him obsessing over tofu (I may do an article on this song) and 'NDA![んだ!]', which I think is about him discovering Tokyo for the first time.


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