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 11, 2014

Takuji Oyama -- Passing

Just taking a break from discussing all the social issues in our school system as part of my studies to blog about music. The tiredness and the sight of grey sky made me turn to something pensively comforting. Takuji Oyama (小山卓治) has created many songs that suit this kind of mood. I'm a music person, so I don't have to like lyrics to enjoy a song, but I have to admit, I have a special admiration for artists who cover emotions beyond love, friendships and enjoyment of social life. Oyama has written novels as well, and you can sense a literary tone to his lyrics even though you may not understand Japanese. His topics range from Bon Dylan-esque social commentary (he lists Dylan along with Bruce Springsteen as influences) to introspective reflections, but it's the latter stuff that really gets to me. I used to translate some of his lyrics roughly out of sheer curiosity, and thanks to my time in Japan, I can now understand them more clearly, though I'm far from competent. Not many people know about him even though he's been around since 1983 and still going. According to some hearsay online, he was often overshadowed by popularity of Motoharu Sano and Yutaka Ozaki, who debuted around the same time and had similar styles but possessed more charisma. Yet interestingly enough, Oyama's J-Wiki notes that he had an influence on Ozaki,

The song for today is "Passing", a track from his fifth album "Vanishing Point", which came out in November 1987. I've always liked the gentle melancholy of this one. I can't put the exact feeling into words, but it's touching. I also like the way the harmonica in the beginning gives way to the band playing. As I mentioned, Oyama's voice isn't the type to command listeners, but it has human warmth to it that I find appealing. The lyrics are somewhat vague, but from what I can understand, they're about one's desire to escape from restless, mundane life and to search for the beauty in it. In the last verse, the protagonist admires the flickering lights of his home city from across the river, the same place that has smothered him for years, and then travels further away. As the English lines in the refrain go, "any day, anywhere, I'll be there". Here's to a better tomorrow.

Just an observation, but I noticed that Oyama really likes the word 'passing' for some reason; his third album from 1985 is also titled this way (though the actual track is not there) and there's also a song called "Passing Bell".

Source: k~aki's blog at

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