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, October 7, 2014

Duke Aces -- Tsukubasan Rokugashodan (筑波山麓合唱団)

Out of all the songs from Duke Aces' (デューク・エイセス) 'Nihon no Uta series', the one representing Ibaraki prefecture has got to be the silliest and most bizarre - in a good way - one yet.

Written and composed by Rokusuke Ei and Taku Izumi (永六輔 . いずみたく), each of these representative songs would feature what that particular prefecture's most well known for, be it landmarks, temples, etc. In Ibaraki's case, its Mt Tsukuba... the Shiroku toads and the Shiroku toad oil from Mt Tsukuba. What's so special about these toads? Like their name Shiroku (四六), they've got 4 fingers/toes on their front feet and 6 on their hind feet. Well, that's about it. And if you're wondering about the toad oil, its just some ointment for your skin... nothing too nasty, I hope.

Anyway, 'Tsukubasan Rokugashodan', released in 1970, is basically about a frog chorus group from Mt Tsukuba and the 4 members consisted of, surprise surprise, a Top Tenor, Second Tenor, Baritone and Bass. In this little jig, these frogs/toad introduce themselves through song, and each part to be sung - or should I say, croaked - by the corresponding members of Duke Aces. For example, Baritone Michio Tani (谷 道夫) would sing the part of the Baritone frog in the group.

So for about 90% to 95%, the Aces would just just croaking away and I suppose showing off their vocal range too. Cute and rather zany, it actually sounds more like something you'd hear at the start or end of a kiddie show like Sesame street, with the day's feature being frogs.

Frankly, I wonder if Ei was just bored from writing proper songs that he decided to do something different for a change. A+ for creativity? Despite how strange the song is, it was one of the more popular songs from the 'Nihon no Uta series' other than 'Ii Yu Dana' and 'Onna Hitori' that represented the Gunma and Kyoto prefectures respectively. In fact, they even sang it once on their 7th appearance at the 20th Kohaku in 1969!

The best part of the song would be when all 4 Aces start bouncing up and down mid-song. Yes you read right, elderly men in suits jumping on the spot like frogs on stage. It was all the more hilarious to see my favorite Ace (for various reasons), the stiff and mostly aloof Yoshitaka Makino (槇野義孝) doing just that.


  1. Well, I gotta say that I had never seen quite a performance by the Aces like that one. Yes, I think the song was probably great as an entry for the kids' song series "Minna no Uta" or "Sesame Street" but I wonder if some of that toad oil ended up in the group's beers before recording. :)

  2. I bought a compilation of the Duck Aces. I was a little bit surprised when I heard this song.

    1. Hi Kenji France.

      Sorry for the (very) late reply... And nice to see you here on KKP. I was also surprised when I heard this tune from the vocal group whom I thought were quite prim and proper. Well, but I suppose it mixes things up. Plus, it's amusing to see 4 elderly guys hopping up and down in suits.


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