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 21, 2014

Gamu -- Ai wa Kagero (愛はかげろう)

Yes, out of the cobwebs of my mind. I heard this once more after years and years, and the nostalgia, oh the nostalgia, started flowing through the arteries again. This is Gamu's(雅夢)"Ai wa Kagero", the folk duo's oh-so-tenderhearted debut song from September 1980. Kazuto Miura(三浦和人) and Toshikazu Nakagawa (中川敏一...I hope I got that last name right) formed Gamu (elegant dream) sometime in the late 1970s while studying at Chukyo University in Nagoya.

In May 1980, the pair entered the 19th annual Yamaha Popular Song Contest with "Ai wa Kagero" that Miura had written and composed, and subsequently won a prize in composition. It wasn't too long before it was released as the official debut and became Gamu's biggest hit, selling close to 700,000 copies. The song would also become the 13th-ranked single for 1981.

I've seen "Ai wa Kagero" translated as "Love is a Heat Haze" but I'm wondering if "Love is Fleeting" wouldn't have been a more romantic way to express it. It may have been a folk song but there is also that hint of European sentiment which gives it another interesting dimension to my ears. I guess with the additional fact that I am also a big fan of Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)from her early 80s pop music with a French twist, I probably have an affinity for that particular fusion of music from two different continents.

Nine singles and seven albums later, Gamu called it a day and decided to break up in December 1984. The above YouTube video is from their final concert, and apparently Miura got rather choked up during the performance of their most famous song.



  1. J-Canuck, it's been a long time.

    I love "Ai wa kagero". I have a different translation for the song title though. To me, it'd be "Love is Mayfly" or "Love is Day fly". The song writer is using a mayfly as an analogy to the short and precious lifespan of love. At least, that's what I got from reading the lyrics.

    There's also another episode regarding this song. The Japanese were saying that the theme song of Korean drama "Winter Sonata" infringed on its melody. I don't know much about music and when I listen to both of them, I tend to think they're 2 different songs. Maybe you can offer your opinion. Here's Winter Sonata's theme song:

    1. Hey, Larry. It's been a while. Nice to hear from you.

      I was back in Japan when "Winter Sonata" became a huge hit, so I used to hear it everywhere. One of my students even had the score opened up on her grand piano. Yeah, I can hear some similarities but I also treat that song and "Ai wa Kagero" as 2 different entities as well. And frankly, I've heard my share of Japanese pop tunes that were more than happy to "adopt" certain melodies from Western songs of that time.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.