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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 14, 2014

The Drifters -- Dorifu no Hayaguchi kotoba (ドリフの早口ことば)



Tongue twisters can be quite daunting, don't you think? The likelihood of stumbling is pretty high, and just when you think you got the hang of it, your tongue twists... get it? Its a tongue twister and it... never mind. Now that you have that in mind, how about try imagining doing so to the beat. Seems easy enough? Well, not so if the beat happens to be as fast as The Drifters' 'Dorifu no Hayaguchi kotoba', which is basically the comedy group's take on tongue twisters.

This song, released as a proper single in 1980, seemed to mostly appear on one particular variety/sketch show by the group called '8 Toki dayo! Zenin jugo' (8時だョ!全員集合), and it could be due to it having a live audience - including the little ones. Ain't nothing funnier than being able to watch your favorite singer desperately trying to keep up with the rhythm and not stumble in front of their fans.

You'd know when it's 'Hayaguchi kotoba' time when you've got the day's selection of guest singers lined up in the same manner as a school/church choir while donning a white gown plus hat thing that looked like a beret. Then we have leader of The Drifters, Chosuke Ikariya (いかりや長介), in his own black gown pretending to be those conductor or instructor or whatever you call it saying those faithful words to get the show on the road:

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is Hayaguchi kotoba!!"

Then, the gentle tinkle of the piano would turn into a groovy and brisk toe-tapping, head-bobbing tune that I presume would strike anxiety in each prospective contestant. First one up would usually be a member of The Drifters - from what I had seen, it would most likely be Cha Kato (加藤茶) or Ken Shimura (志村けん) - to give an example for the rest to follow. And then, the fun begins as Ikariya would begin to pick out some of his at times unwilling 'students' to 'demonstrate their understanding'. I find it amazing that the two aforementioned members can recite the tongue twisters with such ease! Sure they must have practiced a whole lot, but still, it's impressive!

The tongue twisters, which I think get tougher and tougher as they proceed, were drafted by Ikariya himself and the rhythmic music was composed by Akihiko Takashima (たかしまあきひこ).



In the video above, The Drifters had brought 'Hayaguchi kotoba' to the Kohaku stage during what seemed to be their only but deserving proper Kohaku appearance in the 52nd edition of the year-end show in 2001. Contenders include the apparently 8 year-old Akko-chan and 9 year-old Mae-Kiyo. (Unfortunately that video has disappeared but I found a replacement. -- J-Canuck)

I had remembered watching a clip of 'Hayaguchi kotoba' on '8 Toki dayo! Zenin jugo' where Shimura came on as the last contender and stripped down to his highly suggestive (to put it nicely) swan tutu. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find it now... sorry for those who want to see the raunchiest member of the group in the tutu while singing this song a squeaky voice. But here, have this instead...

1 comment:

  1. Ah, one of the grand touchstones from "Hachi-ji da yo!" I used to remember watching the chorus go into funk mode when I got to see it on primitive VCR all those years ago. And of course, Shimura in his swan outfit. We all got a kick whenever Ikariya slapped the swan head and Shimura just did a sleazy "WAOOOOOOOOOOOOOH".

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