I've seen Kensaku Morita（森田健作）pop up on variety shows from time to time as this grinning veteran tarento, and I'd heard he was an actor many years before, but as a Chiba Prefecture resident, I really got to know him when he became Governor back in 2009. My impression of him, besides his ear-to-ear smile, was how loud and fast he was with his speech. I would feel sorry for any of his staff if they had to be chewed out by the boss.
Now, the reason that he's up on the blog starts from the fact that I found a compilation CD of some old kayo kyoku at music163.com and tried it out. For whatever reason, the tracks for this disc didn't have any of the singers' names but I came across this hail-fellow-well-met song by the title of "Saraba Namida to Iou" (Let's Say Tears of Farewell). It had that typical happy melody with the sad-sounding title, and I just wanted to find out whose jaunty voice the song belonged to.
Well, as it turns out, it belonged to Governor Kensaku Morita (whose real name is Eiji Suzuki「鈴木栄治」) when he was just young MoriKen, junior thespian. Morita debuted in 1969 in motion pictures but his first TV role was in 1971's "Ore wa Otoko da!"（おれは男だ！...I'm A Man!) as high school student Koji Kobayashi (although the fellow was already 21), and he sang the theme song for the comedy-drama, "Saraba Namida to Iou". Written by Yu Aku（阿久悠）and composed by Kunihiko Suzuki（鈴木邦彦）, the song has that good-natured country lilt although the horns also bring it into natsukashii 70s kayo territory. I just want to take that walk among the rice paddies.
Morita has sung a number of singles over the years, a lot of them becoming theme songs for his movies and TV shows. As for his political career, that all started back in 1992 when he was first elected to the House of Councillors, and then he got a seat in the Lower House six years later. He finally got that governorship in 2009 and was re-elected in 2013.
The above are scenes from "Ore wa Otoko da!"
|Heading into Urayasu, Chiba|