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.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Akira Fuse/Kei Ogura -- Cyclamen no Kaori (シクラメンのかほり)

I've heard this haunting song off and on for years but only made the connection between "Cyclamen no Kaori" (Cyclamen Kaori) and grand balladeer Akira Fuse(布施明)relatively recently. Released as Fuse's 34th single in April 1975, I had wanted to finally hear the song in its entirety and got that chance when I bought the "Seishun Uta Nenkan" (青春歌年鑑)disc for 1975 several years ago.

The song became one of the biggest hits for Fuse, who had debuted all the way back in 1965, and with those deep, resonant vocals, it probably had quite a few fans reaching for their hankies as those vocals were paired with a lone guitar and violin. Quite a fine match between song and singer.

"Cyclamen no Kaori" was written and composed by Kei Ogura(小椋佳), an unassuming fellow with a wonderful voice who has made occasional appearances on television. His adult working life had involved a stint at the Akasaka branch of The Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, and when he was taking a breather while visiting a client company, he received some inspiration for the song when he caught sight of the titular cyclamen as part of the interior decor. The song was a love ballad of sorts for this lady by the name of Kaori, and according to J-Wiki, Ogura also gained some insight for the first couple of lines from the lyrics of Al Martino's words for Elvis Presley's "Mary in the Morning", another ode to a beloved one.

In further trivia that makes me go "Hmmmmm....", the wife of Kei Ogura also has the name with the spelling given in the title, although it is actually pronounced Kahori. Apparently though, when the singer-songwriter was asked whether "Cyclamen no Kaori" was named after the missus during a newspaper interview, he answered that if this were true, she'd kill him. He finished his answer by stating that the rumour was purely a myth.

 What wasn't a myth, though, was how successful the song was. It stayed at No. 1 for about a month between May and June 1975, and was the No. 2 song for the entire year. It won a slew of awards including the Grand Prize at the Japan Record Awards.


  1. Way off topic but...

    I really dislike the way Fuse performs the song these days. His rhythm is all out of whack, singing fast and slow just so he won't get bored after all these decades.

    I grew up thinking the song was more folksy with a little soul since Fuse would perform the song with an acoustic guitar. Now it seems every one of his performances has to be "leveled up" to Broadway standards or something. I mean, is it me or does he always perform the song in a tuxedo these days??

    1. Hello, Saburo.

      Nope, it isn't you. I think Fuse seems to be going a bit Las Vegas in his appearances nowadays. But I always saw him and some of his other big-voiced contemporaries as being somewhat hammy over the last several years. Not sure what it is but it could be that they were indeed getting stir crazy about singing their trademark songs for so long.


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