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.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Eisaku Ohkawa -- Abare Funa Uta (あばれ舟唄)

As I've said before, 2014 had offered many good Enka songs. And I consider Eisaku Ohkawa's (大川栄策) "Abare Funa Uta" one of them. I'd heard of the guy via his breakthrough single "Sazanka no Yado" (さざんかの宿), which was rather mellow and elegant sounding despite the fact that the man himself looked so gruff. However, it never actually left a strong impression on me and it only allowed me to acknowledge the existance of this new (to me) Enka singer.

His newest single on the other hand (released on 27th August 2014) first caught my attention by being up and around the Top 10 in the weekly Enka-yo Oricon list. It apparently stayed on for a solid 10 weeks and the highest it got was 49th place on the regular charts. So since it seemed like it had a pretty good reputation, I thought I'd give it a listen.

The next thing that drew me closer to "Abare Funa Uta" during the listen was its rollicking and fairly manly tune, especially with the electric guitar revving away and the thumping drums. I have no clue what the song is about... I'm guessing it has something to do with boats, or probably some sea-shanty-like thing since "Funa uta" means "Boat song". Ohkawa also goes, "Ha su choi choi!" after the chorus, which sounds like something a sailor would yell out while on the high seas trawling for some fish. (Update from 4/1/15, courtesy of J-Canuck) Turns out the song's about a guy who'd rather spend his time out at sea rather than staying dry on land. Not a landlubber huh?

"Abare Funa Uta" had its lyrics done by Osamu Yoshioka (吉岡治) and was composed by the late Shousuke Ichikawa (市川昭介).

Seriously, scarves seemed to be "in" at that point in time.
Even Ichiro Toba wore one in "Shigure tabi"!
But dang, Ohkawa looks pretty cool in this picture.


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Thanks for putting up "Abare Funa Uta". It's that classic seagoing enka about a man who relishes hitting the fickle weather and northern seas more than the security of the land or even women. I've heard plenty of those manly-man sea songs in my time.

    I think the one charming thing Ohkawa has over people like Shinichi Mori and Hiroshi Itsuki is that he has that common man look about him. He could actually be that amiable hard-working guy on the docks or on the fishing boats that would come into the local pub for a drink before heading home. And yet, he can still provide that tenderhearted ballad while in the suit.

  2. Hi J-Canuck,

    Thanks for the song's meaning. Now that you mention it, Ohkawa does look like one of those hard working fisherman with his gruff-looking exterior, so singing this kind of manly song fits him well. And yet he also has quite a pleasant voice to pull off ballads, which came as quite a surprise for I'd expected his voice to be huskier and more guttural


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