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.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Shinichi Sasaki -- Hana Yome Toge (花嫁峠)

(karaoke version)

Now this is an interesting one. I've heard a couple of songs here and there revolving around the topic of marriage, and they usually come from the prospective bride or groom's point of view, most likely being overjoyed about getting hitched with some kind of upbeat score to add to the mood. So when it came to "Hana Yome Toge", I had assumed it'd most likely be as what I have mentioned above. But after actually watching the MV and going through its lyrics - written by Yoshiaki Sekiguchi (関口義明) - it turned out to be a whole different story.

We have Enka singer Shinichi Sasaki (佐々木新一) singing in the shoes of a parent having to send his beloved daughter off for marriage instead. What I enjoyed most about this song is that Sasaki very well manages to convey the joy and pride of a father seeing his child finally grow up and face one of life's most unforgettable stepping stones, and balances it out with the concealed heartache all parents have of letting go of their precious offspring. Quite sad when you come to think of it.

To go along with Sasaki's somewhat nasally warble is the gentle, happy yet forlorn music composed by Kenji Miyashita (宮下健治). Hey, it's the same guy who composed Kiyoshi Hikawa's (氷川きよし) hit "Choitto Kimagure Wataridori" (ちょいときまぐれ渡り鳥), which is definitely at the opposite end of the spectrum of emotion when compared to "Hana Yome Toge".

I've never heard of Sasaki at all before the song, so I kinda thought that he may be like Teruo Ikeda (池田輝郎), an aged Enka singer who began his career in music professionally/commercially rather late. Just going off on a slight tangent here, Ikeda's "Neon Bune" (ネオン舟) is amazing and if I get a penny for every time I listened to it, I'd get a dollar! And gotta love his Min'yo voice. Hmm, now I feel like listening to it again. Actually, Sasaki does sound a little like Ikeda, or vice versa... whoever came first.

Okay, getting back on track. Sasaki, born in Aomori in 1946, and if I read right from the J-Wiki, he was discovered in 1963 by renowned composer Seiichi Sakurada (桜田誠一) while still in his second year of high school. He debuted in 1965 under the label King Records and his nickname back then was "New one". From there, Sasaki consistently produced singles, with his 4th single from 1966 "Anoko Tazunete" (あの娘たずねて) being a million seller. But that was until 1971 where everything just stopped for some unknown reason. He did still release some singles on occasion, some even released a decade apart from the other! No wonder I had never heard of him! Though it seems that they've been coming out regularly in the recent years, with "Hana Yome Toge" being his newest, released on October 6th 2014. The song did pretty well on the regular charts, peaking at 60th place. From the MV, it most likely peaked at 11th on the Enka-yo charts.

I don't know... the last line where our protagonist wishes his daughter to take care and have a blessed marriage just tugs on the heartstrings. Dang it, Sasaki! Or should I say Sekiguchi?

1 comment:

  1. Y'know...I don't think I've ever come across an enka song that features the parent's point of view when it comes to weddings. This one does have that balance of pride and melancholy that any father or mother would probably feel at the realization that daughter is heading off to her own family life. I've been to a few weddings in Japan and the moment where bride and groom have to read out their thanks and give bouquets of flowers to the parents is always quite emotional.


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