Yakushima looks like one of those off-shore islands where you can kick back, relax and just enjoy the easy pace of tranquil island life. Take a hike through its dense forest of Japanese cedar and appreciate its wildlife, if that's what you're into. I kinda envision it to be like an Okinawa but smaller, closer to the mainland (Kagoshima) and more forest than sandy beaches.
"Yakushima" on the other hand is quite the opposite of the little island's placid image. Being one of Takashi Hosokawa's (細川たかし) recent singles - released in 2013 - it definitely sounds modern, and by modern I mean it sounds like an Enka-tinged rock anthem. Listening to the loud, intense score with the wailing electric guitars composed by Shinichiro Inoue (井上慎一郎), I was impressed that Hosokawa had decided to deviate from his comfort zone Enka - well, not completely - this one time to mix things up a little.
As for the lyrics to "Yakushima", they were penned by the late lyricist Riku Ono (おのりく) and are what puts the Enka into the song. It has the veteran singer and his big voice singing about the various natural landmarks of Yakushima, like the ancient Jomon sugi (縄文杉) and how it boldly stood up to all the weathering to survive for more than a millennium. The other two include the Miya no ura peak (宮之浦岳), which apparently is the highest point on the island as well as on the whole of Kyushu, and the Oko no Taki (大川の滝), one of Japan's Top 100 waterfalls. Wow, this place has almost everything a Geography buff dreams of!
I can't imagine Hosokawa wearing modern-looking rocker clothes when singing "Yakushima"... he would look too weird. And a tux/suit ain't gonna cut it either, that's too refined for such an abrasive, machismo-oozing song. I suppose a manly kimono plus hakama would suffice. Preferably all black like in the first video. Now that's cool.
"Yakushima" did quite alright on the regular Oricon charts, peaking at 55th place.