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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Takashi Hosokawa -- Yakushima (屋久島)

Hey, isn't that the Jomon sugi in the background?

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.


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Agreed on the fashion choice for Hosokawa. I couldn't really see him bang this out in a sober suit. The Japanese wear is more "Yakushima"'s style, especially with the shamisen wailing away in the background.

    Strangely enough, though, I saw Hosokawa on the latest "Kayo Concert" and he was pimped out in a Chicago Bulls jacket when he performed "Kita Sakaba". Mind you, it was pretty cold out there in Hokkaido.

  2. Hello there J-Canuck,

    I watched that episode. Finally got to see the guy sing "Kita sakaba"! And I was surprised to see Hosokawa in that Chicago Bulls jacket. I thought he looked kinda out of place in that. I had assumed he'd wear a kimono or something, but yeah, there was snow in huge piles outdoors so the jacket was necessary.

    Hosokawa's hometown seems rather odd. The residents play Ping-Pong with slippers instead of the regular paddles. They must be very bored people and there must be nothing much going for them in Makkari mura, since playing "Slipper Ping-Pong" is one of the Top 3 things the village is known for, besides that funny root thing that looks like garlic and Hosokawa himself.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.