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 19, 2015

Toshio Shiba & Honey Knights -- Furusato wa Chikyuu (故郷は地球)

It's been a while since I wrote a tokusatsu article. On top of that, the one I'm writing about today is for a theme song for a superhero show that I had never seen, except for some of the excerpts on YouTube. But the theme for "Silver Kamen"(シルバー仮面...Silver Mask)has been one that I used to hear tons of times on the old RCA Victor just because it was on the same record of tokusatsu themes, sandwiched between the themes for "Mirror Man" and "Ultra Seven".

The show itself had a 6-month run on TBS from November 1971 to May 1972. The hero, Koji Kasuga (played by Toshio Shiba), was one of five siblings, whose father was a designer of an advanced rocket. Some dastardly aliens had their own plans to steal the designs and end up killing Dr. Kasuga and burning down his house. Somehow, Koji becomes the great superhero Silver Kamen and works for truth, justice and the Japanese way.

Re-hearing the theme song "Furusato wa Chikyuu" (My Home is Earth), I thought the theme had its own style. Not as cheerful as Mirror Man's song and not quite as majestic as the theme for "Ultra Seven", "Furusato wa Chikyuu" had the atmosphere of a moody and urgent spy caper, and I think the pilot episode certainly started the series off as if it were less a tokusatsu show and more of a conspiracy thriller.

Star Toshio Shiba(柴俊夫)was accompanied by Honey Knights, those go-to guys for tokusatsu theme songs. And the composer was none other than Kosho Inomata(猪俣公章)who had created a couple of enka classics for Shinichi Mori(森進一)and Hiroshi Mizuhara(水原弘)a few years earlier. Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)was the lyricist, and his words described a lone and lonely warrior willing to protect his adopted home (kinda has that Superman ring to it), although I thought the hero was happily surrounded by family and friends.

I wrote an article on techno unit Denki Groove's "Drill King Anthem" last year, and I rather wonder if Takkyu Ishino(石野卓球)had been inspired by "Furusato no Chikyuu" when he came up with the Groove's own tongue-in-cheek tribute to all things tokusatsu.

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