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, March 21, 2015

Haruo Minami -- Funakata-San yo (船方さんよ)

Such grace...
"OOOOOiii~~~~! Funakata-San!"

That's the most amusing line from the B-side of Enka-Rokyoku veteran's debut single, "Funakata-San yo". Nah, it's the most amusing line out of all the proper songs I've listened to. Why? Because it reminds me of the way most Singaporeans call for someone's attention, or sometimes even to admonish the person. Yup, they (including me) would just utter (or in most cases shout) a sharp and simple, "Oi!", it's kinda like snapping one's fingers. And this... um... I think it can be loosely considered a word... is a fundamental part of speaking the country's widely-used unofficial language, Singlish, a combination of English and whole lot of other languages and their dialects, e.g. Mandarin and its more commonly used dialect here, Hokkien.

Anyway, time to get back to Haruo Minami (三波春夫). I wasn't too sure about what the lyrics that Hachiro Kadoi (門井八郎) wrote for "Funakata-San yo" really mean, but after reading the translation - in Mandarin - I think Minami may be in the shoes of the boat's passenger striking up some friendly conversation with the captain as they make their way to other side. Well, I would talk to the fella too in order not to get bored since boat rides seem to take a long time, and he may have some tales to tell about the different passengers he had ferried in the past. The music composed by Kazuo Harukawa (春川一夫) is really jaunty and cheery, very much like Minami's stage persona. Just by listening to the song itself can make you instantly envision the very genteel and jolly-looking fellow singing with that crowd-pleasing, radiant grin across his beaming face!

This video here is just the karaoke version of "Funakata-San yo". I don't usually put karaoke videos up, but I just find it rather entertaining to see the man himself in it, first shown rowing the dinghy... in a suit, then riding on it with that perpetual smile of his, again. It kinda makes me wonder if his cheeks ever get tired from doing so. Along with Minami's hit "Chanchiki okesa" (チャンチキおけさ), "Funakata-San yo" was released in 1957. Just like the A-side, "Funakata-San yo" had a movie with the same name, and Minami appeared in it as well.

I prefer "Funakata-San yo" though, not as festive-sounding as "Chanchiki okesa", but its definitely more lighthearted.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Perhaps it's not as festive as "Chanchiki Okesa" but "Funakata-san" still has that Minami cheer to it, and of course any performance on the stage will always contain that beatific Minami smile. :)


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