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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Masaaki Hirao -- Hoshi wa Nandemo Shiteiru (星はなんでも知っている)

Out of all the accomplished songwriters I'm aware of, I find that Masaaki Hirao(平尾昌晃) is the one with the best singing voice. Others like Tetsuya Gen (弦哲也) and Keisuke Hama (浜圭介) don't have shabby vocals either, but Hirao's seems to be more versatile and is able to hit the high notes easily, as I've noticed in probably his best known single "Hoshi wa Nandemo Shiteiru" (The stars know everything).

As mentioned in an earlier article on Haruo Oka's (岡晴夫) "Akogare no Hawaii Koro" (憧れのハワイ航路), I was lucky enough to chance upon this pack of 4 CDs filled with old tunes ranging from the late 30's (1939) to the 60's late last year. And as I browsed through the lists to pick out anything/anyone familiar, "Hoshi wa Nandemo Shiteiru" appeared as one of the last tracks to one of the CDs with Hirao's name beside it. At that point in time, I had no inkling as to how this song sounded like but I recognized the singer as the one behind the music to many of Hiroshi Itsuki's hits.

The original version.

As I listened to "Hoshi wa Nandemo Shiteiru", I had assumed that its music that makes me think of someone looking up and contemplatively gazing at the dark starry sky - in the version I listen to, that is - was composed by Hirao himself. It was only after doing some research on the song as I wrote this article did I discover that it was done by Yo/Hiroshi Tsutsumi (津々美洋... I'm not sure how to pronounce his name), and the score from the original recording sounded quite Western, as in like the Wild West Western. Turns out "Hoshi wa Nandemo Shiteiru" was released in 1958, the year Hirao debuted and during his rockabilly days before he started composing. The lyrics were by Tetsu Mizushima (水島哲). Also, in the version I have - probably a new self-cover since it sounds more modern - he says his little monologue at the beginning rather than in the middle of the song.
After looking through the 4 lists of songs on that compilation album, I realise that there were many songs that used to be foreign to me back then but have slowly been discovered over the months that followed. For example, Dick Mine's "Tabi Sugata Sannin Otoko" (旅姿三人男) and Takeo Fujishima's "Otsuki-San Konban wa" (お月さん今晩は). I was quite pleased to see them there.


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Wow! I almost felt like yelling "Rawhide!" after hearing the original version. I think the magical thing about this song is that it not only sounds like something out of an old American TV show about the Wild West, but the music also sounds perfectly at home as an old kayo.

    The other interesting thing is that seeing Hirao on TV, he could easily have been more of a bigger presence in front of the cameras rather than behind the pen. He's a pretty handsome fellow.

    1. Yeah, I've seen Hirao while watching clips on those variety shows on YouTube. Like during some of Korokke's crazy performance, the camera would pan to the show's guests and he'd be there laughing away. And he was on an episode of "Nippon no Uta" a few months ago too, singing with Rimi Natsukawa during the "Special stage" segment - his own cover of "Diana" included.

      Hirao's good looking... in his younger days. Can't really say the same thing now in his senior years, but he definitely looks good for his age (77).


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