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.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Saori Minami/Hiromi Iwasaki -- Soushun no Minato (早春の港)

If there is one thing that I used to tell students when they were inquired about the weather in Toronto, I always said "Predictably unpredictable". Catching the weather forecast every morning is a must. And this week is definitely one of those meteorologically wacky times. We were enjoying some seasonably spring weather but the temps are about to drop like the proverbial rock as we go further into the week, and there may even be snow (shudder). My anime buddy won't even change from snow tires until May, just to be sure.

(karaoke version)

Anyways, let's bring something a bit more seasonally appropriate here with Saori Minami's(南沙織)"Soushun no Minato" (Early Spring Harbour). It's actually been quite a few years since I've put up one of her tunes. Aside from her really big hit of "Juu-Nana Sai"(17才), I never really got to know her all that well, but I decided to listen to the 1973 edition of "Seishun Uta Nenkan"(青春歌年鑑), and came across this song on Disc 1. There were quite a few of Minami's tunes on this album.

"Soushun no Minato" is another sepia-toned kayo that brings an image of walking along the beach during a breezy and comfy spring day (the sound of waves crashing helps a lot). The Kyohei Tsutsumi-penned melody(筒美京平)including flute and steel guitar just brings that warm and mellow feeling as Mieko Arima's(有馬三恵子)lyrics about that woman pining for that far-off fellow are delivered by Minami in a honeyed voice that sounds a whole lot more mature than her age at that time of 18 or 19 years.

According to the J-Wiki article on the song, the song had had a previous incarnation as "Furusato no You ni"(ふるさとのように...Just Like Home)from a previous 1972 album of hers "Soushun no Harmony"(早春のハーモニー...Early Spring Harmony), but when it was decided that there would be a version of it coming out as an official single, the powers-that-be revised the lyrics and arrangement. "Soushun no Minato", by the way, was also a track on her 6th album from May 1973, "Kizu Tsuku Sedai"(傷つく世代...The Scarring Age)which peaked at No. 9

Released in January 1973, "Soushun no Minato" almost broke the Top 10 by coming in at No. 11 and finished as the 79th-ranked song of the year. Popular folk singer Takuro Yoshida(吉田拓郎)was so impressed by the song when he heard it on the radio that he penned an answer song over 18 months later with help from Hiroshi Kamayatsu(かまやつひろし)under the title of "Cynthia" (シンシア)which happens to be Minami's English name. 

(Sorry but the music163 link is now dead.)

Then we have Hiromi Iwasaki's(岩崎宏美)wonderful cover of "Soushun no Minato" from her 2003 "Dear Friend II" album. If there were anyone who could match Minami or even exceed her with this song, it would be Iwasaki. Her voice here sounds as if it hadn't changed in 20 years, and I guess it's the low and mellow vocals of both her and Minami that sell the relaxation in the song. There's even more of an exotic element in her version with what sounds more like a mandolin than a steel guitar. That beach may have been in Greece rather than Japan. In any case, I could use some more of the sunny countenance in these old kayo to get through some of the rain and cold of this week.


  1. Hi J-Canuck,

    Sure brings summer to my room. :) I like this song and appreciate revisiting these kayo classics from the past. It's my first time hearing Iwasaki's version, and like you've said, her voice is magical. I've been listening more and more to her over the past while after feeling inspired by your enthusiasm for the singer.

    I hear ya about winter in Toronto. So stubborn. I already put away my coat last week but now it looks like I need to retrieve it again.

    1. Hi nikala.

      Thanks for the comments. Yep, I think we may need to load up on summery songs just to counteract all of the unneeded winter we still have here in the least until this weekend. Good brother's area of Richmond Hill was getting pelted with some pretty snowy hail!

      Yep, Iwasaki is one of the pioneers for me when it comes to my falling for kayo kyoku. She has had that voice which comes around once in a generation. That voice and her really long hair in the early 80s cemented one of my eternal images of that time.


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