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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Takeo Fujishima -- Otsuki-San Konbanwa (お月さん今晩は)

On a full episode of "Nippon no Uta" that I had been digging the internet for, through the powerful warbling of Kouhei Fukuda (福田こうへい) I first managed come across a vaguely familiar song I had heard once before. And then after fast-forwarding through the rest of the "Meikyoku Eleven" and most of the "Kayo HOT Zensen", I got to see Kiyoshi Maekawa (前川清) at his max goofiness, which can only be seen when you pair him up with the imposing Akiko Wada (和田アキ子). He even danced up a storm to Little Richard's "Jenny, Jenny"... Uh, yeah... That hardly ever happens. He's actually livelier with her than with Ikuzo Yoshi (吉幾三), which saying quite a lot! And I thought I had seen it all...

But dancing Mae-Kiyo aside, the tune that Fukuda had very nicely pulled off was none other than "Otsuki-San Konbanwa" (Good Evening Mr. Moon). Just at the mention of its amusing title jogged my memory. Then it hit me. I had heard it a few moons (haha) ago by some young Enka on one of of my favourite "Kayo Concert" episodes - first time I had seen Takashi Hosokawa (細川たかし) on TV. I recalled not taking a strong liking to it at first since I wasn't yet a fan of the slower, more melancholic-sounding Enka songs... Actually, I can't really say that I'm particularly fond of them right now, but at least I'm used to it. However, I somehow accepted it when I heard the whimsically sung "Otsuki-San Konbanwa".

The original by Fujishima. He sounds a little like Hachiro Kasuga there.

After Fukuda brought the song back to me, one thing that I was certain of after listening to its score was that "Otsuki-San Konbanwa" was most likely from a tune from the 50's, minimally the 60's. After some research, I found out that it was indeed released around that period, 1957, and was originally sung by the late Enka singer, Takeo Fujishima (藤島桓夫). And the piece of haunting music from this hit had actually served as the famed Minoru Endo's (遠藤実) debut work. The lyrics were done by Mataichi Matsumura (松村又一) and they are about our lead man here having to leave the lady he loves so much behind to go to the big city... or is it the other way around? Either way, whenever he feels lonely, he looks up to the Moon at night and asks (and greets) it to tell him everything it knows. That actually kinda reminds me of this show I watched as a kid, "Bear in the Big Blue House", where Bear would go talk to Luna the moon at the end of every episode. Man, I miss that show.

Osaka native Fujishima had sung "Otsuki-San Konbanwa" once during his 2nd out of 7 consecutive appearances on the Kohaku in 1957. One cover that I've found of this song is by singer and guitarist, Yoshio Tabata (田端義夫), and I prefer his version to the original. Tabata had a mellower voice, so I think it suits the heavy atmosphere of the song better.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Noelle.

    I think I'll have to go along with your assessment of the song and say that I like Tabata's version. The strings and the singer give it a mellower and fuller sound. It was probably on one of my Dad's records somewhere.


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