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 8, 2015

Three Cats/Miku Hatsune -- Kiiroi Sakuranbo (黄色いサクランボ)

Earlier tonight, I caught my usual Tuesday-night regular "Kayo Concert" and it was their occasional barnburning medley of the ol' kayo hits with the guests which included a still hot Yoko Oginome(荻野目洋子)! One of the songs that was in the medley was "Kiiroi Sakuranbo" (Yellow Cherry), a 3-minute song of flirtation with the various sighs and moans built into the lyrics. Those vocal antics triggered something in my mind that said that I had heard the song before but could not remember the source.

Well, I was able to find out that the original version had been recorded by a trio of young ladies under the name of Three Cats. There is very little information about the group...certainly nothing on J-Wiki. What I could find out was through an Ameba blog entry which stated that the lineup for Three Cats changed a fair bit since the original recording of "Kiiroi Sakuranbo" in 1959 (I currently don't know when the trio was formed or how long it lasted); the original lineup consisted of Keiko Ozawa, Kayo Umeda and Yurie Uehara(小沢桂子、梅田和代、上原由里江).

The song certainly became a hit and it was the breakthrough for lyricist Tetsuro Hoshino(星野哲郎)and composer Kuranosuke Hamaguchi(浜口庫之助)who hadn't had a hit previously. In fact, its popularity gave rise to a movie with the same title, and it has been remembered thoroughly enough over the decades that it has risen to Standard status. But Three Cats wasn't where I first heard the song.

It was actually the above three girls. Last week, I wrote an article about Junko Sakurada(桜田淳子)that included her membership in The Hana no Chuusan Trio. Well, there she is above me along with her two compatriots, Masako Mori(森昌子)and Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵), doing their version of "Kiiroi Sakuranbo" as cutely as they could. I guess I must have caught the footage on some old retrospective while I was still living in Japan. Plus, there's a good chance that it was used in some sort of commercial.

The take-away here is that whenever a music program in Japan needs to have a cute/silly novelty tune between some serious enka epics, "Kiiroi Sakuranbo" is the go-to song.

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