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.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Yukio Hashi -- Itakogasa (潮来笠)

For traditional-sounding Enka where the most appropriate thing to wear would be a nice kimono or maybe even those wandering warrior outfits (straw hat included), this was where it all began, Yukio Hashi's (橋幸夫) debut single, "Itakogasa".

I got to know "Itakogasa" through watching one of Korokke's (コロッケ) performances that had him doing 46 pretty spot-on if not ridiculous impressions of different artistes (and creatures) consecutively almost 2 years back. Other than being fascinated by how he accomplished such a feat, it made me look up many of the singers on that list, and at number 9 was Hashi. I found that little smidgen of the song that Korokke had "sung" quite catchy, and his impression of the man himself rather odd, so after multiple views of this particular video, I decided to dig through Korokke's enormous repertoire to uncover the name to it.

Where I had learnt of Numbers 4, 6, 13 and 14 as well.

When I did find it - not that hard really, Korokke had only done impressions on two Hashi songs - I was impressed by the jaunty music's more up-to-date (as much as a traditional Enka song can sound), louder, fuller arrangement with more strings and the powerful thumping of the drums. Unfortunately that video that I had watched got deleted, otherwise you would be able to see Hashi brandishing a sword and fighting off a bunch of badies at the end of the song. The original score, done by renown composer, Tadashi Yoshida (吉田正), is not as boisterous, but that makes it easier to imagine a lone ranger wandering through the field, wide straw hat dipped low and covering the upper portion of his face, going where the wind takes him and partaking in heroic adventures. The lyrics were written by Takao Saeki (佐伯孝夫).

Moving on, "Itakogasa" was released on 5th July 1960 and was very well recieved, allowing Hashi to perform on the Kohaku and win the Newcomer's Award at the 2nd Japan Record Awards that same year. He would sing this song again on the Kohaku 13 years later in 1973. There was even "Itakogasa" the movie in 1961, and in 2005, they had put up a bronze statue of the movie's main character, "Itaro (伊太郎)" and a plaque in the Suigo Itako Ayama Park - looks pretty with all those purple irises - in Itako City, Ibaraki, to commemorate Hashi's hit. The park also has a jukebox that plays 5 of Hashi's songs, "Itakogasa" included... Cool. But it'll have to wait. There are other statues and plaques I would love to see and "read" first.

Last Sunday, I managed to catch Hashi on NHK's "Nodojiman"... that means I could finally strike his name off my list of singers I've yet to see on the tube. Wa-hey, I've now seen all 3 of the Gosanke on TV!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Noelle.

    Yukio Hashi had quite the resonant voice back then, didn't he? It was good to hear him tackling "Itakogasa" which seems to musically scream "Strolling warrior", considering the first time I heard him was through his haunting "Muhyou".


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.