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.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Kaori Kozai -- Tomarigi Yume Akari (とまり木夢灯り)

This week's "Kayo Concert" on NHK had the theme of bars and drinking. If the producers had decided to do a full tribute, the show would have ended up as long as the current form of the Kohaku Utagassen, but instead it was kept to its usual 45 minutes.

As Noelle mentioned on her article "Ashita no Meoto Zake"(明日の夫婦酒)featuring Kaori Kozai(香西かおり)and Ikuzo Yoshi(吉幾三), I also don't know all that much about Osaka-born enka singer Kozai aside from the fact that she has appeared a lot on shows like "Kayo Concert" and the Kohaku. However on that edition of the Tuesday-night show, she came on to perform a song that had me thinking of some of the old chestnut enka or Mood Kayo of yesteryear. It certainly sounded like something that could have come from the 60s or 70s, and truth be told, I was also reminded of the classic karaoke tune, "Roppongi Lullaby"(六本木ララバイ)that came out in 1984.

However, "Tomarigi Yume Akari" (Barstool Dream Light) was just released last month in April 2015 so it hasn't even been put in Kozai's J-Wiki discography yet. Written and composed by singer-songwriter Raymond Matsuya (レーモンド松屋...interesting that "Roppongi Lullaby" was also taken care of by a fellow who used an English first name, Ed Yamaguchi), there is that country music swinging lilt and the boozy saxophone that has me thinking Tokyo bar. The lyrics are about a woman pining away at a drinking establishment alone as she thinks about a past love and what could have been...the usual recipe for a Mood Kayo.

From what I've been able to find out about Matsuya is that he was born in Ehime Prefecture in 1951, and that he was in a high school band and attended a music academy in Tokyo. He went into a different line of work after graduation although he still maintained his musical activities as he went into the indies route. However, it wasn't until 2010 at the age of 59 that he made his major debut as a singer-songwriter. In 2012, he got his first big break when he earned the Best Composer prize at the Japan Record Awards for the song "Yoake no Blues"(夜明けのブルース...Daybreak Blues)for Hiroshi Itsuki(五木ひろし).

This is the karaoke video for "Tomarigi Yume Akari" so you can see what Matsuya was trying to say.


  1. Hi J-Canuck,

    Uh... I didn't write the "Asu no Meoto Zake" article, in fact, you did. It was actually where I had first discovered that song too.

    Listening to the music of "Tomarigi Yume Akari", it reminded me of a couple of the Cool Five tunes especially with the trumpets and all. Yeah..., it kinda sounds a little like the Cool Five's "Omoi Kiri Bashi" (思い切り橋). And since Matsuya had composed 2 very Latin-y hits for Itsuki - "Yoake no Blues" and "Hakata a la mode" - I kinda expected "Tomarigi Yume Akari" to be similar, quite surprising to hear how Mood Kayo-like it is.

    Unfortunately I too don't know much about Kozai either, just like you I only see her on "Kayo Concert" and "Nippon no Uta" from time to time.

    1. Hi Noelle.

      And oops on me! I kinda figured this was gonna happen to me sometime...I start losing track of who wrote what.


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