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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, May 12, 2015

Yasuko Tomita -- Sabishinbo (さびしんぼう)


I’ve always liked classical music though for some reason I had never sought it out deliberately. That is, until late last year when my B.Ed.-related work exhausted me so much that the only way to get through it with my sanity intact was to have symphonies and piano concertos accompany my late hours typing up lesson plans. (I love teaching and preparing for lessons but no one in the actual field actually writes a script for those.) In the process, I got to learn a bit about some technical aspects of the music itself and its composers, though I’m still far from being an expert.

But you know what I’d like to have more of? Classical aidoru music. As much as I admire the pure form, I wouldn’t mind hearing it packaged with some sugary vocals and synthesizers. This idea sprung to mind when I listened to Seiko Matsuda’s fluffy “Pink no Mozart” and thought that the two musical worlds came together nicely in that one. Then I heard another tune that is almost entirely built on a classical piece: “Sabishinbo” (さびしんぼう…Lonely Heart) by Yasuko Tomita (富田靖子). The composition used here is Frédéric Chopin’s “Étude Op.10 No. 3 in E major”, also known as "Tristesse". You’ll recognize that melody instantly since it’s been used in numerous films and TV shows from all over the world. In case of Japanese dramas, it would often play in “101 Proposals” during scenes when Kaoru remembers her past lover. Given its iconic status, it’s not surprising that it also received an aidoru makeover in 1985 as a theme song for Nobuhiko Obayashi’s (大林宣彦) film of the same title as the song, which Tomita starred in. Masao Urino (売野雅勇) added in the lyrics while Ichizo Seo (瀬尾一三) supplied the techno synth arrangement.

I don’t know all that much about this singer/actress aside from learning that she has acted in some award-winning films such as “Bu Su” (1987) and “The Christ Of Nanjing” (1995) and has more-or-less transitioned into a supporting actress for TV dramas in the recent years. She has also done a fair bit of singing in the 80’s, including theme songs for her pictures, as Hiroko Yakushimaru and Tomoyo Harada have done. Listening to on “Sabishinbo”, she sort of reminds me of Narumi Yasuda in terms of style. You know, enchanting music with so-so yet harmless vocals. That image of her pierrot character certainly made an impression on me even though I’ve never seen the film itself. I have a feeling the song serves as a theme of her yearning for the boy she loves, judging by the plot set up in the trailer.

Here's Chopin's original for all you wistful romantics.

Source: Asian DVD Club

1 comment:

  1. Hi, nikala.

    I remember Tomita a fair bit from her commercials but never heard any of her musical output until now. There's been a lot of cross-pollination between the classics and Japanese pop music over the years with perhaps one of the more recent examples being Ayaka Hirahara's "Jupiter" based on one of the entries from Holzt's "The Planets" suite.

    However, one of my favourite examples of this cross-pollination wasn't even an official single at all, but a song that was used at one of the laser exhibits at the Toshiba Science Centre when my classmates and I visited it during that summer trip in 1981. It featured a technopop version of Vivaldi's "Spring". Of course, since I had YMO on the brain at the time, I did wonder fervently if it had been Sakamoto and company who were behind that version.

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