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, June 23, 2015

Hibari Misora -- Tokyo Kid (東京キッド)

Can't believe this is my first entry for the year 1950. I also can't believe it's been a year since I wrote a Hibari Misora(美空ひばり)article regarding the anniversary of her passing. For that one, it was on "Kanashiki Kuchibue"(悲しき口笛), the somewhat melancholy ballad featuring a 12-year-old Misora in that iconic tux and tails.

Well, tomorrow will be the 26th anniversary so of course, NHK's "Kayo Concert"(歌謡コンサート)did their tribute to the Grand Dame of Kayo Kyoku tonight via TV Japan, and one of the guests performed another really early Misora classic, "Tokyo Kid". Released in July 1950, just like "Kanashiki Kuchibue", this song was also created by Ko Fujiura and Tadashi Manjome(藤浦洸・万城目正), and there was a movie with the same title attached to it starring Misora which came out later that year in September.

Instead of the formal tux, though, the 13-year-old Misora was clad as a regular kid trying to make some yen (or sen) in the shoeshining business. And the kid sang something that was quite a bit more starry-eyed and hopeful. Listening to the song, I just thought that this would have been a song that perhaps a vaudeville moppet would have trilled a couple of decades earlier when the Great Depression occurred. The early years of the postwar era were uncertain ones for Japan but I think they were also ones in which people had some image of light at the end of that dark tunnel, and maybe "Tokyo Kid" and the Tokyo Kid were reflections of that feeling. I was especially drawn to that one line in the song: "Dreams in my right pocket, some chewing gum in my left pocket". I could imagine her looking optimistically up at the new buildings going up and determining that she'll be at the top of one of them someday.

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