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, July 7, 2015

Chiyoko Shimakura & Hiroshi Moriya -- Hoshizora ni Ryote wo (星空に両手を)

Well, it's July 7th which means it's Tanabata in Japan, the time for those star-crossed lovers to meet for that day. The above video by Discover The Spirit of Japan provides a very nice description of what the day is all about in the city of Sendai. I never got up to the city in Miyagi Prefecture but I've written my share of wishes on those colourful strips of paper and attached them to bamboo trees when I was living in the Kanto.

Of course, the holiday was also not lost on the folks at NHK. "Kayo Concert" devoted its 45 minutes to the annual Star Festival, and so the kayo all had a "star" theme to it. The second song was "Hoshizora ni Ryote wo" (Both Hands to the Starry Sky) which was originally sung in 1963 by Hiroshi Moriya(守屋浩)and the late Chiyoko Shimakura(島倉千代子).

I couldn't really tell whether the song was an enka number or a pop kayo, but it definitely chimed in with my early memories of the J-oldies. It had that jaunty beat which seemed to invite all listeners into a singalong, and my memories of those kayo way back when didn't involve drinking establishments or samurai warriors but just regular folks having a happy time. For those folks who really remember the old movies and singers in North America, I've often likened such kayo to the duets by Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in the 40s with the admittedly cornball devotion and love.

"Hoshizora ni Ryote wo", written by So Nishizawa(西沢爽)and composed by Yoshiyuki Kouzu(神津善行), is in the same ballpark, thematically speaking. The couple in the song may not possess a whole lot of money but that doesn't bother them one whit. They happily bring up their joined hands to the starry night sky and proudly state that the stars will be their rings. Perhaps the younger couples these days may kinda stick their fingers into their mouths on hearing this, but for an old duffer like me, it's still quite adorable, and as you know, I'm all about the nostalgia.

Oricon wasn't around in the day but "Hoshizora ni Ryote wo" sold 700,000 records when it was released, so I could imagine it hitting No. 1 on the charts.

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