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, August 11, 2015

Kyu Sakamoto/Hanako Oshima -- Oyaji (親父)

(original by Sakamoto taken down)

30 years ago on August 12 1985, one of the worst aircraft accidents in history occurred when JAL Flight 123 slammed into the mountains of Gunma Prefecture. Unfortunately, I don't remember much of the news coverage except for two things. One was the footage of one of the few survivors, a teenager, being airlifted from a tree, and the other was the shocking announcement that one of the passengers not to survive was singer Kyu Sakamoto(坂本九).

A few months ago, Sakamoto's daughter, singer Hanako Oshima(大島花子), appeared on "Kayo Concert" to perform a song that her father had written and composed back in 1982. "Oyaji" (Dad) was originally created by Sakamoto in tribute to his own father who had passed away. In turn, Oshima came on the NHK stage to give her wistful version in tribute to Sakamoto. Although the cameras didn't go to the audience or to the other guests on stage during the performance, I could imagine that there were quite a few pairs of misty eyes.

I've only just heard the original version by Sakamoto. Unlike his daughter's sad but proud version, her father's tribute to his own father is a feisty and also proud account of a Showa-Era dad who didn't suffer fools gladly, especially within his own family, and was truly the king of his least when it came to the drinking part. Through the song, I can imagine Pops delivering an intestine-quivering chew-out to his errant son in the old tatami living room. And being the son of one such father, I totally understand how that feels.

Of course, although his name might not ring a bell outside of Japan or among those who are not kayo kyoku fans, Sakamoto will always be known for this particular song in many parts of the world.

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