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, October 29, 2015

AKB48 -- Halloween Night(ハロウィン・ナイト)

Man, oh man...I've always thought that whenever Japan (or Tokyo) adopts a foreign holiday, the place goes all out. That's been the case with Christmas all these decades and now it's the case with Halloween. When I arrived in Tokyo in 1994, the spooky holiday was only celebrated by a smattering of drunken English teachers when they hijacked one car on the Yamanote Line for an entire loop; it wasn't too long before there were extra cops at the ready to prevent that from happening.

However over the years, I and probably thousands of English teachers have brought more and more students into the mix of the former All Hallows' Eve with costume parties and Jack O'Lantern carvings. Resultingly, you get the above humongous Halloween party in Shibuya. The video was from 2013. NHK News was reporting earlier this morning that it will be all hands on deck for the Tokyo police for the next couple of nights with Halloween parties all over the place. Halloween has finally arrived. And y'know...I think even more than Christmas, Halloween seems to have the perfect fit for the Japanese since the people there are also all into costumes and spooky stories, although we did have to help them with the pumpkins.

I was talking with good ol' contributor JTM the other night about J-Pop when he told me that AKB48 had come up with their own Halloween song. There are tons of Japanese Yuletide songs in the massive kayo kyoku/J-Pop discography of history, but I haven't come across too many Halloween tunes in the Land of the Rising Sun, but when my friend told me about this one, I was rather intrigued. Sure enough, I found the short version for AKB48's 41st single "Halloween Night" on YouTube today. It was released just a couple of months ago in August 2015 and not surprisingly it went all the way up to No. 1.

The Wikipedia article compared it to the happy disco of "Koi Suru Fortune Cookie"(恋するフォーチュンクッキー)as being "...done in a dark disco style...", although I think it's still cheerfully poppy and jumpy as if the songwriters were reminiscing over the oeuvre of Boney M. And the music video above has gotten the atmosphere of a Tokyo Halloween right...J-Xmas has that mood of high style and dining but J-Halloween is all about the massive cosplay partying.

"Halloween Night" was written by Yasushi Akimoto(秋元康)and composed by Yoshimasa Inoue(井上ヨシマサ)who had also created the spicy "Rosa" for Miho Nakayama(中山美穂)and the theme song for the anime "Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water", "Blue Water" for Miho Morikawa(森川美穂)a couple of decades back. It's nice to see Inoue bring back the disco nights of yore.

Now that Halloween has been internalized into the Japanese cultural events calendar, I can only figure that it might be a matter of time before Easter is the next target...with all those cute rabbits and chocolate.

Yup, nothing says Halloween more than
squid-ink burgers at McDonalds!
Ah, just before I forget....this is the other song that I know off the top of my head which has that connection to Halloween.

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