Going back to the Toru Funamura (船村徹) Special that was on "Kayo Concert" quite a while back, a trio of VTR clips at the start featured the renowned composer's works for a trio of enka veterans. It started with Muchi, then it went on to Hachi, and it ended off with Michi. The tunes sung in the first two clips were familiar favourites, but I couldn't say the same when it came to what Michiya Mihashi (三橋美智也) sang.
I was expecting something on the slow and melancholic side as many of Funamura's melodies that I know are usually of that sort, but "Ano Ko ga Naiteru Hatoba" was the complete opposite, being pretty brisk in pace and jaunty and catchy, especially when compared to the former, so much so that it made the clip one of those rare times where I got to see the usually stone-faced Michi break into a smile. Even the deconstructed original from 1955 sounded rather jolly.
The lyrics (and the title, for that matter) on the other hand seem to paint a different picture. What I get from the music is a grey boat captain - he's wearing one of those captain's hats - happily steering his old vessel from the river channel and out to sea, but what I get from Kimio Takano's (高野公男) lyrics is a woman patiently and forlornly and longingly waiting at the wharf for her man (I presume he's some sort of sailor) to return to her. Come to think of it in real world terms, maybe the fellow could've told her when he's expected to return so that she doesn't have to be pining for his return.... Or maybe he DID, but something happened to him along the way that delayed or prevented him from coming back... *dramatic music*.
"Ano Ko ga Naiteru Hatoba" was released in 1955 and not surprisingly, it was one of his many million sellers - it sold about 1.8 million copies, making it his 9th best selling single.
Since I love listening songs by these particular 4 enka oldies, I tend to tell Mom about them often. However, she has problems remembering all of their names, so she came up with her own nicknames, some more bizzare than others, for each of them, and I shall share them with you on here and the upcoming articles. The moniker given to the stoic Mihashi is "Mimi", because "Michiya Mihashi".