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, October 6, 2015

Tetsuya Ryu -- Oku-Hida Bojou (奥飛騨慕情)

Like that lady above in the video, there are a number of folks in Japan currently drinking some of that sake in celebration. And perhaps I can join in on the celebration as well. It's always great to hear when both the land of my birth and the land of my ancestry can jointly rejoice in something, and that was the case earlier this morning when Japanese physicist Takaaki Kajita of Tokyo University and Canadian physicist Arthur B. McDonald of Queens University just up Highway 401 in Kingston, Ontario jointly won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on neutrinos. Apparently one of the things they revealed was that neutrinos actually had mass...which means that I will need to shed about 3 billion neutrinos before my next physical. Physics humour, folks!

Anyways, while NHK was getting annoyingly gushy with everyone who had anything to do with Dr. Kajita this morning on the news, I noticed that there was a lot of reference to the Super-Kamiokande Neutrino Observatory in the city of Hida, Gifu Prefecture. Hida has also come up a lot recently in my professional life as well since I've had to translate a few articles on the area for their hot springs.

Plus, there is the fact that Hida reminds me of a high-ranking enka song from the early 1980s, "Oku-Hida Bojou" (Longing for Oku-Hida). The title didn't ring a bell but as soon as I heard the very enka melody, I knew it was a popular song that often gets its due on the various kayo shows.

The late Tetsuya Ryu(竜鉄也)wrote, composed and sang his debut from June 1980, although he had been singing professionally for some time. According to what I read on the song on J-Wiki, he based "Oku-Hida Bojou" on his two weeks performing in a Hida district onsen town back in 1972. He produced and released his song by himself with just 2000 records pressed. However, over the years, the song got noticed as it got played on the old yusen (wire) networks. Some 6 months after its release in 1980, it broke into the Oricon Top 10, eventually reaching No. 2. And that is where it ended up by the end of 1981, No. 2, just behind Akira Terao's(寺尾聡)City Pop classic "Ruby no Yubiwa"(ルビーの指輪). He also won the Long-Seller Prize at the Japan Record Awards. Because of all of that success, Ryu was able to make his only appearance on the Kohaku Utagassen in 1981. According to Oricon, the single managed to sell about 1.5 million records.

Including "Oku-Hida Bojou", Ryu released a total of 9 singles but no albums between 1980 and 1999. Sadly, he passed away in late 2010 at the age of 74.

Here is a cover of the song by Aya Shimazu(島津亜矢).

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