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.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Duke Aces -- Kani Doraku (かに道楽)

During one lesson of marine biology in my previous semester at school, we were learning about the different species of crustaceans, crustacean anatomy, and what allows them to be considered crustaceans. The most incredible thing is that as long as the creature has certain features e.g. a carapace, that thing can be considered a crustacean, so the animals we got to know about ranged from the common prawn and lobster to the sessile barnacle (yep, they're part of the family too), from macroscopic to microscopic. But of course, a lesson on subphylum crustacea wouldn't be complete without the crab, which is probably the first thing you'd think of when the word "crustacean" is uttered. That being said, it was the first thing that popped into my mind, along with it came Duke Aces' (デューク・エイセス) commercial song for the popular seafood chain, "Kani Doraku", which is known for having a huge animatronic crab greeting customers at the front of each store. I remember seeing that in Osaka a number of years back.

I happened to come across "Kani Doraku", the song, about a week or so before that particular lesson and I remembered marveling at how coincidental and amusing this find was, and I also recalled finding it a little odd that I was actually enjoying a tune meant for a commercial as I would a regular song. But I suppose that was inevitable as just like most CM songs, "Kani Doraku" has a catchy melody that gets you hooked on. The strings and the harp makes it sound like you're taking a dive down into the sea where the crabs reside, probably dancing around with bright smiles on their faces (just adding a bit of my imaginary commercial), and then you have the wonderful voices of the vocal group's members as they sing about the exquisite flavours (I'd like to think so) of the fresh crab served up at the restaurant. I'm not a big fan of crab, but listening to this song and watching the commercial makes me want to get some.

Judging from the most prominent and hearty voice you hear throughout the song, it seems to me like former top tenor Yasumasa Taniguchi (谷口安正) was taking the lead here, but I'm not entirely sure. Sometimes I'd think that it's Michio Tani (谷道夫), but then I feel that the baritone's vocal delivery has got a richer and deeper tone.

From 1995

As to when "Kani Doraku" was sung, it was probably in the early 90's since that was when the commercials were out playing, and Taro Kida (キダ・タロー), the composer to this ditty as well as many other CM songs, had released it in his album "Naniwa no Mozart Kida Taro no Subete" (浪花のモーツァルト キダ・タローのすべて) from 1992. Duke Aces had just released an album featuring commercial songs they had done over the years, including "Kani Doraku", just a few months ago called "Duke Aces CM WORKS" (デューク・エイセス CM WORKS). Writing the lyrics to "Kani Doraku" was Noboru Inoue (伊野上のぼる).

To wrap things up on this article, here's Yuki Tokunaga (徳永ゆうき) singing a bit of "Kani Doraku" with the guys. Ah yes, I should mention that Kazuhiko Yoshida (吉田一彦), the second tenor you see here in those shades and one of the longest surviving members, is no longer in commission as of early 2015 due to some health ailments. He is now replaced with this young fella by the name of Gen Iwata (岩田元)... Dang it, I like Yoshida... I already miss him.

Yoshitaka Makino (槇野義孝) was pretty cute then...
He still is now.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Noelle.

    I'm also not a huge fan of crab either...but more out of laziness about trying to pull out the meat from the shell. I vaguely remember going to Kani Doraku when my Osakan relatives took me there once but considering my hazy memory, I don't think I was particularly impressed. Still, I have a better impression of it now since I do enjoy my crab claws, crab gratin and some of the seasonal crab I had when I was down in Hong Kong several years ago.


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