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.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

BORO -- Osaka de Umareta Onna (大阪で生まれた女)

(the full version!)

I had seen the name BORO before on the listing for one of the episodes of "Sounds of Japan" in the Nikka Times (the local Japanese-Canadian newspaper), but for the life of me, I cannot remember the song he sang on the radio program.

Still, BORO (aka Naoyuki Morimoto/森本尚幸) has become one of the grand balladeers for the Kansai area due to his 2nd single from August 1979, "Osaka de Umareta Onna" (A Woman of Osaka). In the past, I had heard about a singer who created a ballad that was over half an hour long in its full form! I guess this is the song. The above video is the single version clocking in at a little less than 5 minutes and which uses the 4th, 6th and 16th verses.

For those who want to hear the full 34-minute version, the top video will provide it. "Osaka de Umareta Onna" was created by BORO with Junzo (or Shunzo) Okayama(岡山準三)helping out on lyrics and music. I actually heard it on the recently televised annual "Melodies of Osaka" special broadcast on NHK, and from what I could interpret, it is the bluesy tale of a single young woman who's had her life of fun in her beloved hometown of Osaka but has somewhat sadly but resolutely decided to follow her future husband to Tokyo to start their new life together.

Now, despite my ancestry leading back to the Kansai area, I can't really say that I am an expert on comparisons between Osaka and Tokyo. But from what I have gleaned is that Osaka is the capital's more free-spirited and fun-loving brother. I guess in a way it's kinda like the relationship between supposedly stuffy Toronto and more laid-back Montreal. From that, I can gather that Osakans have had quite the emotional reaction to "Osaka de Umareta Onna" in terms of leaving the beloved home for the foreseeable future.

The song became BORO's most famous single selling close to 180,000 records. However, according to Oricon, it only went as high as No. 85 on the charts and for some reason, it didn't show up at all on the 1979 year-end Top 100 chart for singles. Perhaps that 180,000 figure was attained over a very long period. Still it has garnered fame alongside Masaki Ueda's(上田正樹)"Osaka Bay Blues" as a non-enka song symbolizing the area.

BORO himself was born in Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture in 1954. After graduating from high school in 1972, he attended university to study jazz vocal and went up to Tokyo to study under jazz musician and singer Tib Kamayatsu(ティーブ・釜萢). However, his efforts didn't bear fruit so he returned to Osaka and played guitar for a while before finally making his debut in June 1979.

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