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.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Kiyoshi Hikawa -- Itoshi no Te quiero/Otoko Bana (愛しのテキーロ/男花)

Ho-ly cow.

Although I'm not a big fan of Kiyoshi Hikawa (氷川きよし) - I appreciate his singing ability and I admit that he is indeed good-looking - but holey moley, that is some photo of him on the C-type single cover for "Itoshi no Tequila" and "Otoko Bana" (what you see up there)! He's really rocking that rogue-ish look. Yup, it even makes the eyes of yours truly, who much prefers the older, refined gentlemen of the genre, pop wide open. Not enough to make my jaw drop though. But I had read that the pictures on the 3 versions of the single were banned for a while due them exuding too much sex appeal. I'm pretty sure the fans were miffed to put it mildly, so eventually the powers that be lifted the ban not too long after. People can now enjoy Hikawa either showing off some skin or staring seductively into the camera on their single covers.

Moving on... My, my, those bohemian moves, that hip gyration, the filmy scarves billowing in the wind with his hair for gracefulness, that fan service... No wonder the fans go absolutely nuts whenever Hikawa comes on to sing "Otoko Bana". And judging by that smirk on his pretty-boy face, he knows full well that the fans love it when he rigorously sways his hips from side to side. When the short MV of "Otoko Bana" came out in July to promote his album, "Shin Enka Meikyoku Collection Sasurai Bojou" (新・演歌名曲コレクション ~さすらい慕情~), I was thoroughly impressed by its music. Along with Hikawa's loud, boisterous voice as he belts out the words with all he's got is the thumping of the taiko and the powerful sting of the electric guitar, which makes this wild, rock-themed enka song really cool and manly and dramatic. Makes me think of a captain braving a storm and trying to steer his boat through the dark, choppy seas.

(Sorry but the video has been taken down.)

He kinda looks like an off-duty bellhop in this performance. Anyway, Akira Umehara (梅原晃) was responsible for both writing and composing "Otoko Bana", and from the lyrics, I think "Otoko Bana" may be a metaphor for striving to make it/achieve something in life... or something like that. Y'know, with the Kohaku coming up in just a few weeks (wow, already!) and with Hikawa being one of the guests on the annual year-end competition, I wonder if he'll sing this raucous tune since it's such a fan favourite.

"Otoko Bana" wasn't released as a single until 29th September when it was paired with "Itoshi no Te quiero" (I'm honestly not sure if that's the way it's romanized, but I'll just go with this for now), forming Hikawa's first single with 2 A-sides. I have not a clue how that works.

Anyway, with "Itoshi no Te quiero" being a love song, its a lot more subdued than "Otoko Bana" and the image of Spanish streets aglow at night comes to mind rather than the raging sea. That bright red casual suit and low-cut V-neck shirt is really a contrast to the blue outfit with trailing scarves, but it fits the Latin and romance theme better. Seeing Hikawa dance flamboyantly to the strumming of the Spanish guitar and shed his enka-ness in this clip, I kept wondering what this guy is doing in the world of enka when he seems more at home as a regular J-pop singer or aidoru. Well, but I suppose he has his reasons for that. "Itoshi no Te quiero" was written by Ryoko Hashizume (橋詰亮子) and composed by YORI.

Not surprisingly, "Itoshi no Te quiero" and "Otoko Bana" did well on the Oricon charts; peaking at 2nd on the regular charts and 1st on the enka-yo one.

A-type picture... Nah, I prefer the
C-type, he looks cooler in that one.


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Yup, Hikawa was really shaking his coconuts during that performance on the last "Kayo Concert". I think he probably will perform "Otoko Bana" on the Kohaku since it is such a rousing song. And perhaps enka is now getting that influx of Hollywood instead of the old-fashioned sober-sided businessman look or the yukata appearance.

    As for the covers, I will go with the one at the very top for "Ai no Te Quiero". The "Otoko Bana" cover is a bit unnerving for me since it looks like he is actually showing cleavage! :)

    1. Hi J-Canuck.

      I suppose the suit/yukata look is a little old-fashioned now, and to attract a crowd now, one's gotta up the ante in terms of dressing. I do hope "Otoko Bana" will be sung on the Kohaku; it's a long show and I need something to keep my attention from wandering.

      Yeah, the cover at the bottom was a little unnerving as you said... But I guess fans of his would be more than pleased to see Hikawa lounging on his side and showing some... cleavage.

    2. Hi again.

      One of the NHK talk shows this afternoon focused on the upcoming Kohaku and discussed about the problems the show was having. Of course, there were cute pictures accompanying the presentation with one of them showing a guy snoozing underneath the kotatsu while it was going on. I had work to do so I didn't stay to find out what NHK was going to do combat the long hours.

      I think the plain suits are probably somewhat passe. I still see some of the younger enka singers come out in suits but they are considerably flashier now.

    3. I think I would've found the show interesting, but I didn't know about it as I don't normally tune in to NHK unless it's Tuesday evening or Saturday afternoon (that also depends). May I ask what other cute pictures were included in the presentation? Haha, but that fellow under the kotatsu... must have been knocked out from all the preparation and stress. To combat the long hours, probably they can take turns sleeping under the kotatsu. :)

      About the flashy suits, I think flashy may be a bit of an understatement for some of the enka singers. Some are actually quite gaudy, like those weird suits Keisuke Yamauchi wears sometimes. Mom says that he's trying to have that faux European prince look that was quite "in" in the 80's.

      Oh, one more thing. You know how Hikawa works the crowd with his dancing every time he sings "Otoko Bana"? It reminds me of Panda and Full-time Panda from "Shirokuma Cafe" doing cute stuff to entertain the visitors at the zoo, all while chanting "Service! Service!".

    4. Well, there was one grandfather type by the kotatsu who was grumbling about how the Kohaku was no good anymore. He pretty much represents my Dad.

      I think Yamauchi looks like a character who just stepped out of the pages of "The Rose of Versailles". He is the epitome of a "bidanshi"...a beautiful man.

      Yeah, come to think of it, Hikawa does mesh well with the "Shirokuma Cafe" analogy. You might say that he is indeed "panda-ing" to the audience. :)

  2. Hi!

    I loved this article about 2 songs: "Itoshi no Te Quiero" and "Otokobana", both performed by Kiyoshi Hikawa. In addition to pasodoble-releated-rhythm-kayō (very seductive) "Itoshi no Te Quiero", the song ever written by Akira Umehara and performed by Hikawa himself is "Otokobana" (meaning "The Man's Beauty"). The song highlights a story of a captain of the ship who crosses the stormy sea (where mermaids are) and faces the high tides. "Otokobana" is full of mermaidism (it is a sea-releated rock-releated enka song) that, everytime I listen to or I watch 2 different versions of 2 MVs of the same song, I think about the sea, the ship, the captain of the ship, the anchor, the helm, the sea waves, the foam in the coast, the merpeople… Ah, and Kiyoshi Hikawa in the very music video of the song wears floating-capped-blue/black clothes on the rocky beach, creating a beautiful scenario. I loved this!!! Also, in the MV of the song "Itoshi no Te Quiero" (Passionate Te Quiero), Hikawa shows he is more than a seductive one: he is a sexy man! (Because the song lyrics is about a torrid romance between two lovers, he sings: "Koyoi omae to te kīra (Te Quiero)" ("I need you tonight: te quiero!"). ("Te Quiero" means "I love you" in Spanish.) More yet: I also loved the C-Type of Hikawa's CD-single where he appears wearing floating-capped-blue-and-black clothes and so sexy, wow, wotta man! Well, I loved it! Thanks for this wonderful post!

    1. Hi Tatianna.

      Nice to see you again.:) Thanks for your comments on the article and for the meanings behind "Otoko Bana" and "Itoshi no Te quiero", much appreciated.

      Yup, Hikawa sure pulled out all the stops for these 2 songs and I must say that this is the best he's ever looked - I think it's the hair. And the C-type cover is really indeed something to look at! I wanted to get that version of the single as I like the songs too (especially "Otoko Bana"), but only the A-type was available (the one with Hikawa in red and lounging on his side) so I got that one anyway.

      By the way, Hikawa performed "Otoko Bana" on the recent Kohaku and though not as sexily and flamboyantly-dressed, he still looked really cool in a sapphire-coloured cape and suit. You can check it out in this link.


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