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.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Jiro Shinkawa -- Tokyo no Hi yo, Itsumademo (東京の灯よいつまでも)

The 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were seen as the coming-out party for a rejuvenated Japan, so I wouldn't be too surprised to find out that there were probably a lot of kayo (more than usual anyways) coming out in the months and perhaps years leading up to the Games proudly boasting about the capital city. Of course, there is Haruo Minami's(三波春夫)"Tokyo Gorin Ondo"(東京五輪音頭)which was the theme song for those Games that was just performed again on the Kohaku Utagassen last week.

And just a few months before those Tokyo Games launched, there was another Tokyo-based enka tune under the title of "Tokyo no Hi yo, Itsumademo" (The Lights of Tokyo Always) by Jiro Shinkawa(新川二朗). There isn't very much information on the singer on J-Wiki and only this song is given as his discography, but the Ishikawa Prefecture-born Shinkawa was performing at the Kanazawa Health Centre when he was approached by no less a legend than singer Hideo Murata(村田英雄)and invited to ply his singing skills on a professional level.

In 1962, he debuted with "Kimi wo Shitaite"(君を慕いて/Yearning for You)but his really big hit was "Tokyo no Hi yo, Itsumademo" which was released in July 1964. Written by Tetsuro Fujima(藤間哲郎)and composed by Toshio Saeki(佐伯としを), the song related the nostalgia of a former romance with certain areas in The Big Sushi such as a foggy Hibiya and the melancholy at Haneda Airport, truly a lyrical departure point for many things. The lyrics may have name-dropped certain areas in Tokyo but the music had a certain jaunty traditional festival feeling as if the song were advertising more about the upcoming local summer festival season than the big international sports event. Still, I came across one commenter on YouTube who remarked that the song often reminded him/her about the Olympics back then. Perhaps the song will get further airplay as the 2020 Games draw near.

Shinkawa appeared on the Kohaku Utagassen of 1964 with "Tokyo no Hi yo, Itsumademo", and is apparently the only performer from Ishikawa to appear on the NHK special up to now.

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