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, February 13, 2016

Eiko Segawa -- Nagasaki no Yoru wa Murasaki (長崎の夜はむらさき)

During my swing through western Japan in the summer of 1991 before I headed back to Canada, one of my stops was Nagasaki. It was definitely one of the most striking cities that I had ever seen in Japan as the metropolis seemed to go up the sides of the mountains surrounding the long bay. And like Yokohama and Kobe, the Chinatown in the city was quite stylish. Yup, I did have my chanpon there as well.

The other day, I caught the weekly broadcast of NHK's "Nodo Jiman"(のど自慢)singing contest and saw veteran enka singer Eiko Segawa(瀬川瑛子)make her appearance and wondered why I had yet to profile her in the blog. I think the main reason is that I've seen her more as the ever-smiling tarento with that nasal delivery that the monomane experts just love to imitate. Still, her initial bread-and-butter was that of an enka and kayo singer so when one of the contestants tried to sing one of her early hits, I felt that it was time to enter her into the annals of "Kayo Kyoku Plus".

"Nagasaki no Yoru wa Murasaki" (A Night in Nagasaki is Purple) is another one of those geographical kayo that had been all the rage in kayo kyoku for decades. And from what I remember reading in J-Wiki was that the city of Nagasaki had been quite the target for songwriters during the late 60s especially. Of course, there is probably the biggest representative of those songs in The Cool Five's "Nagasaki wa Kyou mo Ame datta"(長崎は今日も雨だった), but Segawa, who actually hails from Tokyo, had one of her early hits with "Nagasaki no Yoru wa Murasaki" in March 1970 as her 7th single.

Unlike The Cool Five's Mood Kayo paean to the city, I found that Segawa's tribute to Nagasaki was a bit harder to pin down in terms of genre. The song has a certain laconic way about it that makes it sound quite folky but there is also something in there which definitely feels like the story (aside from the lyrics) is taking place in the city. And yet, I can also hear elements of enka and just plain pop in there, too. Go figure.

I couldn't find out how the song did on the charts although Oricon was already in existence by then. I did find out it was written by Hanae Furuki(古木花江)and composed by Toshiaki Arai(新井利昌), a songwriter who had connections with bands like Los Primos and The Drifters.

Along with the fact that the comedians just love to imitate her, I also found out that Segawa is a huge Mah Jongg fan and one of her distant relatives happens to be the singer-songwriter Hiroshi Madoka(円広志)who came up with the catchy "Musoubana"(夢想花)back in the 1970s.


  1. You're right, J-Canuck, it's hard to put "Nagasaki no Yoru wa Murasaki" in a genre. The acoustic guitar makes it folksy and that's where this tune leans to in my opinion, but as you said it does sound a little enka and Segawa did sing it on last year's "Mood Kayo Special" on "Kayo Concert"...

    Yeah, Segawa is one of those singers whom impressionists love to pick on; I've seen a couple of them mooing in the Segawa-voice. And I've also seen her being in good humour as said monomane talents imitate her.

    The chanpon looks interesting and quite delectable in a messy sort of way; there's just so much stuff in there! I was watching the tutorial you put up on how to fix one and its pretty simple. I may try my hand at it soon. The only thing I won't put in is the bean sprouts. I'd say that my burning dislike for the sprout is on par with my dislike for ginger.

    1. Yes, Segawa seems to be one of the more cheerful singers I've seen on stage. And indeed, I think she has a good sense of humour about herself considering some of the commercials she's been on.

      Chanpon is quite nice and I kinda wish that it would make its way over here to Toronto since ramen has basically made itself a permanent addition to the food culture in my city. I'm actually OK with sprouts and ginger. However, I never developed a taste for the organ meats such as liver and tripe.

    2. Hi J-Canuck.

      I don't think chanpon will ever make its way to Singapore though. It doesn't seem like those really well-known and global Japanese dishes, so it's unlikely that a Japanese joint here would have it unless a restaurant specializing in Nagasaki food opens. There's an Okinawan joint, which was how the Goyachanpuru came here.

      I've never tried liver before but I have tried beef tripe. I wouldn't say I've gotten used to the flavour of tripe, but I don't exactly mind it so long as it doesn't have the gamy taste which could be stomach turning.

    3. It took me a long while but I have been able to eat horumon which is beef intestines but only when they have been sliced up well and fried to death on the grill in those yakiniku restaurants.


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