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.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Yoko Kanno -- Hana wa Saku (花は咲く)

It's been 5 years since the Tohoku Earthquake struck many parts of Japan so I thought it was time to feature a song that has become the anthem for the recovery from the disaster. "Hana wa Saku" (Flowers Will Bloom) was released in May 2012 as the product of the Hana wa Saku Project and has been a song that has been mostly featured on NHK.

Written by movie director Shunji Iwai(岩井俊二)and composed by Yoko Kanno(菅野よう子), the song has many celebrities singing for which some of are shown in the official music video above...all of them come from the affected Tohoku region such as actor-singer Masatoshi Nakamura(中村雅俊)who hails from the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, Toshiyuki Nishida(西田敏行)from Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, and Olympic Gold-winning figure skater Shizuka Arakawa(荒川静香)from Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture.

"Hana wa Saku" is sad, wistful, elegiac and hopeful. I watched today's NHK News which had a special broadcast to commemorate the March 11th earthquake and saw a resident in the affected area remark that he didn't want to forget that date but neither did he want to remember either. The song is a reminder of what had happened and who had been lost but it is also a reassurance that recovery, though long, slow and continuing, is present and life will return and eventually flourish in the area.

It has also been played a number of times since its release back in 2012 including just in the last episode of "Kayo Concert" a few days ago, and also in the last few years during the year-end Kohaku Utagassen on NHK. In fact, I'm starting to think that it has become as much a staple of the special as the singing of "Hotaru no Hikari"(蛍の光)at the end of the show.

The single went Gold and went as high as No. 11 on Oricon. As well, a number of singers have done their own covers of "Hana wa Saku".

I realize that earthquakes are a part of life in Japan and that there will probably be another powerful one hitting the country sometime in the future. Even so, let us all hope that the Japanese and the residents in the Tohoku region in particular are indeed recovering and becoming more hopeful about the future.

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