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, April 24, 2016

Masaaki Sakai/ASKA -- Saraba Koibito (さらば恋人)

From this week's "Uta Kon" is another article. Besides "Hoshikage no Komichi" (星影の小径) that had been covered by J-Canuck earlier in the week - that one shocked me with the fact that it was a Minoru Obata (小畑実) song - there was also "Saraba Koibito". Come to think of it, I'm not very sure why it's in an episode featuring love songs when it's about a bloke leaving his lover with just a written note while she's asleep (ouch!), but I can't complain as I ended up liking it a lot.

Originally by Masaaki Sakai (堺正章), whom I see as comedic TV personality, "Saraba Koibito" was sung by Kiyoshi Hikawa (氷川きよし) that night, and what drew me to it was its music that began dramatically with the banging of the drums which was then joined by the blare of the trumpets. It very vaguely reminded me of some tune I enjoyed somewhere along the way, but for the life of me I can't put my finger on it... Hmm... My gut is pointing to Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour", but I'm not entirely sure whether to trust it or not.

Well, gut feelings aside, when I heard and watched Sakai's take on "Saraba Koibito" later on, while he still sounded pretty good then, similar to what J-Canuck had said in his article on this very song, I had a hard time associating his reedy, slightly husky voice and rather derpy exterior with the character in the song. And then again, with the fellow bothering to leave a letter and Kyohei Tsutsumi's (筒美京平) rather forlorn melody, our character could possibly be more of the nerdy sort rather your typical irresponsible and somewhat shady guy, and for his own personal reasons he has to abandon his lady (with a heavy heart) but is too afraid to tell it to her thinking that she might convince him to stay, and so he did what he did.

Seeing "Saraba Koibito" on "Uta Kon" I thought the title looked familiar, and lo and behold it was in ASKA's cover album "Boku ni Dekiru Koto" (僕にできること) from 2013 and I had been scrolling past it countless times when in the mood to listen to his other renditions of popular kayo from back in the day. With the addition of the acoustic guitar in his version, "Saraba Koibito" got sort of a folk edge to it which I'm not a fan of that and prefer the original, but that's not to say that it doesn't sound good. I couldn't find ASKA's version online, but I managed to find its cover by Tomi-san, who actually did a good job; kinda sounds like the man himself too. Haha, it's a cover of a cover.



  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Thanks for another angle on "Saraba Koibito". I think another way that I can analogize the song is that it sounds like the theme for a grown-up Charlie Brown done to a Burt Bacharach arrangement. :)

    As for Sakai in that photo at the bottom of your article there: wow...he looks quite "groovy".

    1. Hi J-Canuck.

      Haha, well, "groovy" is one way to put it.

      No problems there on the different angle. The thoughts, "Why would a fellow just leave suddenly like that?" and "If he were (as you said) the love'em and leave'em type, would he have left a parting letter?". It kinda seems like reading a bit too much into a simple song, but I enjoy coming up with possible scenarios and just a little backstory for characters in songs I'm able to comprehend. Makes listening to it more exciting in a way.

      Unfortunately your analogy of Charlie Brown and Burt Bacharach mostly flew over me. Well, I know Charlie Brown for being that awkward fella in "Peanuts", but Bacharach... Nope, don't think I've ever seen this guy's name before.


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