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, April 29, 2016

Yoshio Tabata -- Shima Sodachi (島育ち)


To a certain extent, I can relate to "Shima Sodachi". Up to this point in my life I've been living on a tiny island close to the equator, however if Yoshio Tabata (田端義夫) were to be singing a "Shima Sodachi" based on current-day Singapore I would think that it'd be more rollicking and possibly boisterous... Actually, maybe not for just this one part of town: Changi Village and beach. Being on the eastern side of the country, despite being one of the chalet and camping hot-spots, it still (somehow) manages to retain that quaint and laid-back atmosphere of, well, a village from the days of yore. I do enjoy walking about the area after some good Nasi Lemak (a Malay dish coconut and pandan-flavored rice and stuff like a fried egg on the side) at the food center.

Coming back to the topic at hand, Tabata's "Shima Sodachi" conveys that very atmosphere I talked about. The slow, almost waltzing-like melody, brought to you by Minoru Mikai (三界稔), and the late ryukoka singer's unhurried and deliberate manner of singing seem to reflect the peaceful, worry-free way of life on some little isle our main character lived on. Initially I was quite certain that the island involved was Okinawa, especially with Batayan pronouncing a few words in what I think is the Okinawan dialect. With some research, however,  I found that it wasn't Okinawa, but Amami Oshima, which sits between Kyushu and Okinawa and is officially under Kagoshima. Kunihiko Arikawa's (有川邦彦) lyrics tell of the fellow's time growing up on the island and the things he experienced when there.

"Shima Sodachi" was released in 1962 and was Batayan's comeback hit after quite a long dry spell. It sold over 400 000 copies and even gave him a ticket to the 14th edition of the Kohaku a year later in 1963 - it was his first appearance.


  1. Hi Noelle.

    Ooosssuu, indeed! Every time I see Tabata perform in a video, I always get the impression that he could have fit into any of those old country & western music shows on US TV the way that he holds that guitar of his.

    Agreed on "Shima Sodachi". It does relate that laid back feeling of island life. I realize that Japan is an island nation but I think there is a big difference between the main island and a place like Amami Oshima. I never had a chance to visit Okinawa or Amami Oshima but there is something very inviting about those areas in terms of trying for a more stress-free life.

    1. Hi J-Canuck.

      I haven't had the chance to go to Okinawa and Amami Oshima either, and I only just found out about the latter. But I would like to visit Okinawa first since I've been entertaining the thought of doing nothing at one of those picturesque beaches I see on TV from time to time... Could use some of that R&R right about now.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.