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.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hibari Misora -- Namida no Beni Bara (涙の紅バラ)

Japanese music historians were probably popping open the champagne yesterday when they saw the above feature on the NHK prime-time news broadcast as I did. Apparently, a lost movie was re-discovered in a Kobe movie museum of all places. The movie in question titled "Nankai no Jouka"(南海の情火...South Seas Passion)wasn't itself the big find (although it was significant) but the 40-second appearance of a prepubescent Hibari Misora(美空ひばり)in the movie was the huge gold nugget. Strangely no one had any idea that the future legend was in "Nankai no Jouka" although the J-Wiki article on Misora did have the movie and her role in it listed along with the song that she sang, "Namida no Beni Bara" (Red Rose of Tears).

According to the news report, the studio that had produced "Nankai no Jouka" went out of business soon after the movie had been released and so probably aside from its initial run, it was never seen again in public. However, I'm sure the song has popped up here and there in the media and certainly since it was sold as a single, many Hibari fans have heard it over the decades through records, audiotapes, CDs and perhaps even downloaded MP3s. But the main point is that the movie that had featured the song, however briefly, has been re-found after 60 years. In the above video, a very scratchy version of "Namida no Beni Bara" can be heard from around 5:00 although the narrator talks over the intro for the first several seconds or so. The song, by the way, was written by Yashio Okuno(奥野椰子夫)and composed by Takio Niki(仁木他喜雄)...had to dig into Misora's website to find that out and then figure out how their kanji were read.

Misora had been featured in film before this particular movie, most notably in "Kanashiki Kuchibue"(悲しき口笛)in 1949, and then soon after "Nankai no Jouka", she hit it big with "Tokyo Kid"(東京キッド)so perhaps for a lot of folks who are not fans of the late singer and actress, they may be wondering what the big fuss is all about. Well, speaking as someone who is also not a die-hard fan but still enjoys a number of her songs, I gather that any discovery of long-lost paraphernalia related to Misora this far into the 21st century is worthy of a news feature. Such was the power of this lady who only stood 153 cm but managed to terrify many a fellow singer with her presence.

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