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, May 15, 2016

Senri and Mari Unabara -- Osaka Rhapsody (大阪ラプソディー)

Having relatives in the Osaka region, I can vouch for the observation that many Japanese in other areas have made about the folks from that area. They can be very loud and boisterous...perfect for the most commerce-happy area in the country. The above video features the 70s comedic duo Senri and Mari Unabara(海原千里・万里), a sister act nattering away in the Osaka dialect at warp speed. The younger Senri on the right was actually born as Emiko Kaminuma(上沼恵美子), and although the duo broke up in that same decade, Kaminuma returned to the spotlight some time afterward under her real name and has remained as one of the most venerable tarento and forces of nature on TV.

One of the things that I hadn't known about the duo was that they actually sang a few songs publicly as well. Among the four singles that were released by Senri and Mari Unabara was "Osaka Rhapsody" that came out in February 1976. I heard this today being sung on "Nodo Jiman"(のど自慢)so I decided to write about it. I was surprised to hear that this was a song that came out in the mid-70s since the intro sounds like the jaunty beginning to a wartime tune. However, the melody by Kosho Inomata(猪俣公章)then quickly simmers down to what seems like a travelogue through traditional here, nibbling on a few goodies there.

The lyrics by Michio Yamagami(山上路夫)have two young lovers making a whirlwind tour around the famous spots of Osaka such as Dotombori and Midosuji. Methinks that knowing the gregarious Osakans, the lovers would be totally exhausted by the time their hosts finally let them go for the night. Still, the couple simply cannot deny the food. And I cannot deny that the sisters sound quite polished behind the mike as singers instead of mere comediennes.

"Osaka Rhapsody" was the one big hit for the Unabaras as it sold 400,000 records and ended up as the 95th-ranked single for 1976. I'm not sure what her sister is up to now but I'm sure the former Senri-turned-Emiko would be more than up to sing the song if asked.


  1. I should start tuning in to "Nodo Jiman" more often. It seems to have more interesting stuff than just now than just "Saigo no Ame" or "Kimi wa Bara yori Utsukushii", judging by what you've been posting in the recent months.

    And we have the Osaka version of "Tokyo Rhapsody"! I believe I've heard this a couple of times on "Kayo Concert" not long ago, the first being on an Osaka special. I suppose I'm being partial here but I prefer "Tokyo Rhapsody" to "Osaka Rhapsody", that's not to say that the Unabara sisters didn't do a good job behind the mic though.

    When one's in Osaka, the main thing is the food. I'd like to go back there one day and have a food tour of my own with B-grade food (as I've heard a TV program call) galore.

    1. Yeah, I've been a pretty faithful watcher of "Nodo Jiman" when I've been home on Sunday afternoons. There are some good songs there that don't pop up on the other music shows.

      Osaka is definitely the Stomach of Japan. Okonomiyaki and takoyaki are the big things there.

    2. I would like to the Okonomiyaki and takoyaki another go, now that I've become a little more adventurous and somewhat more tolerant of certain stuff in the food department. Also, shiny Okonomiyakis shown on TV look delicious.

    3. Yup, you just gotta have that sauce on the okonomiyaki along with the swaying flakes of bonito. Plus the Kewpie mayo is great!


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