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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Kiyoshi Hikawa -- Oi Okkake Otojiro (大井追っかけ音次郎)

Yappari ne! Soudaro ne!
Shindoi ne... Miren da ne...

Aw geez, just these lines alone got me hooked on to Kiyoshi Hikawa's (氷川きよし)"Oi Okkake Otojiro".

I managed to find the popular enka singer's 2nd single when listening to "Hakone Hachiri no Hanjiro" (箱根八里の半次郎). Despite looking a little awkward back in 2001 and that horrendous coconut hair not doing him any favours (it's like a redux of Mae-Kiyo's glaring 80's perm), I must say that "Oi Okkake Otojiro" caught my attention through Hideo Mizumori's (水森英夫) score. As Mom had said when I played this song, it is loud. Besides the rousing strings, shamisen and blaring shakuhachi that his debut had, now there's even the taiko to spice things up. And not to forget Hikawa's bullhorn-like delivery that makes this tune more boisterous than it already is. Providing the lyrics for "Oi Okkake Otojiro" was Yurio Matsui (松井由利夫), and like its predecessor it seems to be about another ronin getting tired of his nomadic lifestyle.

Released on 21st February 2001, "Oi Okkake Otojiro" was very well-received, managing to get as high as 8th on the Oricon weeklies before settling at 50th by the end of the year. It became a certified Platinum record too, and allowed Hikawa to bag the "Gold Award" at the 43rd Japan Record Awards, as well as the "Cable Music Excellence Award" (I think that's how it's translated) at the 34th Japan Cable Awards. And finally, he sung it once during the 52nd Kohaku. Y'know, with it being that popular, I'm surprised that it's not sung often on TV nowadays. Too bad, I actually like it more than "Hakone Hachiro no Hanjiro".

Anyway, to round things up here's Fuyumi Sakamoto (坂本冬美), Junko Ishihara (石原詢子) and Yuri Harada (原田悠里) giving their rendition of "Oi Okkake Otojiro" on an old episode of "Nippon no Uta".


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    I guess that bowl haircut may have been to get the adoration from the middle-aged ladies perhaps.:) But once he gained his fame, he could afford the time and money to get a proper do.

    I'm not sure what the status of enka was like at the time Hikawa debuted but his full-throated delivery must have impressed a lot of folks. It almost sounded like a clarion call yelling "Enka is NOT dead, folks!!" Of course, things were about to get bigger and better for him.

    1. Hello J-Canuck.

      Man, I don't know what people see in that bowl haircut - he looks so much more dignified now! But then again, to each their own.

      From what I know about enka in the early 2000s - it's definitely seen better days. However, with the likes of Hikawa and his coconut hair coming into the enka scene, I think the genre received sort of a revival. Ain't just the oldies listening to it now!

      By the way, just letting you know that I'll be gone for a little more than a week from tomorrow, so I won't be posting stuff till I get back. At long last, I'm going back to Japan!

    2. Yup, I think enka and Mood Kayo have kinda entered the same niche as jazz in North America. The songs won't dominate the Oricon Top 10 like they used to but there will probably be a good following for it for the foreseeable future.

      Heading to Japan, eh? How I envy you...hope you have a great time. I'm sure you'll have some fine stories to relate when you get back.


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