Credits

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, June 12, 2016

Kozo Murashita -- Harusame (春雨)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fugutabetai/2160206565?ytcheck=1
Thanks to Fugu Tabetai
The expression harusame can mean spring rain or those glass noodles used in dishes such as sukiyaki. I do like my sukiyaki in the late fall and winter but frankly speaking my next statement will probably have the Sukiyaki Friendship Society not being so friendly toward me, but I have to say that raw egg is a dealbreaker for me. Not that having some of that customary raw egg as a dipping sauce for the sukiyaki goodies destroyed my intestines in my past but as I grew up, I learned to dislike anything slimy when it comes to food. So, stuff like natto, shiokara and tororo is stuff I stay far away from. Raw egg has assaulted me once but that was my fault and it didn't involve sukiyaki.


Perhaps not the smoothest segue to the topic of this entry but here I am writing about Kozo Murashita's(村下孝蔵)"Harusame", and yep, I am assuming that the singer-songwriter was crooning more about the meteorological event than the ingredient for sukiyaki.

Actually, I got to this point to writing about Murashita's 2nd single from January 1981 due to a talk that I had with JTM last night. A day earlier, he was kind enough to send me an excerpt of a Shizuoka radio program titled "Tetsuji Hayashi & Kento Handa: Showa Ongakudo"(林哲司&半田健人 昭和音楽堂...Showa Music Hall)which is a weekly half-hour show starring songwriter Hayashi and actor Handa as they focus on a certain singer from the 1970s-1990s and his/her works. The focus on the particular broadcast that JTM sent me was Kozo Murashita and so I got to re-hear "Harusame" once more. I believe I may have actually heard it once before on another old radio program of my youth "Sounds of Japan".


In any case, "Harusame" is another wonderful...and early...Murashita concoction with the singer's wonderfully resonant pipes and his gentle flowing music. His lyrics are actually about the slow disintegration of a once-happy relationship but, man, Murashita the songwriter can even make heartbreak sound lovely!

"Harusame" only got as high as No. 58 on Oricon and was a track on his 2nd album from April 1981, "Izuko e"(何処へ...To Where). Perhaps it was a modest result for Murashita but as JTM and I were discussing last night, it went to show that the late singer was or had been underrated. He didn't look anything like a Johnny's aidoru of that time or a hip artist in flashy clothing. From his concerts, he appeared very down-to-earth as if he had to rush back home after a performance to get dinner ready for his kids. But his somewhat roly-poly appearance belied some wonderful vocal ability and a calming figure as he sat on a stool and strummed his guitar on the stage. He passed away several years ago he is still missed.


The above video is a sample episode from "Tetsuji Hayashi & Kento Handa: Showa Ongakudo". Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the songs have been excised most likely due to copyright issues but for those who can understand Japanese, you can enjoy the banter between the two hosts. The theme for the episode apparently was on kayo whose opening lyrics started with "Ahhhhh..." Hmm, it seems that the show also had a sense of whimsy.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing this.

    I think I got the "yomikata" all wrong from the beginning. I always thought it's Shunnu (しゅんう)!

    Harusame is one of my favorites among Kouzou Murashita's many songs. And since you mentioned lyrics, I'm not sure if this is a Japanese thing, and I don't know how popular it is, the song's pratagonist is female but the singer is male in this case! I suspect this has a long history in Japanese music dating back to the Kabuki stage where men were playing female characters.

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    1. Always a pleasure, Larry. Good to hear from you again. As for the male-female switching bit, yeah, I think there is probably some sort of connection to Kabuki. I've heard this in a number of enka songs as well.

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