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, July 24, 2016

Hiroshi Itsuki/Keiko Fuji -- Nagasaki kara Fune ni Notte (長崎から船に乗って)

It's been quite the while since I put up an article having to do with either Hiroshi Itsuki(五木ひろし)or the late Keiko Fuji(藤圭子), and I was feeling somewhat enka-ish on this Sunday. Mind you, although Itsuki's single "Nagasaki kara Fune ni Notte" (Getting on the Ship from Nagasaki) is listed as an enka tune on J-Wiki, I think that "modern" drumwork, that city beat in the rhythm, and the "daba daba" chorus make it closer to a Mood Kayo or even a pop kayo.

Released in August 1971, this was Itsuki's follow-up single after his breakthrough blockbuster of "Yokohama Tasogare" (よこはま・たそがれ) which had been released almost half a year earlier. The same duo for that hit, Masaaki Hirao and Yoko Yamaguchi(平尾昌晃・山口洋子), was also responsible in the creation of "Nagasaki kara Fune ni Notte". It might be due to how legendary and how often "Yokohama Tasogare" has been sung by the suave singer, but "Nagasaki kara Fune ni Notte" has more of a workman-like and down-at-home musical feeling to it in comparison. Yamaguchi's lyrics talk about a love-'em-&-leave-'em cad who dumps the women as smoothly as he woos them as he makes his way from port to port. Even Yokohama gets another reference in the song. In any case, the ballad seems to have the jerk treating his romances like any old set of business trips over the year.

I've only heard the song a few times but the way that Itsuki delivers it makes it sound like he's a barfly storyteller or even the Don Juan himself several years later, now filled with regret. "Nagasaki" may not be as well remembered as "Yokohama" but after its release, it did peak at No. 4 on Oricon.

Keiko Fuji did a cover of "Nagasaki" in her own inimical style although I don't know when her version was first released. The arrangement of the song is very similar even down to the chorus but with her singing it, I sensed that she could be taking on the role of one of the cad's victims, angrily but resignedly telling her side of the story.


  1. Hi J-Canuck.

    This is one of those songs that I've grown to like over time. Kinda hoping that Itsuki would sing "Nagasaki kara Fune ni Notte" on an "Uta Kon" episode some time.

    Y'know, your description of this song sounds like a redux of Masaaki Sakai's "Saraba Koibito", wherein the fellow singing it looks nowhere near a "love-'em-leave-'em" sort. Hmm, and then again... perhapsss? o_O

    1. Yeah, I think perhaps Hiroshi can lay off "Yokohama Tasogare" from time to time to perform some of the songs that have gotten put to the side such as "Nagasaki kara Fune ni Notte".

      Interesting about comparing the song with "Saraba Koibito". I would probably think that Sakai is more of the good guy who lost the girl to the Don Juan. :)

    2. Oh, speaking of his songs that got put to the side, Itsuki should also sing "Aishitsuzukeru Bolero". That'd be good. And he should play the piano while doing so (just sayin').

      Haha, poor Sakai. With this scenario, maybe Sakai decided to leave the girl because he already knows her heart has been taken by the Don Juan, and is no longer emotionally with him... This sounds like some good yet cheesy romance drama material.


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