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, July 6, 2016

Sayuri Ishikawa -- Noto Hanto (能登半島)

One of the grande dames of enka, Sayuri Ishikawa(石川さゆり), made another appearance on last night "Uta Kon" (うたコン) during which she sang one of her classics, "Noto Hanto" (Noto Peninsula). Following up on her breakthrough hit as an enka singer, "Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyu Geshiki"(津軽海峡・冬景色)which had been released in January 1977, her 16th single "Noto Hanto" came out in May of that year.

The ballad about that melancholy post-breakup trip to the famous peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture was written by Yu Aku(阿久悠)and composed by Takashi Miki(三木たかし), and melodically speaking, it is quite similar to "Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyu Geshiki" (Aku and Miki were also responsible for that one), although instead of that really bluesy saxophone from that song, "Noto Hanto" has some of those old staccato 70s horns filling in. Still, the chorus provides that haunting backdrop and Ishikawa herself broadcasts those feelings of anguish.

Along with Saburo Kitajima's(北島三郎)"Kaga no Hito"(加賀の女), Ishikawa's "Noto Hanto" is known as one of the enka symbolizing Ishikawa Prefecture of the 1970s. It reached as high as No. 10 on Oricon and finished the year as the 26th-ranked single. "Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyu Geshiki" was the song that Ishikawa had sung on her debut appearance on the Kohaku Utagassen in 1977, but she was finally able to sing her follow-up hit for the first time on the year-end special some 26 years later in 2003.

One more benefit from the enka ballad was a sudden boost in tourism to the actual Noto Peninsula itself. However, I have no idea whether the tourists mostly consisted of single depressed women.

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