My anime buddy and I had our regular phone chat last night during which I told him that during last week's episode of "Uta Kon"（うたコン）, seiyuu/singer Nana Mizuki（水樹奈々）had appeared in a summer yukata to perform this old kayo that I heard for the first time titled "Tsuki ga Tottemo Aoi Kara" (Since the Moon is So Blue). I knew that she was trained to sing enka but after all the years of hearing her in anime and viewing those performances of her on the Kohaku Utagassen in rock princess mode, it was still refreshing to see Mizuki do an old-style song. And she got quite the appreciative applause from the audience. She's been popping up on the NHK broadcasts a fair bit so I'm wondering if she is thinking of making the transition to enka and general kayo kyoku...maybe not, her fans probably still want her in those platform boots and black lacy dresses rockin' out on the stage.
But going to the original singer for the jaunty "Tsuki ga Tottemo Aoi Kara", this was Tsuzuko Sugawara（菅原都々子）. The song was first released in 1955 and was treated as a musical catalyst for change where the singer was concerned. Born in 1927 in Aomori Prefecture, Sugawara made her debut in 1937 when she only about 10 years old and gained the reputation as the Queen of Elegies for singing rather melancholy ballads. Her father, Akira Mutsu（陸奥明）, was a singer for the Asakusa Opera who later became a composer. Mutsu decided to send his daughter into a new direction and composed "Tsuki ga Tottemo Aoi Kara" as this happy-go-lucky couple in love taking the long way round to get home while admiring the moon. Minoru Shimizu（清水みのる）provided the happy words.
Mutsu's instincts were spot-on. The song became a huge hit for Sugawara as it sold over a million records. One commenter, Danny Zetel, for Noelle Tham's article on "Seishun Cycling"（青春サイクリング）asked if there were other songs which were just as jolly from the old days. Well, if Danny is reading this, I can definitely recommend this one.
According to the J-Wiki article on the singer, Sugawara has been known for her truly distinct vibrato. I think Nana Mizuki did a fine job with that vibrato during her cover of "Tsuki ga Tottemo Aoi Kara" which would explain all of the accolades.
One other piece of trivia about Sugawara is that she appeared on the first NHK Kohaku Utagassen in 1951 when it was broadcast on radio. In fact, she was the very first singer to perform that night of January 3rd making her the inaugural performer in the nearly 67-year history of the special.
Other singers have also covered the song as well such as Masako Mori（森昌子）, Ayako Fuji（藤あや子）and Hibari Misora（美空ひばり）.