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.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hiroshi Itsuki -- Omoide no Kawa (思い出の川)

Still think a plain shirt would've been better.

From watching all those episodes of "Uta Kon"/"Kayo Concert" and "Nippon no Uta", I have to say that white suits aren't easily pulled off, but Itsuki is definitely one of those who are able to do so - y'know, objectively speaking. As you would've guessed, that photo up there is the Hiroshi Itsuki calendar picture for August. It's a couple of months since I've written an article on the veteran singer, so we've missed out on June and July. But not to worry, they'll be in here too. Itsuki-bomb Part II.

Okay, nonsense aside, today's article will be on Itsuki's most recent work as of now, "Omoide no Kawa". It was released on 13th April 2016 and went as high as 19th on the Oricon charts. Looking at the title, I kinda knew that it wouldn't be a tune that I'd take a liking to immediately. As I had thought, "Omoide no Kawa" was on the forlorn side of things. It's about our protagonist reminiscing about the people he had once encountered (former lover, friends) when he comes across this particular river, and the smooth strings give it a heavy atmosphere. As it first hit my ears, true enough, I didn't exactly like it and I found myself expecting a bit more as each stanza ends of quite abruptly - just as I thought it was building for the chorus, it just ends in the next line.

I've seen him in better outfits. He looks like he's got a golf
game to play. Got the single at Miyada Records.

However, when writing this article and intently listening to "Omoide no Kawa" repeatedly, I'm starting to appreciate Itsuki's melody more and it's starting to grow on me. The abruptness of how the lyrics are being delivered still sort of bothers me though. Anyway, collaborating with Itsuki and doing up the words was the former governor of Tokyo and older brother to the late Yu-chan, Shintaro Ishihara (石原慎太郎). Besides being a politician (a controversial one, as I'd just learnt), he's also an author. 

There was an amusing albeit awkward incident that happened when both gentlemen were putting "Omoide no Kawa" together. From what I had read on the Oricon article, during the end of the recording session and when some tidying up was being done, Ishihara had (rudely) told off a lady whom he presumed was a member of the staff to hurry it up (in the tidying, I think). The lady wasn't a staff member though, she's Itsuki's wife. After that Mrs. Ishihara had to ring up the Itsukis to apologize for her husband's impoliteness. Man, I actually cringed when I read that part...When I read it again for this article, I also laughed out loud (sorry Mrs. Itsuki). 

Alright, time to wrap things up. Here's the June and July pages of the calendar.

Another angle would've been a little better.

What's better than 1 Itsuki?
Why, 3 Itsukis of course!


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Yeah, "Omoide no Kawa" is pretty melodramatic with the strings and the oboe in there. And you are right at how abruptly that refrain gets cut off...that was darn unusual. I wonder how his other fans felt about the song. Maybe he and the songwriters just wanted to pull off something different since usually when I hear a kayo with "Omoide" in the title, there is that expectation of something fully sweeping in the melody.

    When I read your story about how Ishihara treated Mrs. Itsuki, I just shook my head and went "naruhodo". I think the old governor did do some good things for Tokyo but personally speaking, he was about as socially smooth as Donald Trump...i.e., not very.

    1. Yup, Donald Trump did come to mind when I was reading some excerpts of Ishihara's past speeches on his Wikipedia page... A few actually surprised me by how scathing they were. But as you said, he did do some good so... ._. *shrugs shoulders*


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