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.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kobushi Factory -- Samba! Kobushi Janeiro (サンバ!こぶしジャネイロ)

I can’t tell whether Rio de Janeiro is ready or not for the 2016's Olympic and Paralympic Games, but, apparently, Japan is already showing the world how to create great pop anthems with the Olympic Games in mind.

I could talk about Namie Amuro’s (安室奈美恵) official NHK Olympic song “Hero”, but that’s the kind of motivational anthem I tend to avoid. So, instead, we were also blessed with an Olympic song by Hello! Project’s Kobushi Factory (こぶしファクトリー), which is an aidoru group created last year, in 2015.

Called “Samba! Kobushi Janeiro”, this new single (July 2016) is an over the top combination of aidoru pop with Latin rhythms. In fact, it’s samba, carnival and the Olympic games in one song, which might displease many people worried about stereotypes and things like that, but certainly not myself. I can tell it’s cheesy and – yes – very, very stereotyped, but c’mon... that’s part of the Olympic fun. Not only, it also finds time to mention 2020’s Tokyo Olympic games.

The song, written and composed by Shou Hoshibe (星部ショウ), is catchy and full of hooks, but, as always, what makes me like it even more is the attention given to the arrangement. From the brass sections in the background, courtesy of Yoshinari Takegami (竹上良成), to the percursion and the lively samba features, the song is a great piece of work that came to life thanks to hasiejaneiro’s arrangement.

Other than that, it seems to get some inspiration from the famous German Eurodance song called “Samba de Janeiro” (1997), by Bellini. Besides the similar titles, Kobushi Factory shouts samba... kobushi janeiro – the song’s title –  in a close manner to Bellini’s classic hit right after the first chorus and the bridge, right when the melodic ya ya ya chant arrives. As I’m a big fan of the original “Samba de Janeiro”, thanks to a fun racing game I used to play a lot some years ago, called “Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing”, it was a good surprise to see bits of if in Kobushi Factory’s song.

In the end, I’m sorry to say that, but Namie’s “Hero” is far from being my 2016 Olympic anthem. This title goes to the amazing “Samba! Kobushi Janeiro” by Kobushi Factory. In fact, I’d love to see them perform it at Copacabana beach.

The single reached #3 on the Oricon charts, selling 39,662 copies.



  1. Hello, Marcos.

    Wow! So that's what that song was called. I used to hear "Samba de Janeiro" all the time in Japan during one year. It was the national earworm!

    NHK might like uptempo or ballad-y songs for their Olympic themes, but the main point with the national broadcaster is that it also likes them with a certain amount of gravitas...kinda like an Opening Ceremonies. “Samba! Kobushi Janeiro” is more of the Closing Ceremonies of fun celebratory tune. I think one of the commercial channels like Fuji-TV or TV Tokyo would probably pick it as its Olympic theme.

    Hopefully, there are some more aidoru groups out there with its share of joie de vivre and good humour!

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      "Samba de Janeiro" is a great guilty pleasure. I was more than happy to see Kobushi Factory grabbing some inspiration from it.

      As for "Samba! Kobushi Janeiro", it's probably my favorite J-Pop song of the year so far (I told you we've been having bad year).

      Your talking about Japanese Olympic songs in general reminded me that NTV is also giving spin to a song for the Games, and it was recorded by Arashi. Called "Power of the Paradise", it's a bright anthem with strings and percursion. It's not as explosive as "Samba! Kobushi Janeiro", but also not as mellow as Amuro's. Now that I'm thinking, even Namie ended sounding cheesier than our boys, and that's hard.

      On a side note, apparently, Sho Sakurai is in Rio covering the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, I'm not in Rio, but it'd be hard to chase him. And he's from Johnny's Entertainment, which make things even more difficult. I know that my Nihongo teacher is working directly with Japanese athletes, and she's trying to see him. Best of luck to her!

      Now, after wathing the Opening Ceremony, I wonder what we're going to see at the Closing Ceremony. Also, as the next host, Japan is going to show something as well, which is exciting.

    2. Hi, Marcos.

      "Power of the Paradise", eh? I'll have to give it a listen soon. I kinda figured that there was going to be some singer covering the Rio Games. Hopefully, your teacher will be able to catch up to him...let us hope, though, that she doesn't faint in joy.

      I was talking with JTM a few weeks ago about the potential Opening Ceremonies in Tokyo. I suggested that projection mapping be used in some cool way; and then that's what the Opening Ceremonies in Rio did.


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