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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tohoku Shinkansen -- Tsuki ni Yorisotte (月に寄りそって)

It's not everyday that I listen to a song for the first time and enjoy it so much that I rush through my night shower and exercises so that I can give it another go. Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子)and Makoto Matsushita(松下誠)are a couple of singers whose works that I have treated in that way. I was about to close up shop for the evening after putting up three articles when for the heck of it, I gave a groovy Japanese compilation by a YouTube uploader a try. One of the songs is the topic of what will be my final article for tonight and it was one of the tracks on that compilation. I sought to see if the song did exist independently and, lucky me, it did.

At first, I couldn't quite figure out the name of this unit here: Tohoku Shinkansen(東北新幹線). I mean, who would name their group after a JNR Bullet Train line? Perhaps this was supported by a group of train otaku? No such animal, as it turned out. This was a duo comprised of the guitarist Hiroshi Narumi(鳴海寛)who sadly passed away last year and songwriter Etsuko Yamakawa(山川恵津子).

I had to look through at least 3 sources to get some information on Tohoku Shinkansen. Although there wasn't a J-Wiki entry on the unit per se, there was one for Yamakawa who is officially listed as a lyricist, composer, arranger, music producer and studio musician for a wealth of singers. But the term "singer" for herself isn't there. However in 1982, she and Narumi decided to actually work their voices in the recording studio and put out one album cleverly titled "Thru Traffic" which had the mellow ballad "Tsuki ni Yorisotte" (Cuddle Up to the Moon).

And I gotta say that this track is a wonderful slow groove of love for this AOR fan. This is the Sing Like Talking ballad before Sing Like Talking. Strangely enough, there was a double-Etsuko whammy behind it with Etsuko Yamakawa composing the music while Etsuko Kisugi(来生えつこ)provided the lyrics of getting up close and personal with ol' Luna. The Japanese music blog "Music Avenue" provided a further whammy when the entry listed one of the backup singers as Junko Yagami(八神純子)! I never thought I would ever see the day that Yagami would actually be backing up a singer, but it makes some sense here since Yamakawa actually sounds a bit like Yagami and perhaps needed her to provide that added depth. Yamakawa has helped Yagami as well in a couple of her songs.

One other site related a bit more about Tohoku Shinkansen's musical leanings which were urban contemporary, AOR and City Pop. Like with Makoto Matsushita's "First Light", the track "Tsuki ni Yorisotte" seems to bend more toward American AOR with that layer of soul just percolating underneath the vocals. It has certainly gotten me interested in listening to other tracks on "Thru Traffic".


  1. hello mr Canuck
    i need your help to (maybe) recognize a song i found on a compilation a few years ago. I manage to spot an other one i liked (the sunny tones- the kaiki song), but this one resist to my efforts.
    So if you've an idea i'll be very glad. Check it at this link

    It could be a song from a cartoon, a movie, a musical?

    Thx in advance

  2. Hi, Serge. Thanks for your question, and it was a good question. I took a listen to the song and I think it may be the vocal group Duke Aces doing their version of the ending theme of a 1963 TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) drama called "Kemuri no Ohsama" (煙の王様...King of Smoke).

    The original ending theme was an instrumental and I believe I have found it here: It starts at about 53 seconds into the video.

    Take care.

  3. Hi Mr Canuck
    You are a genius! It is this song, you hit it!
    i'm very grateful...
    Thx for your wonderful blog and for your knowledge.


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