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, September 15, 2016

Naotaro Moriyama -- Natsu no Owari (夏の終わり)

The weather folks out there were predicting higher-than-average temperatures for September in my area, but it sure seems a lot more reasonable and seasonable today. It was actually pleasantly cool, bordering on chilly, this morning as I took my walk. If it keeps up like this, then I know that summer is definitely making its way out.

Back on Tuesday, I caught NHK's "Uta Kon" (うたコン) for the first time in its entirety since the Olympics wrapped up. Happy to say, there were a lot of the old kayo songs out on display but I did also hear a nice little something by Naotaro Moriyama(森山直太朗).

Moriyama, who is the son of veteran folk singer Ryoko Moriyama(森山良子), has been around in show business since 2001, mostly as a singer but I've seen him pop up in the occasional appearance on variety shows and even dramas. He's got a goofy deadpan sense of humour which I've liked and perhaps has also endeared him to his fans.

However, it is his music which has gotten him his fame, along with that amazing falsetto. I have yet to write about his big breakthrough hit, "Sakura"(さくら), but on Tuesday, I did hear him sing his follow-up 3rd single, "Natsu no Owari"(The End of Summer) and was duly impressed. Originally released in August 2003, Moriyama created the ballad with the help of Kaito Okachimachi(御徒町凧)on lyrics, and I think he hit the mark in bringing about that feeling of the cooling summer paired with that love song.

The single managed to hit as high as No. 6 on Oricon and is also a track on his 3rd mini-album, "Ikutsumono Kawa wo Koete Umareta Kotoba-tachi"(いくつもの川を越えて生まれた言葉たち...Words Born Beyond The Rivers)which was released a couple of months before "Natsu no Owari". It peaked at No. 3 on the charts and ended up as the 38th-ranked album of the year.


  1. Hello J-Canuck.

    This week's "Uta Kon" was pretty good, and judging by the kayo sung, I have a feeling that this episode was somewhat of a "Mood Kayo special" that "Kayo Concert" used to have. What I found amusing was Masachika Ichikawa's flamboyance as the Engineer during the "Miss Saigon" medley - a bit out of place on "Uta Kon", but I'm not complaining - towards the end of the show.

    Anyway, I did enjoy "Natsu no Owari" too; quite refreshing after all that kayo. Moriyama Jr.'s falsetto is indeed impressive, and during his performance, he actually sounded quite similar to Ryoko Moriyama whenever he hit the high notes.

    1. Hi Noelle.

      Yeah, I enjoyed it as well and I'm wondering if the show has decided to revert somewhat to the style of "Kayo Concert". The transitions from the hosts to the performers still need work, though.

      What I was definitely impressed, though, was that the show was becoming more ambitious about its camera work. For one song, they actually had one camera looking directly up from the floor while the main singer and the dancers were dancing around it. And then there was even one camera popping up over Ichikawa.

      It was quite the digest of "Miss Saigon" on the stage; yeah, not totally sure whether it totally fit the circumstances but I do give the producers credit for trying something new. NHK did try to cover itself by putting up that blurb when Ichikawa was singing some of those racy lyrics that the lyrics were indeed officially part of the song. I'm still sure that there were a few offended viewers who probably lit up the switchboard.:)

      I also found that the son did sound somewhat like the mother when it came to the Moriyamas. He was certainly one of the highlights of the show.

    2. As much as I kinda want "Uta Kon" to revert back to "Kayo Concert" in terms of themes like tributes to famous artistes and songwriters, I doubt that would happen as they seem serious on renewing the show. But I can still hope, right? And yeah, the transitions are still a bit clunky from time to time.

      Oh, that camera on the floor thing, while a fresh idea for the show, I was actually afraid that someone might trip over it/kick it away, especially since there were quite a few people dancing close to it! Thankfully there were no such mishaps, but I'd find it funny if it were to happen.

      As for "Miss Saigon", no wonder the lyrics were omitted during "American Dream"; I thought it was due to some technical issues. I got the idea from Ichikawa's actions that there was some racy stuff going on there though, but I didn't think NHK would do some censoring. And I guess offended viewers is what they might have to deal with for featuring a musical where a big chunk of the plot takes place in a brothel.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.