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, November 24, 2016

Akira Fuse -- Ai wa Fushicho (愛は不死鳥)

In place of the usual "Uta Kon"(うたコン)a few nights ago, TV Japan presented the 54th Annual Kayo Charity Concert(第54回 歌謡チャリティーコンサート)from the city of Shizuoka. Basically the special is a bit more dressier than the weekly kayo broadcast but has the customary mix of old kayo and new J-Pop with a large symphonic orchestra in back.

One of the singers featured that night was perennial favourite Akira Fuse(布施明). Some months ago, one commenter took him to task for always shifting his larynx into overdrive and blowing out his vocals like the Wave Motion Gun on the Yamato. I have to admit that his performance of "Ai wa Fushicho" (Love Is A Phoenix) on the Tuesday concert sounded like listening to my favourite song at a few levels of volume too high. It all came out too fuzzy and garbled and loud. Not quite sure if he were trying to compensate for something but perhaps he felt like he needed to come up with the showstopper to wrap up the broadcast.

Noelle came up with one of his most recent songs a few weeks ago, so let me go way back for the Fuse fix tonight. "Ai wa Fushicho" was one of the boomer's singles, his 20th, from 1970. As the title would hint, Kohan Kawauchi's(川内康範)lyrics are all about eternal love...quite the high-flying concept, and so Masaaki Hirao's(平尾昌晃)music matched it with something of an epic operatic European bent. Plus, of course, Fuse's vocals were more than happy to take the challenge although I think his performance in the above video was rather more controlled and easier to listen to.

The arrangements for the song here had an interesting feel of a Hollywood Western as if Fuse was getting ready for that showdown in the middle of the dusty street in 19th-century Nevada. I wish there were an actual recorded version of "Ai wa Fushicho" on YouTube but for now, we just have the performed versions on TV.

No mention was made on J-Wiki on how the song did on Oricon strangely enough, but it must have done quite well since Fuse was able to make it onto the 1970 Kohaku Utagassen for the 4th time to perform it. Apparently, he was wearing clothes that resembled the outline of a phoenix. I would be very interested to see what he looked like in that outfit.


  1. Hi J-Canuck.

    I have to agree with this commenter and you in saying that Fuse has been "shifting his larynx into overdrive". And I find that his delivery sounds strained. I have a feeling that he's trying to be as loud and booming as he was back when "Ai wa Fushicho" came out, but he's trying way too hard.

    About how the phoenix outfit that Fuse had worn may have looked like: My mind's eye has put together a combination of one of Keisuke Yamauchi's glitzy sequined suits (the red one in particular) and Kiyoshi Hikawa's caped outfit from last year's Kohaku... Oh my. Hopefully the real thing looked better than what I envisioned...?

    1. Hi Noelle.

      Yeah, I can't that he was at his best on Tuesday. After all of his decades on stage, I don't really think he needs anything to prove.

      As for that Phoenix outfit he wore on the Kohaku years and years ago, considering that was the age of wide lapels, bell-bottom pants and long hair (and I was guilty of that too back then), it probably looked as bad as you envisioned (heh, heh). :)

    2. Hello J-Canuck.

      Perhaps Fuse just wants to maintain his label of "The Loud Guy", because as you've already said, he need not prove anything as this day and age.

      The addition of 70's fashion into what already looks to be an iffy image of Fuse's outfit makes all the more cringe-worthy... ... And long hair with bell bottomed pants - et tu, J-Canuck?

    3. Hi, Noelle.

      Yup, I've got photos of those early days that are sealed with more security than the White House. :)


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