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.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Yukiji Asaoka -- Furimuite mo Kurenai (ふり向いてもくれない)

Yukiji Asaoka(朝丘雪路)was a face that I'd seen from time to time on the telly back in my Japan days. I didn't know her by name but she was always a presence on some talk show or variety program although she is also listed as an actress and a singer. She also happens to be the wife of a respected veteran actor Masahiko Tsugawa(津川雅彦).

Born in 1935 in Tokyo as Yukie Kato(加藤雪会), she went through the education of becoming a member of the Takarazuka Revue in the Moon Troupe before serving in the actual revue for 3 years and then retiring in 1955. Following that, she entered the world of TV and movie acting plus some duties appearing on various shows such as "Yoru no Hit Studio"(夜のヒットスタジオ)for about a year from 1974 and "11PM" for 16 years (1966-1982).

As a singer, Asaoka released 9 singles between 1964 and 1975 including this one, her 2nd, from 1965. "Furimuite mo Kurenai" (He Won't Even Turn Around), a typically bluesy Mood Kayo about a woman pining for a man who can't or won't notice her. I can easily smell the alcohol, cigarette smoke and sadness wafting in from the bar. What sells the song to me is Asaoka's silky vocals that cleanly cut through all that atmosphere without sounding as if she knocked back a couple of bottles of Suntory a night. Strangely enough, the lyricist for "Furimuite mo Kurenai" is the late Yukio Aoshima(青島幸男), the comedian and future governor of Tokyo. Jinzo Kosugi(小杉仁三)took care of the music.

J-Wiki listed this song as one of the hits for 1965 in the pre-Oricon age so I'm not sure how it did in terms of sales. And there are a couple of other singles which seem to have gotten more of a reputation since they have their own entries, but as an introduction to Asaoka's singing career, "Furimuite mo Kurenai" meets the bar (no pun intended) nicely. I'll have to take a look at those other songs since Asaoka had also had a long stint (10 appearances from 1957 to 1971) on the Kohaku Utagassen including one appearance singing this particular song on the 1966 show.

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