Ever since encountering "Jan Naito Jan" (ジャン・ナイト・じゃん), I have always been marveling about how incredible Haruo Minami's (三波春夫) rapping ability was. However, I discovered that in the genre he's known for, rokyoku, there's rapid-fire narration, and I found that out through listening to "Tawaraboshi Genba" in its entirety. The veteran's delivery of this lengthy bit was incredibly fast yet articulate, and so that made me realise, in a sense he was technically rapping even before he decided to deviate a little from enka, and "Jan Naito Jan" was probably a piece of cake for him compared to his iconic hit decades before.
To give some background info on "Tawaraboshi Genba" or "Genroku Mei Sofu Tawaraboshi Genba (元禄名槍譜 俵星玄蕃): It isn't your typical kayo-rokyoku. It falls under the category of Chouhen Kayo-Rokyoku (長編歌謡浪曲... long kayo-rokyoku). Creating this sub-genre was Minami himself who sought to revive this narrative style of singing that seemed to be dying by the end of WWII. A rokyoku song is usually quite a long one, and from what I've tried to watch (not very much, really) it can be rather draggy/boring. So, what Minami did was to condense a rokyoku story into a (comparatively) short and sweet package combined with enka-yo to make it more appealing to audiences that can be easily bored (like me). The narrative that was shortened here is Chushingura (忠臣蔵... The Treasury of Loyal Retainers), which refers to fictional tale that revolves around the Forty-seven Ronin's plot to avenge their master's death - the real historical event is called the Ako Incident. Minami had penned this rendition under his pen name Touji Kitamura (北村桃児).
|That's one apt pic of Minami right there!|