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.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Akira Wakayama -- Yorokobi mo Kanashimi mo Ikutoshitsuki(喜びも悲しみも幾歳月)

I've often used the above photo for a few articles on the blog for no other reason other than I couldn't find anything else suitable. However, I can finally say here that it fits perfectly for reasons that will soon become apparent.

On a recent episode of "Uta Kon"(うたコン), there was a montage of the old kayo for one segment and I saw this one fellow singing most heroically on a kayo show from long ago. I had thought it was some sort of wartime song to bring cheer to the troops and citizens.

However, I was quite wrong there. Instead, "Yorokobi mo Kanashimi mo Ikutoshitsuki" was the theme song for a movie of the same name which was translated as "Times of Joy and Sorrow" as it was titled in the USA and "The Lighthouse" in the UK. Released in 1957 and directed by Keisuke Kinoshita(木下惠介), it was a years-spanning movie about a couple who start life together living in a lighthouse from the year 1932. As the American title will indicate, the movie goes into the ups and downs of their lives as they raise a family through the war and into the postwar years.

Just gleaning from the fact that those NHK morning serial dramas, which often feature stories spanning decades, have remained a TV staple all these years, I wasn't surprised to find out that "Yorokobi mo Kanashimi mo Ikutoshitsuki" became a huge hit. The theme song also became one for singer Akira Wakayama(若山彰). The Hiroshima-born singer had once aspired to go into the field of opera but after doing some work as part of a backup chorus, he decided to switch into singing regular kayo. Perhaps his training would explain those exhorting vocals.

Wakayama had been singing professionally for about 6 years when he recorded the theme song which made him an overnight success. In fact, he ended up making an appearance on the Kohaku Utagassen for 1957 and would appear 3 more times in a row. Director Kinoshita's younger brother, Chuuji Kinoshita(木下忠司), wrote and composed the song; and he often provided the music for several of the elder Kinoshita's productions.

The above video is the empty karaoke take on the song with scenes from the original film.

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