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, October 5, 2017

Haruo Minami -- Jan Naito Jan (ジャン・ナイト・じゃん)

In the latest addition (2017) of Haruo Minami's (三波春夫) 2-disc compilation album, I was able to fully immerse myself in both of the beaming enka singer's hugely differing sides. One disc had many of his rokyoku-kayo hybrids such as "Tawaraboshi Genba" (俵星玄蕃), the other had the traditional classics like "Yuki no Wataridori" (雪の渡り鳥) and "Tokyo Gorin Ondo" (東京五輪音頭) as well as a good number of his crazy deviations. The silly "Shampoo Ondo" (シャンプー音頭) and the absolutely wild (of course Minami went wild too) "Senaoshi Rock 'n' Roll" (世直しロックンロール) were newly discovered favourites, and of course there was "Jan Naito Jan". Unfortunately, I'm unable to find proper excerpts of the first two and so I'm unable to write about them. However, the latter is thankfully still available online. I've talked about "Jan Naito Jan" on a couple of occasions here on KKP but I'd yet to dedicate an article to it, so I thought it was high time this aMAzing entry in Minami's discography get a proper entry on the blog.

There's just something so amusing about seeing the prim and proper rokyoku master in his late 60's and dressed in his usual kimono happily bouncing around to the sort of rowdy techno music you'd hear at a dance club. The music was put together by CHOKKAKU. And then there's his rapping skillz (sorry, but I just had to say it in that way) that could most likely have stemmed from his rokyoku background. While its mostly house music/techno (they sound the same to me), Minami's minyo-y delivery at certain parts gives "Jan Naito Jan" a very slight enka vein. Y'know, with the addition of the backup chanting and emceeing, this sounds like what would happen if a hip grandpa at a club decides to show them young whippersnappers what he's made of.

Because of how fast he was spitting out the words I had no idea what Minami was saying without looking at the lyrics; even with the words on display I felt like I was getting cross-eyed trying to follow him, just like in "Tawaraboshi Genba". But giving the words Minami wrote himself a closer look, and seeing that it was used as the ending theme to the anime version of a Mahjong-based manga, "Super Zugan" (スーパーヅガン), I think it does revolve around this tile-based game. I read that this anime that aired from October 1992 to March 1993 garnered a whopping 2.7% viewership rating. I don't know if that's good or bad, considering it was a late-night anime and all, but it looks like the theme song was more popular than the show itself.

The link above is to the full version of "Jan Naito Jan". If you're curious as to how "Senaoshi Rock 'n' Roll" (among others) sounds like, you can check out the 45 second preview on Minami's website here. It's the 18th track.


  1. When I saw that Techno tag for your Haruo Minami song, I immediately wondered "What was the guy into then?!" And here I was thinking that this current Wagakki boom of hard rock and enka was a fresh fusion of Japan and the West. It was beaten to the punch by Minami himself with a rokkyoku and dance music mixture over 20 years ago!

    I gotta say, though, that his rap is quite intoxicating!

    1. J-Canuck, your question is as good as mine. It was quite a strange feeling putting a Minami song under the Techno tag.

      On another note, I just went to check out what's "Wagakki"... Dang, the band looks like its comprised of Naruto characters. Hmm, but they do have some of my curiosity with their blend of rock and enka.

    2. Hi again. As for Wagakki, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some instance of this in a few years at the Olympics in Tokyo.

    3. Actually, the new "Tokyo Gorin Ondo" already kinda is a blend of minyo, pop, rock and folk(?) - no house music or techno though. I'm usually a stickler for the original, but I have to admit that they did it well with Sayuri Ishikawa, Yuzo Kayama, and this other fellow (seems like a new guy).


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