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.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Sayuri Ishikawa -- Danryuu(暖流)

Looking through enka singer Sayuri Ishikawa's(石川さゆり)vast discography, it was obvious that her big breakout year was 1977. Her classic "Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyu Geshiki"(津軽海峡・冬景色)was released right on New Year's Day of that year and became an enormous hit, then came "Noto Hanto"(能登半島)a little over 5 months later which was another Top 10 achiever.

To wrap up 1977, Ishikawa released her 17th single in September "Danryuu" (Warm Current). As was the case with the previous two singles, this one was also created by Yu Aku and Takashi Miki(阿久悠・三木たかし). I actually caught it back on Tuesday night during "Uta Kon"(うたコン), and it had been a while since I heard an Ishikawa enka from decades past so it was quite nice listening to the nostalgic arrangement again. I've been accustomed to seeing her in a kimono in recent times so it was interesting to see her when she first started singing "Danryuu" dressed in Western clothing as above.

Also another common thread weaving through all of her 3 singles of 1977 was that it was another geographical enka about love lost. "Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyu Geshiki" was set on the Tsugaru Strait between Aomori Prefecture and Hokkaido, and "Noto Hanto" was based on the famous peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. "Danryuu" had its breakup theme placed in Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. Perhaps the only difference here is that whereas the first two songs dealt with the aftermath of the breakup, the lyrics for "Danryuu" have the breakup happening right within the song itself with Ishikawa's character quietly but resolutely stating that she will be leaving the guy and starting afresh by the ocean.

"Danryuu" just missed the Top 10 by peaking at No. 11 but it still managed to get into the Top 100 of the year by ranking at No. 67. It was quite the hat trick year for Ishikawa but her collaboration with Aku and Miki didn't start in 1977. Actually, the three of them were together from 1976 for her 12th, 13th and 14th singles but the breakthrough didn't occur until the following year.

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