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.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Takeo Fujishima -- Hajimete Kita Minato (初めて来た港)

On the first Takeo Fujishima(藤島桓夫)article I wrote for the blog, I mentioned that the late enka singer performed a series of songs based on ports early in his career. Well, I've come across the first in that series titled appropriately enough "Hajimete Kita Minato" (First-Time Port), released in 1954.

Ports are an oft-used trope in enka and Mood Kayo. It's not that surprising either because the harbours are the launch points for adventures beyond and the destinations for wide-eyed newcomers. Plus, they can make for ideal spots to say goodbye to a loved one or simply a love relationship. Fujishima and songwriter Kazuo Toyoda(豊田一雄)started their series of port-based songs with this one to describe the protagonist's experiences at his first port that left a lifetime of impression despite a short stay of just 4 or 5 days. As they say, you always remember your first.

Y'know, I actually enjoy this live performance of "Hajimete Kita Minato" by Fujishima even more than the original recording although the latter expressed the cheerful hustle and bustle of a postwar port. I guess it's because Fujishima's voice gained some more timbre in the years since he first recorded the song so that there is a bit more grandeur involved.

But I gotta say that Ichiro Toba's(鳥羽一郎)cover of the 1954 original is simply great. He's got the fine gravelly voice and the arrangement is gentle and happily work-a-day. It's as if that same port from decades back lost the frenetic peak of bustle in the immediate postwar period only to gain a certain comfortable groove of activity as the years passed by. According to the notes on YouTube, Toba's version was on his 1989 release, "Kokoro ni Shimiru Omoide no Uta"(心に沁みる思い出の歌...Beloved Songs To Warm The Heart). The title says it all.

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