As I mentioned last night in Kiyoko Suizenji's（水前寺清子）"Arigato no Uta"（ありがとうの歌）, I did say that I would give a proper introduction to enka singer Yukino Ichikawa（市川由紀乃）.
Ichikawa was born Mari Matsumura（松村真利）in Saitama Prefecture and at the age of 16, she won a karaoke contest sponsored by Saitama Shinbun after which she was scouted by a production company and in 1993, she made her debut as an enka singer with "Onna no Matsuri"（おんなの祭り...A Woman's Festival）.
I think Ichikawa has become one of the mainstays of the current generation of enka singers alongside folks like Kiyoshi Hikawa（氷川きよし）and Aya Shimazu（島津亜矢）. She has certainly been a fairly regular presence on the kayo shows such as "Uta Kon"（うたコン）. However, it wasn't until her 26th single in April 2016 "Kokoro Kasanete" (Give Me Your Love One More Time) that she finally got the nod from NHK to come on board the Kohaku Utagassen. I saw the moment on TV when her manager rushed into her dressing room to give her the good news; I thought she was going to end up creating her own lake from her tears.
Shinichi Ishihara and Kohei Miyuki（石原信一・幸耕平）were responsible for words and music respectively. What kinda surprises me about "Kokoro Kasanete" is how it starts off with a bang with that wailing electric guitar and then goes into a really blowsy saxophone solo that had me thinking either a Mood Kayo or a Saburo Kitajima（北島三郎）number. Then it goes into its main melody of gentle enka as Ichikawa sings about a woman who is begging for some of that love back from her paramour who has gone cold.
"Kokoro Kasanete" has got quite that interesting balance of oomph with the guitar and sax and gentility with the usual instruments plus Ichikawa's voice. The song managed to get as high as No. 19 on Oricon, a personal best for the singer but on the enka charts, it reached No. 1 for the fifth consecutive time for her releases.