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, February 8, 2018

Kouhei Fukuda -- Michi Hitosuji (道ひとすじ)

After encountering them countless times on shows like the faithful "Uta Kon" and even the more drawn out version that is the Kohaku, I'm finding the up and coming bunch of enka staples to be quite enjoyable. There's Hiroshi Miyama (三山ひろし), Yukino Ichikawa (市川由紀乃) and Midori Oka (丘みどり), and I'm even warming up to Keisuke Yamauchi (山内惠介) more. But for the moment, I'm most happy to see Kouhei Fukuda (福田こうへい) in all his minyo glory (and high heels) on NHK stage. And to think that I used to dread what he had in store... but, that was four years ago, before I learnt to appreciate minyo-esque enka style of singing.

Anyways, listening to the original singles Fukuda has released thus far, I notice that the first few all have a similar gruff and severe sound. He only seemed to branch out to different sorts of enka recently, for which I'm glad as, while his first few works were pretty cool and all, it was getting a little stale to hear the same sort of thing from him over and over again. This brings me to the song I'm highlighting today, "Michi Hitosuji".

"Michi Hitosuji" has Fukuda proudly proclaiming in his blaring vocals that no matter the countless obstacles, he's determined to stick to the path he's chosen in order to achieve his dream. It's a common topic in the genre but it is easily one of my favourite types for its hopeful and encouraging nature, which is why I took to it immediately. Plus, it's easy to get pumped up with such a grand and manly score filled with soaring strings and the deep taiko thumping away.

His eye bags have eye bags... All those events must've taken a lot out of him.

Writing and composing "Michi Hitosuji" were Toshiya Niitani and Akito Yomo (仁井谷俊也 . 四方章人) respectively, and it was released on 9th August 2017. It's Oricon chart standing is quite impressive, peaking at 5th place and staying on for 19 weeks thus far. It would've been great and fitting if Fukuda sang his 7th single during last year's Kohaku (I think it even matched the theme!), but he went with a quintessential, not to mention more established, o-enka instead... definitely not complaining considering my strong sentiments for that song.

Huh, now I know what I missed out on my CD hunt in Japan. Gotta remember to add Fukuda to the list next time.


  1. Hello, Noelle.

    Considering the enka I heard on "Uta Kon" a couple of nights ago and what I've just heard through Fukuda's single now, I'm kinda wondering if the kayo programs are trying to make their own rallying cry for the Japanese Olympic team. :)

    As to your point to Fukuda's eye bags, yep, I've noticed them too along with that bouncy forelock of his. I'm wondering if they've become part of his permanent look.

    1. Yeah, I think Fukuda's look has become as you've described. I can't really imagine him with a different style. But, who knows? Maybe he'll appear on "Uta Kon" one day with a head of bleach blond hair. :) Now, I wonder what his elderly fans would think of that!

    2. Y'know...I can imagine Fukuda with blond hair with streaky highlights. He could be quite the spark plug!

  2. Hi again, Noelle.

    He is quite tiny, isn’t he? But packed with a mighty powerful voice. Though I have to admit that I sometimes find his singing a tad whiny and wish he would go a bit easier on the vibrato, but it is just me.

    This is a grand sounding tune, and coupled with Fukuda’s big voice, I think it wouldn’t sound out of place as the theme of one of those epic swording fighting movies. In fact, the rattling of the vibraslap reminds me of the theme song of a Cantonese sword fighting TV series that was very popular when I was a kid, involving a hero who was an ace at throwing flying daggers, or something like that. Your parents might know it ;)

    1. Yep, Fukuda is rather tiny. I'm actually really curious to see how tall he stands (shoes off) in comparison to me, another vertically challenged soul. I hope to one day catch him live in one of his single/album promo events.

      Y'know, my parents do know about the show you mentioned. "Xiao Lee Fei Dao", isn't it? I went to have a look at this apparently legendary series - it's campy and kinda cringey, but it does have a cool factor to it. Also, the lead was decent to look at.


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