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.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Kirinji -- Hankagai(繁華街)

Kirinji(キリンジ)first got my undivided attention when I heard "Aliens"(エイリアンズ), their romantic ballad with the odd title from 2000. At the time, I knew that there just had to have been some current, underground or otherwise, of cool urban contemporary J-Pop somewhere, and Kirinji was one wonderful representative.

Last night, I found another wonderful Kirinji ballad, this time from 2003 called "Hankagai". Now, according to, hankagai can have a number of similar definitions: business district; shopping district; bustling street; shopping centre; shopping center; downtown.

But just from the cool music of piano and horns evoking a lonely night of street lights, streaming traffic and small groups of people unknown to the protagonist in Shanghai, I would probably go simply with "Downtown". Yasuyuki Horigome(堀込泰行), one-half of the brother act that makes up Kirinji, took care of words and music that seem to describe a traveler's somewhat disorienting (no pun intended) experience in the Chinese metropolis. There's something of the "Lost In Translation" vibe with "Hankagai"; that cynical Bill Murray character bemused at the strangeness of life in a strange city. I'm not sure whether that movie actually had a theme song for Murray's Bob Harris in its soundtrack, but if not, I could suggest "Hankagai". In a bit of coincidence, the movie actually came out in the same year of 2003 that the song's album "For Beautiful Human Life" was released in September. Kirinji's 5th album made it high as No. 38 on Oricon.

And indeed, what a title for an album...taking the famous and weirdly wonderful slogan for Kanebo Cosmetics as its own. It would be something that would tickle/annoy Harris as he sees it on a some signboard from his Shinjuku taxi...while "Hankagai" is playing of course.


  1. They had a new album come out last week. It's on streaming services. Really good!

    1. Hi, Zazoo!

      I hope Kirinji keeps them coming. Will never tire of their music.


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