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 30, 2018

Yoshimi Tendo -- Anta no Hanamichi(あんたの花道)

That expression hanamichi has become quite the popular expression in enka songs and their titles. It may have started out as that elevated walkway through the audience in a kabuki performance, and according to, it's also been defined as "an honourable end to a career", but I think most people would see it as "the righteous road to glory"...not an end to anything at all.

Kiyoshi Hikawa(氷川きよし)has his "Shoubu no Hanamichi"(勝負の花道)and TV Tokyo had its long-running kayo program "Enka no Hanamichi"(演歌の花道). One of the last Japanese dramas that I enjoyed was even titled "O-Mizu no Hanamichi"(お水の花道).

And on last week's "Uta Kon"(うたコン), I came across Yoshimi Tendo's(天童よしみ)"Anta no Hanamichi" (Your Road to Glory) for the first time. Sheepishly, I have to admit that this is my first Tendo article, and that's while believing that the little lady with the big voice from my ancestral homeland of Wakayama Prefecture is arguably the premier songstress of enka right now.

Her 43rd single from January 2002 is a triumphant in make-way-for-the-Queen triumphant as Tendo strides proudly on that hanamichi. To explain a bit about the anta part, the word refers to a more intimate use of anata or you as in I'm thinking that Ryutaro Kinoshita's(木下龍太郎)lyrics refer to a wife supporting her husband on that path. Traditionally speaking, perhaps the wife may be walking behind her man but the way the song sounds, I think both of them are walking side by side as equal partners.

Composer Sanechika Ando(安藤実親)makes "Anta no Hanamichi" as jaunty as a summer festival song, and Tendo takes it and runs away with it on the stage. Nothing somber to be experienced here. Life is to be savored and celebrated. In the years since its release, I'm sure that the song has become a true rouser at her concerts.


  1. Yes this week utacon's Tendo Yoshimi's "Anta no Hanamichi" was brilliant. She's really good when singing happy and bright songs but not as good as when singing dark/sad tunes. Just my opinion, one of her hits Chindo Story is an exception though, My favorite Tendo's recording is "Ringo no Uta (Apple Song)" on one of her early cover albums.

    But what I was really impressed was not Tendo but guest band on that song, which is Osaka Toin Symphonic Band. Lots of Japanese people knows Osaka Toin as one of the best high school baseball teams in the last two decades so yes this orchestra is made of high school students in Osaka, and they appears TV in national baseball tournament almost every year to cheer for their baseball team. At first I thought what the hell NHK is doing to bring about 50 high shool students as I doubt they are getting paid, but the show was actually from Osaka NHK hall, hometown of Tendo Yoshimi.

    I did some research after Utacon about Osaka Toin brass band and oh my gosh those 50 students were just one third of the whole orchestra. So currently they did have 172 brass band members!

    This is youtube link to Osaka Toin brass band playing "Rhapsody In Blue" on May:

    You can see about 23 students playing Trumpet which is very rare to see. Lots of trombones and clarinets too and they are doing it the right way. The sound is truly magical and I think they can easily surpass most of professional big bands.

    Official Homepage of Osaka Toin Symphonic band (only written in Japanese):

    - Hanibo

    1. Hello there.

      Yes, my family was quite impressed with Tendo's performance with the band helping out. It was almost Kohaku-level. The singer certainly deserves all of the accolades that she has received.


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