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, July 23, 2018

Maria Chiba -- Wasureji no Kyoto(忘れじの京都)

Earlier today, I heard from my friend who was in Kyoto over the weekend and he was just telling me about how hot it was over there. For years, I've been hearing about the ancient capital's position in a bonchi (basin) which has led to the traditionally torrid conditions there. When my classmates and I were there in 1981, I remember watching the parade in the annual Gion Festival with a crowd on the streets three people deep and the temperatures as hot as Hades. Yup, I really needed a shower after that.

Well, the heat was the biggest news on NHK today. Kyoto and a lot of other places including my old stompin' grounds of Tokyo were all above 35 degrees Celsius and a couple of other cities had even topped 40 degrees. Heck, for the first time in its history (I think), the Gion Festival was actually canceled due to the especially hellish conditions this year.

So, looking for a Kyoto-based kayo, I discovered this 1973 single by singer/tarento Maria Chiba(千葉マリア)titled "Wasureji no Kyoto" (Forgotten Kyoto), about a woman leaving her romantic woes behind in the titular city. Led by strings and a pretty distinctive-sounding koto (I think), the song has a a mix of enka and some pretty boss 1970s kayo arrangement.

I had never heard of Chiba before but her vocals remind me somewhat of those for Keiko Fuji(藤圭子). For this song at least, the singer has this slightly ragged and forlorn delivery as if she had been through the wringer of love one too many times, although "Wasureji no Kyoto" doesn't quite have the feeling of nighttime and barfly life that Fuji often sang about. I think the koto perhaps keeps things out of Mood Kayo territory.

Unfortunately, I couldn't track down who wrote and composed "Wasureji no Kyoto". As for Chiba herself, though, she was born in Mobara City, Chiba Prefecture as Mitsu Toeda(十枝みつ), and made her debut in 1971 with "Bara no Namida"(薔薇の涙...Rose Tears). She even ran in the Japanese House of Councillors election in 2001 as a candidate for the now-defunct Liberal League political party but didn't win a seat.

There are a couple of other Kyoto-based kayo that I've written about in the past, both by Yuko Nagisa(渚ゆう子), "Kyoto Bojou"(京都慕情)and "Kyoto no Koi"(京都の恋). I just hope that the residents in Kyoto and much of Japan are trying to stay as cool as possible.

And I hope that residents in my city are staying strong and resilient as well.

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