by Toshihiro Gamo
I believe that next to cockroaches (which seem to elicit the same fear as seeing Hannibal Lecter offering lessons on sharpening knives), crows are probably seen as the worst urban bane in animal form in Japan. They are large, they like picking at your garbage and they may even decide to swoop down and attack you. My neighbourhood in Ichikawa was no different as they were out there roosting on the fence. Sometimes as I passed by, I would make eye contact with them and they would make eye contact with me. I imagined John Williams' "Duel of the Fates" from "The Phantom Menace" playing as we locked eyes on each other. "Hey punk! You want some?" As their titanium beaks shone in the sunlight, I wondered if at least one of those dark birds had tattoos under its feathers.
Alright, having said my piece on crows, let's go to something a bit cuter when it comes to Corvus corone. "Minna no Uta"（みんなのうた）comes on before the NHK Morning News at 7 on TV Japan and last week, I saw another adorable number called "Kaa Kaa Karasu no Kansaburo" (Caw, Caw, Kansaburo The Crow) about a vagabond samurai crow walking the byways of Japan.
The video that I saw for that number was an animated one made just for "Minna no Uta", but the above is a shortened version of the official music video featuring child actress/tarento Rio Suzuki（鈴木梨央）in summer festival mode. I have seen her on TV before so I'm wondering if she has taken up the mantle of beloved child actress of Japan that used to be on Mana Ashida's（芦田愛菜）shoulders a few years ago.
In any case, this was Suzuki's 2nd single from November 2016 which peaked at No. 62 on Oricon. "Kansaburo" was written and composed by Kyoko Matsumiya（松宮恭子）and it got its turn on "Minna no Uta" in October 2016 before getting another spell on the show a year later. One would hope that there would be more "heroic" crows like Kansaburo, but I'm afraid that the best we can ask for in Japan are the usual birds with the Loki-type of humour.