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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Yuzo Kayama -- Natsu wa Mijikai(夏はみじかい)

Tonight's theme on NHK's "Uta Kon"(うたコン)was summer songs, or probably it's better to say summer kayo. There are just so many summer songs in the Japanese popular music sphere that the producers probably could only fit in a few of the traditional pop tunes of the season.

My mother first assumed that tonight's episode was a rerun because she saw veteran Yuzo Kayama(加山雄三). It's been a few months since a devastated Kayama had come on camera to tearfully mourn the loss of his beloved ship, the Koshin Maru(光進丸), due to fire and she couldn't believe that the former Wakadaisho was emotionally well enough to get back on stage. Well, true to Kayama's most famous movie character, the 81-year-old balladeer was back in the saddle again and happily singing away a few times.

I found this interesting song by Kayama today called "Natsu wa Mijikai" (Summer is Short) which was composed by him under his alias of Kosaku Dan(弾厚作)and written by Tokiko Iwatani(岩谷時子). I call it interesting because it was released as a track on his 1968 album "Kimi no Tame ni"(君のために...For You), and yet the song sounds like it came from a 1950s jukebox with some of that great harmonizing. Plus, Kayama goes atypically higher in his vocals to sing this one as a high-toned crooner.

Y'know, "Natsu wa Mijikai", aside from the Japanese lyrics, would almost feel at home on some record rack in a bobbysoxer's room.


  1. Kayama has been very active in recent years. He has his own regular show on Satellite TV channel which I don't check it regularly but in another TV show a couple of weeks ago, he said he only sings Enka when he goes to Karaoke. This year Kayama released Enka cover album which I still haven't got a chance to listen but that's the reason he did his Enka song in Utacon yesterday.

    - Hanibo

    1. Yes, I rather liked how "Uta Kon" labeled him at the top of the screen as he was performing the tune: An 81-year-old enka rookie".


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