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, October 9, 2018

Harumi Miyako -- Namida no Renrakusen(涙の連絡船)

On last week's "Uta Kon"(うたコン), enka singer Yukino Ichikawa(市川由紀乃)sang a tune in tribute of the late composer Shosuke Ichikawa (no relation, I believe) who had passed away some 12 years ago. And it was one of those songs that I hadn't known the title or the original singer but knew by one particular part in Ichikawa's melody. I think, like a lot of other people, there are certain hooks in songs that activate those memory engrams. Certainly for me, there are plenty of those melodies whether it be the rousing intro for Seiko Matsuda's(松田聖子)"Aoi Sangoshou"(青い珊瑚礁)or the bass twang and horns that start off the classic Mood Kayo by Hiroshi Itsuki(五木ひろし)"Yokohama Tasogare"(よこはま・たそがれ).

The song that Yukino Ichikawa had sung last week was Harumi Miyako's(都はるみ)"Namida no Renrakusen" (Ferry of Tears), and I recognized it when I heard the repeated phrasing of "Kon'ya mo kiteki ga, kiteki ga, kiteki ga..."(今夜も汽笛が、汽笛が、汽笛が...The steam whistle, steam whistle, steam whistle tonight as well...)with that blast of horns going higher in pitch each time.

What I hadn't known was that "Namida no Renrakusen" was Miyako's 11th single from October 1965. As I mentioned, this was created by Shosuke Ichikawa(市川昭介)with lyrics by Shinichi Sekizawa(関沢新一), and it became her 2nd million-seller hit after "Anko Tsubaki wa Koi no Hana"(アンコ椿は恋の花)in 1964. Another thing that I was surprised about when it came to "Namida no Renrakusen" was that the gradual blast of horns whenever the mention of steam whistles was sung had not initially been part and parcel of the song's experience, and even listening to some of the other videos with Miyako singing it, sometimes that hook wasn't even there.

Miyako's first appearance on NHK's Kohaku Utagassen in 1965 was for this very song, and in fact, she would also sing it on the 1973 and 1982 broadcasts of the New Year's Eve special. The single would sell about 1.5 million records.

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