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, February 23, 2019

Hikota Aoi -- Udatsu(梲)

I was watching the latest episode of NHK's "Gogo Uta"(ごごウタ), that afternoon talk show featuring singers, mainly enka, and focusing more on the talk part although the singers do get to perform their latest singles. As much as I love my City Pop and AOR, I also still want to find out about the older genres of enka and Mood Kayo, something that I can find on "Gogo Uta" and (seemingly unfortunately) decreasingly so on "Uta Kon"(うたコン).

One fellow that I saw for the first time yesterday was Hikota Aoi(蒼彦太). Hailing from Kagawa Prefecture, he was inspired with the debut of Enka Prince Kiyoshi Hikawa(氷川きよし)to become an enka singer himself while in junior high school. Debuting in 2011, his 7th single was released just last month and it's titled "Udatsu".

I found out from my parents that the kanji for udatsu is a fairly obscure one and even my father wondered what the meaning was. Apparently, according to my mother, the term is really only used nowadays in the expression "Udatsu ga agaranai"(うだつが上がらない)which means "No hope of getting ahead". The literal translation is "The pillar doesn't rise" with the original meaning of udatsu being "a short pillar set on a beam to support a ridgepole" so I gather that this is something on a sailing vessel.

Composed by Koji Tokuhisa(徳久広司)and written by Kyosuke Kuni(久仁京介), the song seems to be about being that sturdy pillar to survive and thrive in life. As an enka tune, yep, it's about as sturdy and shibui as it can get. With that shakuhachi and electric guitar in the background as musical companions, Aoi can pretty much stand up with arms defiantly crossed against a typhoon in his yukata.

Aoi also released two albums in 2015 and 2018. One thing that I noticed about him is his passing resemblance to seiyuu/actor Mamoru Miyano(宮野真守), almost to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if they were indeed relatives. I also found out that the singer also enjoys making udon noodles and touring udon restaurants. Considering that he is from Kagawa Prefecture, again no surprise there either.

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