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.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Kyouji Sugi & Yakko Michi/Hachiro Kasuga -- Uchi no Nyobo nya Hige ga aru (うちの女房にゃ髭がある)

Out of all the showa era composers I've come across, Masao Koga (古賀政男) definitely takes the cake for the one who'd produced the gravest of scores, with songs like "Kage wo Shitai te" (影を慕いて) and "Kanashii Sake" (悲しい酒) being prime examples. So, OBVIOUSLY I am following that vein and writing about this fantastic work of art, "Uchi no Nyobo nya Hige ga aru" (My Wife Has a Mustache).

My figurative socks were knocked off my feet when I saw this bizarro title in the Father of Kayokyoku's list of notable works on the J-Wiki when doing research for the first part of his KKP bio. Considering the juxtaposition between song name and the creator, if I were to have heard "Uchi no Nyobo nya Hige ga aru" with zero prior knowledge, I wouldn't have guessed that Koga had composed it. I suppose it goes to show that even the most depressing of fellows can come up with something so silly, even if it was for the sake of a comedy movie.

In both forms of "Uchi no Nyobo nya Hige ga aru", originally from 1936, comedian Kyouji Sugi (杉狂児) plays the hapless soul married to a woman with the disposition of a surly bear and possibly the mustache of Magnum P.I. across her upper lip, played by the geisha singer Yakko Michi (美ち奴). The guy is heavily bothered by the presence of her whiskers and yet understandably shrinks into a stammering piece of tofu when honey dearest sharply confronts him. And in the song, the carefree and jolly music that accompanies Sugi's happy-sounding rant about his daily predicament seems to show that everything's A-OK in the household and completely masks how terrified he is.

As for Sadashi Hoshino's (星野貞志) words, I'd come up with a theory a while back regarding the mustache: The woman in question having facial hair could also imply that she's "The Man" of the house, considering how meek her husband is. I mean, she could have a 'stache that rivals Salvador Dali's too, for all I know. It does make the ditty more profound, but then again, I don't think one needs that much brainpower for comic relief.

Though not as renowned as Koga's other works, this pre-war comic number still gets its time in the limelight on TV shows occasionally and has been covered by other artistes, including the current muse of yours truly, Hachiro Kasuga (春日八郎). There had been no version of this song I'd wanted to listen to but his for obvious reasons, and because he looked to be one of the last few fellows I'd think of when it comes to stammering away like a tofu. And yet he more or less did in his 1974 rendition of his "Koga Masao wo Utau" (古賀政男を歌う) album. By golly, it's one of the best things ever. Well, he doesn't quake in the same manner as Sugi when yelled at, rather, he sounds more like he's quietly mumbling under his breath with his head down in an effort to avoid eye contact. Still aMAzing nonetheless. As for the one behind the terror of a wife here, it's speculated to be the kayo-rokyoku singer Yuriko Futaba (二葉百合子). Interestingly, though Hachi had released 3 versions of the Koga cover album throughout the 1970s, only the '74 take has "Uchi...".

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Definitely a tonic for those who were getting tired of those tunes in which the man would be ordering the woman around. I hadn't realized that something like "Uchi no Nyobo nya Hige ga aru" came out that early in the 20th century.


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