It's been a couple of good episodes for "Uta Kon"（うたコン）over the past few weeks. I had been a little worried about the show since things seemed to be getting a little stale for some reason but then with their so-called final show of the Heisei era, things perked up to the extent that I thought it was a mini-version of the Kohaku Utagassen. Then, tonight was the first episode of the Reiwa era, and once again, it was a lively show with a good variety representing the pop and enka sides of Japanese music. Heck, the producers even pulled off an exciting bait-and-switch with everyone for one song when it seemed like the NHK orchestra suddenly jumped out of their seats in the rear alcove on the stage and got into dance mode (it turned out that they were actually professional dancers while the real orchestra was ensconced somewhere else to perform).
One of the guests tonight was perennial enka favourite Kouhei Fukuda（福田こうへい）. His latest single in February 2019 is "Otokogawa" (River of Man), a stately song about the nobility and power of a river with the hint that we should all be like that body of water. It seems like rivers are the geographical features to emulate in Japanese society if the various enka is to be believed.
Fukuda is the go-to guy for this sort of proudly delivered enka. All of the melodic tropes are there: strong timpani, the jaunty and robust combination of strings and horns, the leavening addition of shakuhachi and guitar and of course, the bombast of the singer's vocals. Ryuichi Satomura（里村龍一）provided the lyrics while Chiaki Oka（岡千秋）composed the music.