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, May 17, 2019

Yukari Ito -- Katami no Juujika/Kwai Gawa March(かたみの十字架・クワイ河マーチ)

Beginning this article here with one of my occasional All-Points Bulletin requests. Earlier today, I received a request from someone regarding the above performance by 1960s aidoru Yukari Ito(伊東ゆかり). Although there has been no mention of it in her J-Wiki biography, she had a bit part as a guest singer in the 1967 comedy-action movie "Five Golden Dragons", and the person wanted to know what she had sung there.

Searching through the Net with her name, the title of the movie and even the first few words of the song, I've ended up with bupkiss so far, but I sent over an e-mail to her or whoever is taking care of her website. Perhaps I may be able to get a response but if any of her fans reading this article know, I'd appreciate a contact. It's possible that the song was really only made for that one scene and it has only existed in the movie, but one never knows.

However, all this looking for this Yukari Ito song has gotten me wondering about the singer again. And so I decided to go all the way back to her beginnings through her debut single. Although Ito has sung kayo through a number of genres with hits such as "Koyubi no Omoide"(小指の思い出), she also covered a lot of songs from across the Pacific early in her career such as the old-fashioned summertime classic "Vacation" originally performed by Connie Francis.

Anyways, as for her first single from June 1958, it unsurprisingly consists of a couple of covers on the A and B sides. On that A-side is "Katami no Juujika" (Keepsake Cross) which is a cover of Pat Boone's "Remember You're Mine" (songwriters Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann) from the previous year. Ito was only 11 years old when she made her first professional foray behind the mike, and though she naturally does sound like a kid, she sounds like a kid with a future in singing. Plus, she sings both English and Japanese lyrics with the latter provided by Takashi Otowa(音羽たかし), a pseudonym for one of the higher-ups at King Records.

I may have been born several years after the original and the Ito cover had come out but I did hear a lot of these old records at home so the nostalgia factor is quite real with me.

One of the most oldest tunes that I remember from way back was something that was whistled. And it accompanied one of the episodes of "The Flintstones". I knew it as the marching ant song back then since the song was played as a group of relentless ants calmly divested Wilma and Betty (who took the robbery remarkably well) of their picnic feast.

Years later, I would find out that this was the famous marching music from the 1957 movie "Bridge on the River Kwai".

Getting back to Ito's debut single, the B-side happened to be the cover for that march, re-titled in Japanese as "Kwai Gawa March" (March from the River Kwai). This was given Japanese lyrics by Otowa as well, I assume.

In any case, if anyone can let me about that song at the very top, please leave a message.

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