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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Kozo Murashita -- Hokuto Shichisei(北斗七星)


It's a bit late in the hour for me to put up a third article tonight but I came across a tweet from a Kozo Murashita(村下孝蔵)fan that I couldn't ignore.

June 24th is already going through its paces in Japan as I type this, but the date also serves as the 22nd anniversary of the untimely passing of the velvet-voiced singer-songwriter at the age of 46 back in 1999. Murashita was one of the first Japanese pop singers that I encountered after becoming a fan of kayo kyoku, thanks to his huge 1983 hit "Hatsukoi"(初恋)on an episode of CHIN-FM's "Sounds of Japan" all those decades ago.

Well, hearing this particular song, I realized that "Hokuto Shichisei" (The Big Dipper) was lingering deep in my memories before it got finally unearthed again less than half an hour ago. This was also a Murashita song that I heard on "Sounds of Japan" and also like "Hatsukoi", it was Murashita for both words and music and then Kimio Mizutani(水谷公生)arranging everything. Also like that 1983 hit, "Hokuto Shichisei" is another solid pop hit with electric guitar and synth that feels very much like life in the city although I wouldn't place it as a City Pop song. 

A track on his December 1984 album, "Hana Zakari"(花ざかり...Flowers in Full Bloom), Murashita's lyrics talk of a fellow looking up from his window at the titular constellation and fantasizing about star-crossed lovers having a pleasant little dance up in the heavens. Going further into the words, he somehow finds himself in the dance with his own lady of his dreams. Knowing about the singer's folk roots and a topic such as this one for the song, I thought that this would have been a contemplative folksy ballad but instead "Hokuto Shichisei" is a pretty jaunty and fairly urban contemporary affair.

Here's hoping that his fans everywhere will be celebrating his life and songs on the 24th.

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