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 4, 2012

Mari Amachi -- Hitori Janaino (ひとりじゃないの)

Since I was a tot, I'd been listening to Japanese music such as enka on the old RCA stereo, but it  wasn't until the summer of 1972 that I heard an actual Japanese pop song. And it's the one featured here. A native of Omiya City in Saitama Prefecture, Mari Amachi (天地真理)held court as a national aidoru in the first half of the 1970s. "Hitori Janaino"(You're Not Alone) was the 2nd No. 1 hit for her on the Oricon charts and the biggest hit of her career. In total, she got onto the top of the charts 5 times...not too shabby. But then Seiko Matsuda changed all that in the next decade.

"Hitori Janaino" is classic kayo kyoku....cheerful lilting voice backed by a studio string-and-horns dominated orchestra, and the lyrics have a young couple enjoying a pleasant walk. "Natsukashii" is the one word that hits me whenever I hear it. Novelist/playwright Mitsuhiko Kuze(久世光彦)provided the lyrics under his pen name of Natsu Kotani(小谷夏)while Koichi Morita(森田公一)composed the melody.

I heard it on the taxi taking me, my mother, my baby brother and my grandparents to Ginza from Haneda Airport (when it was the only airport for Tokyo). The cabbie had the radio tuned onto some AM channel when the tune came on. And once I heard it, I gave the only reaction that I could at the time: I THREW UP! Yup, my new white shirt took on some further colors, as did the cabbie. Now, this was not a visceral criticism of the song itself, but a delayed reaction to some airsickness on the flight over from Vancouver....really. I was always a late bloomer. Luckily, though, I don't have any chronic Pavlovian reaction whenever I hear it.


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