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, February 29, 2012

Teresa Teng -- Tsugunai (つぐない)

Over the past several decades, a few non-Japanese singers have made inroads into the world of kayo kyoku. One of them was the late Teresa Teng (テレサテン)from Taiwan, who first made her debut in Japan (her professional debut was in 1968) in 1973 and even made the New Year's Eve Red and White Song Festival of that year. When it came to her voice, I'd like to quote this from the English Wikipedia write-up:

"Her voice was also described as being 'like weeping and pleading, but with strength, capable of drawing in and hypnotizing listeners.'"

Sounds just right for enka. In my previous entries, I talked about how enka can be categorized according to geography and activities such as drinking in bars. These are not official subgenres of  enka; only observations on my part. For Teng, her form seems to have a European tinge to it...due to certain musical instruments (like a mandolin) and arrangements.

The song, "Tsugunai", which may mean "atonement" or "compensation", has that sort of feel for me. Teng sings about how she longs for a departed lover although signs of him still linger in her home. It was released in January 1984 and got as high as 6th on the weekly Oricon charts, and finished up being the 42nd most popular song of the year. And it won a Japan Records Award for that year as well.

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