Credits

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, March 10, 2012

Kyu Sakamoto/Re:Japan/Ulfuls -- Ashita ga aru sa (明日があるさ)




A couple of years after Kyu Sakamoto (坂本九)had the biggest hit of his career, "Ue wo Muite Arukou", (上を向いて歩こう)i.e. the Sukiyaki song, he released this upbeat number written and composed by Yukio Aoshima (青島幸男)and Hachidai Nakamura(中村八大) (who had also composed Sukiyaki). Yukio Aoshima was not only a comedian and TV personality, but he eventually became the 13th governor of Tokyo from 1995-1999. Instead of the somewhat melancholy original lyrics in "Sukiyaki", "Ashita ga aru sa" (There's Always Tomorrow) is optimistic through and through. It's about a male student who keeps trying to make the first move on the object of his affections but just can't execute.

Since it would be a few years before Oricon would start its ranking system, J-Wiki doesn't supply any numbers but the song did sell over 800,000 copies.


In 2001, the song got a second life when rock group Ulfuls and a one-off unit consisting of 11 core members of the Yoshimoto Kogyo(吉本興業)Agency (which represents Kansai-based comedians) known as Re: Japan gave their own respective cover versions of Sakamoto's hit. For Re: Japan, their "Ashita ga aru sa"debuted at No. 5 on Oricon and spent 2 weeks in the top position. The video above has Re: Japan doing it old school with dinner jackets and a full studio orchestra. And it also comes with translation. The song itself was so successful that it begat a series of commercials for Georgia Coffee with the Yoshimoto comedians appearing as businessmen in a regular company, and that ended up becoming a Saturday night comedy serial that ran for about 12 weeks. One guess as to what the theme song was.

Ulfuls' version had come out almost a couple of months before Re: Japan's take on it. It debuted at the No. 5 spot before staying at its highest position of No. 4 for 5 straight weeks. The single also went double platinum. Their video below has the boys helping out at a ryokan.


At the end of the year, the two units collaborated on a joint performance at the Kohaku Utagassen. (紅白歌合戦)。

I think at this time in Japan's history, a re-hash of this song wouldn't be a bad idea.

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