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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kaguyahime -- Kandagawa (神田川)

I think when Japanese are asked about a folk song they remember, almost everyone will probably answer with this song. Kaguyahime(かぐや姫....Princess Kaguya)is arguably the most famous folk band that ever existed in Japan, and "Kandagawa" (The Kanda River) is their biggest hit. Kaguyahime, which was named after the classic 10th-century folktale of a moon princess found in a bamboo stalk as a baby, has had several reunions over the decades, but their first run was in the first half of the 1970s.

The song, released in September 1973, was written and composed by two members of the band, Makoto Kitajo( 喜多条忠)and Kosetsu Minami(南こうせつ)...the latter having sung it as well. In the lyrics, Minami portrays a woman who sings her soft admonitions to her boyfriend (reportedly Kitajo in his college days) while the two of them lived in a small ramshackle room by the Kanda River. It struck a chord with listeners as it stayed at No. 1 for a total of 7 weeks (from late October to late November, and then a cameo appearance in December). It also became the No. 6 song of the year and earned the band an appearance in that year's Kohaku Utagassen. It sold 1.6 million copies. The single also appears on the album "Kaguyahime Third", which had been released a couple of months earlier than the single.


  1. I like your blog - it looks well-written and informative :)

    As for this song, it's beautiful and sad. Sort of melancholy, I think. Anyhow, I was looking for a recording of this song featuring The Alfee - would you happen to have a link to it...?

    Regards from Wimbledon, London

  2. Hello, there and thanks for the comments. "Kandagawa" is definitely a song of humble beginnings. I try to keep a helpful establishment with the blog. I'm also quite curious about which kayo kyoku/J-Pop songs people from other countries enjoy.

    As for that Alfee song, would you happen to know the title of it or the year that it was released? I've got three up so far by the band: "Marie-Anne" "Koibito tachi no Pavement" and their Xmas song. Also, there is the band's website at
    If you can send me any clue about the song, please do so and I'll see if I can track it down.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.