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.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hibari Misora -- Yawara (柔)

This was another one of the big hits for the Grande Dame of kayo kyoku, Hibari Misora(美空ひばり). Released in October 1964, the timing was very auspicious since the Tokyo Olympics were held at this time. However, "Yawara" (Flexibility) was the theme song for a NTV drama of the same title. The drama dealt with the martial art of judo, 柔道、which literally translates as "the flexible way".

By the next year, Misora's muscular way of singing "Yawara" and its tenuous connection with the 1964 Olympics helped the song become a monster hit with listeners. It sold 1.8 million records, and Misora sang the song not only on the 1964 Kohaku but also on the show in 1965 as well. And it earned the Grand Prize at the Japan Record Awards. Although in the video below, she is dressed in a flashy gown, she often sang "Yawara" in male dress as well.

The song was written by Shinichi Sekizawa(関沢新一) who was also a screenwriter for a number of monster movies such as "Mothra" and "Godzilla vs. King Kong"! The composer was Masao Koga(古賀政男).

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