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, July 10, 2012

Takuro Yoshida -- Kekkon Shiyo yo (結婚しようよ)

If his write-up on J-Wiki is of any indication, Takuro Yoshida(吉田拓郎) has left a huge footprint on kayo kyoku. Trying to mow through all the kanji left me exhausted so let me just work on one of his most famous songs, "Kekkon Shiyo yo"(Let's Get Married).

To be honest, I only got to know Yoshida because of his regular appearances on an old Kinki Kids variety program which went from 1996 to 2001, "Love Love Aishiteiru"(LOVE LOVE あいしている....Love Love I Love You). I used to watch it every Saturday on Fuji-TV from 11:30 p.m., and it was basically a very loosey-goosey show with the Domoto boys of the Kinki Kids (one of the many Johnny's Entertainment configurations) acting as hosts and interviewers for the guest of the week while an all-star J-Pop crew, which included Yoshida, provided the music. Yoshida was the stone-faced middle-aged straight man who usually suffered the boys somewhat gladly, as he was often teased for his Sphinx-like haircut when he was singing in the 1970s.

But that was the image of the Japanese folk singer-songwriter back then: shaggy shoulder-length hair, T-shirt, bell-bottom jeans and a guitar slung over. But before Yoshida came up with the light and happy "Kekkon Shiyo yo", he was known as a singer of protest songs. So it was with some surprise that he released this tune, his 4th single, in January 1972. His lyrics talk about a guy asking a girl to marry him when both their hair reaches their shoulders, when they see a white chapel and when the sun peeks through the clouds. There is no mention of limousines, tuxedos or huge wedding halls with buffets; he talks just of grabbing some friends and enjoying the special day together. His song really hit a chord with the young folks, as was the case in this concert video.

The arrangement is breezy and bouncy as if the happy couple were just skipping over to the church on time. With the accordion in there, it almost sounds like zydeco. The song made it as high as No. 3 on the Oricon charts and sold 300,000 records which signified a big hit. Probably it is still played at wedding parties all over Japan.

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