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, July 4, 2012

Yasuko Naito -- Roppongi Lullaby (六本木ララバイ)

I've always had a soft spot for songs that can be interpreted in different ways successfully. In kayo kyoku, "Roppongi Lullaby" fits that bill. Written and composed by Shiro Okada(岡田志郎)and Ed Yamaguchi(エド山口), the latter of whom was a musician/TV personality who also led an electric guitar band "Ed Yamaguchi & Tokyo Ventures", Yamaguchi came up with this karaoke standard, a loud and brassy tribute to the famous (& infamous) entertainment quarter in Tokyo.

First sung by husky-voiced Yasuko Naito(内藤やす子)in October 1984, another version has an old-style (perhaps 50s) R&B style with the saxophone as Naito kicks it up a notch (the video at the very top). The song also reminds me a bit of the more brassier examples of nightclub enka. To be honest, though, I enjoy the more languid and contemporary version here.

And then there is Ruiko Kurahashi's (倉橋ルイ子)version. For anyone who has heard this singer, either from this blog or elsewhere, Kurahashi definitely has a different voice when compared to Naito's pipes. She has a softer and more fragile delivery. And so, her version of "Roppongi Lullaby" is done almost like a gospel hymn, complete with pipe organ. I first heard this version on a Hong Kong tape back in the late 1980s, and just as much as Naito belts her take out of the park, Kurahashi quietly but powerfully delivers her version.

The video above though has the organ sounding a bit too much like something from "Monster Chiller Horror Theatre"which undercuts the overall performance. If you can, find the original Kurahashi version.

(October 27 2012: Looks like the powers-that-be have taken down the video. I've tried looking elsewhere for a link but to no avail. I'll keep on searching.)


  1. I thank you! I Have been trying to find this song for a long time. I will keep looking. I hope I can find it, such a beautiful song. I am also looking for the words to a song sung by Theresa teng, i have her singing in Chinese but would like it in Japanese. Also Olivia o kikinagara if you can find it, the words translated in english. Thank you once again for a nice web site.

    1. Hello, lisa lisa, and thanks for your comments. I'm pretty sure you will be able to find the Naito original since I believe her BEST compilations are out there at places like CD Japan or Amazon, and "Roppongi Lullaby" is one of her signature tunes.

      As for Teresa Teng, if you know the Japanese title of the song, perhaps it may already be under her name in the Labels section to the right.

      "Olivia wo Kikinagara" by Anri has already been profiled. I'll see about a translation.

    2. Lisa Lisa, if you already haven't found it, I have made a rough translation of "Olivia wo Kikinagara" at the very bottom of my article, so take a look at it.


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