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.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Takayuki Inoue Band -- Theme from "Taiyo ni Hoero"(太陽にほえろ)

One of the mainstays on Japanese TV in the 60s-80s was the cop show. And probably the most famous one of all was "Taiyo ni Hoero"(Bark at the Sun) starring Yujiro Ishihara(石原裕次郎) as the shibui leader of an elite police squad in Tokyo. The show ran from 1972 to 1986, and its cast of almost entirely men ran.....and ran.....and ran.....and ran. Plus, they probably fired off more bullets in one show than the real Tokyo police did in 20 years (remember, Tokyo is a city in which if a cop's bullet is fired at all [it doesn't even have to hit the perp], it becomes the top story on the news). The show reminds me a lot of the original "Hawaii Five-O" with Jack Lord which preceded "Taiyo" by only a few years and also had a very long run.

I wish I could have found the original opening credits scene....but I'll settle with the title card...and the theme, of course, which is probably one of the most famous in Japanese television history. It's been used in a lot of other TV shows for effect; in fact, the first time I heard it was on a parody skit done on the Drifters' comedy-variety hour, "Hachi-ji Da Yo! Zen'in Shuugo!"8時だよ!全員集合!...It's 8 O'Clock! Everybody Get Together!)where the comedians were doing their own version of the cop show....without pants. But I can say that I have also actually seen a few episodes of the series itself.

On English Wikipedia, the theme song was described as being "mariachi-like..." Not quite sure if I agree with that description; I think the song is more a funk-rock ode to life in the big city. You just get that urge to smoke a cigarette when you hear it. In any case, the song was composed by Katsuo Ono(大野克夫), a former member of the Group Sounds band, The Spiders (whose work is already profiled), and it was performed by the Takayuki Inoue Band(井上堯之バンド), composed of members from The Spiders and early 70s supergroup PYG, in itself composed of the remaining members from the other Group Sounds bands, including The Spiders and The Tigers.

The above is a commercial parody of the original series for BOSS Iced Coffee, but if you look carefully, you may recognize a fellow who's just been nominated for a Best Supporting Oscar. I think he should get the Oscar right now for just performing in a Japanese commercial.


  1. Thanks for this awesome post on 太陽にほえろ! J-Canuck. I'm a huge fan of 70s-80s 刑事ドラマ and absolutely love this series! I don't have the entire series on DVD but I do have something just as good - 太陽にほえろ!誕生35周年記念DVD 太陽にほえろ!七曲署ヒストリー 1972-1987 オープニング・タイトル+全予告編コレクション It's fun to see how the series evolved and the ever changing cast. 太陽にほえろ! was well know for having sensational and tragic death scenes for its heroic cop characters. Probably the most famous one was the death of 松田優作's ジーパン刑事 character (all the cops had colorful nicknames). Some of the other cop shows that I like are Gメン'75, 西部警察, 特捜最前線, プレイガール (technical not a cop show) and 大激闘マッドポリス'80 / 特命刑事. Not a big fan of the current cop shows but do like アンフェア, BOSS and the ハンチョウ 神南署安積班 series.

  2. Always a pleasure, JTM. I'm impressed that you enjoy old Japanese TV police shows so much. If I'm not mistaken, didn't Akira Terao's character also die in the line of duty?...he looked like a cool geek in those sunglasses.

    I have seen Seibu Keisatsu a number of times, and know the opening for G Men 75. There was also a 60s cop show that I've seen once: The Guardmen...about an elite squad of Japanese police officers that seem to protect foreign diplomats everywhere.

    Since I've already mentioned it in the blog, I've enjoyed Odoru Dai Sosasen and its theme. Haven't heard any themes since then for a cop show that are worthy of mention, although I did see Arisa Mizuki's "Answer" on TV Japan recently.


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