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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ryuichi Sakamoto/Yellow Magic Orchestra -- The End of Asia

There was just a small clip of this song "The End of Asia" on "YMO Go Home!", one of Yellow Magic Orchestra's BEST compilations, so I didn't get a good feel for the song created by Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一). At the time, I had also acquired a VHS tape of the band's old music videos which included coverage of their tour through London, England, and although at the time I hadn't known it, "The End of Asia" was playing in the background.

I did want to get to know it better since it was the only song from YMO's early days that I hadn't really known. Getting down into the information, I found out that it was a track on Sakamoto's debut solo album, "Sen no Knife"(千のナイフ...Thousand Knives)from October 1978, so listening to it for the first time, "The End of Asia" just sounded like this pleasant little jaunt through various countries in the titular region whether it be Japan, China or Korea as related by a computer. There's a musical stroll through the town streets and then some breaks for lunch or tea.

Although "The End of Asia" was Sakamoto's baby, it was also played a fair bit at YMO concerts and would later find a place on the band's 4th album from June 1980, "Multiplies"(増殖). According to the J-Wiki article on the album, this version of "The End of Asia" had an even more Japanesque arrangement evoking "....images of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido and Hiroshige's Utagawa's ukiyo-e...". I'm not all that well versed in my Japanese art history but I didn't really pick up on any major differences in the arrangement between the YMO version and the original by Sakamoto. Still, both versions are fine with me and I'm glad that I could finally listen to the song.

Some very enterprising fellow decided to merge the two versions in the video above.

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