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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Takashi Hosokawa -- Oenka, Ikimasu (応援歌、いきます)

In the first month or so after I get an enka/kayokyoku singer's yearly compilation album, I'd typically just listen to the handful of songs that made me want to purchase the CD, then leave the rest for later discovery on days where I feel rather adventurous or just plain bored or both. Yesterday was one of those days. I got pretty bored listening to the same songs ad nauseam (Kiyoshi Maekawa, George Yamamoto, Haruo Minami, etc.), then I realised that I hadn't touched my Takashi Hosokawa (細川たかし) playlist in a while, and there were still a number of tracks out of the 16 from his 2015 compilation album I had yet to sample.

First one I picked was "Sado no Koi Uta" (佐渡の恋唄), which was decent, but it didn't make me any less bored. Next came "Oenka, Ikimasu", mostly because its title piqued my interest. Now this one finally got my lazy brain to start working again - Friday was a tiring day - since it was a lot faster in pace and more joyful than "Sado no Koi Uta". In terms of the music composed by Motoyoshi Iwasaki (岩崎元是), it seems to lean more to the genre of Pop than enka and, to me, it didn't sound like a song Hosokawa would sing, more specifically at the portions before the chorus. I actually kept envisioning a whole list of other enka singers who'd be a better fit for "Oenka, Ikimasu". However, with all the power-packed, Minyo-backed "Ah ah..." and "Ha...", I'd say Hosokawa made the song his own.

That Noh mask still makes my skin crawl...
While reading (and listening to) the lyrics penned by Shigesato Ito (糸井重里), one line that Hosokawa repeats a total of 7 times in the entire song managed to grab my attention:

Nama biru ga aru janai ka?

I think that translates to, "Is there any draught beer?" or, "Would you like some draught beer?" Either way, every time I hear it, I can't help but imagine Hosokawa starring in a Sapporo/Asahi beer commercial, wearing a sparkly suit with a bow tie - he looks weird with a necktie - and offering up a glass of the golden malt to the masses. Doing some research on "Oenka, Ikimasu" allowed me to find out that I wasn't too far off point in thinking that this cheerful tune would fit perfectly in a beer commercial since it did indeed star in one... not Sapporo or Asahi, but Kirin... Close enough!

On to the song's statistics. "Oenka, Ikimasu" was released on 1st May 1991 as Hosokawa's 38th single. The enka singer sang it twice on the Kohaku, in 1991, then only just last year in 2014, which was my first viewing of the year end competition. No wonder I found it so familiar, especially that "Nama biru" bit.

(Unfortunately, the karaoke video with Hosokawa has been taken down but here is another karaoke video.)

Here's the karaoke version with Hosokawa in it. In the later half when he faces the camera with that smile, it looks like he's in a beer commercial.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Yep, the song was indeed used in a beer commercial. I remember the line that you highlighted, and Japan is entering prime beer season. I think Itoi was probably the best guy to write the song since he was once a copywriter and who best to talk about the merits of the golden suds?


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