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, September 15, 2015

Ayako Fuji -- Reijin Sou (麗人草)

That's a nice kimono.

"Reijin Sou" was a nice way to end off last week's more than satisfactory episode of "Kayo Concert"; after about half an hour of heavy Mood Kayo, another enka beauty's recent single provided an unexpected but welcomed palate cleanser. Think of it like popping a complimentary mint into your mouth after a hearty meal, like beef stew... ... Ah, that just reminded me of the piping hot beef stew with rice and an omelet (not really omu-rice) I had years ago at this little restaurant outside the Shinagawa train station. It was the best thing to fill my stomach with after a tiring day of roaming around Tokyo in the chilly weather (we went there in December).

Alright, let's move on to the song itself before I make myself hungry again. The light and airy music to "Reijin Sou" and Ayako Fuji's (藤あや子) delicate vocal delivery gave me the image of spring and flowers in a field yielding to the gentle breeze, rather than that of a lonesome person having a drink at a bar or wandering through the neon-lit watering hole like your usual enka. And from it's style, it sounds like something the late Teresa Teng could have sung. The composer was Fuji herself under her pen name, Sai Kono (小野彩). It came as a little surprise as I did not know that she wrote songs, and she had put together songs for not only herself but for other singers as well. Penning the lyrics to "Reijin Sou" was lyricist Yasuteru Miura (三浦康照).

"Reijin Sou" was released as Fuji's 40th single on 26th August 2015 and it did fair on the charts - 18th on the enka-yo charts during the week it was released, and 118th on the regular one. Hmm, I thought it would do better, but oh well.

Fuji, born as Manami Fujimura (藤村真奈美) and a native of the Akita prefecture, has a background in Minyo - she started singing it at age 10 - and made her debut in the entertainment world in 1987 as Manami Sonsei (村勢真奈美) with the song "Futari Kawa" (ふたり川), two years after emerging victorious from NHK's "Kachinuki Kayo Tengoku" (勝ち抜き歌謡天国). Then in 1989, she changed her stage name to Ayako Fuji. Oh, and she won a beauty pageant organized by the Akita prefecture too (probably in her teens), so her title as one of the four enka beauties, which includes her best pal Fuyumi Sakamoto (坂本冬美), Natsuko Godai (伍代夏子), and Kaori Kozai (香西かおり), is not just for show.

Nope, still can't believe she's
a grandma, appearance-wise.

I remember when I first started to listen to enka, I couldn't stand the way Fuji sang with the reason being that it was too "enka" for my liking. But a more than a year down the road, her voice, which I now appreciate, pales in comparison to some others I had discovered along the way in terms of "enka-ness".

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Yeah, that was a fine show last week, and you're was nice to finish off with some enka after all that Mood Kayo. Good foodie analogy, too.

    "Reijin Sou" proved to make for a nice little shift away from the night lights of Ginza and Akasaka. I think this is definitely a song for the daytime away in some countryside temple somewhere.


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