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, January 20, 2016

Mina Aoe -- Ikebukuro no Yoru (池袋の夜)

As many people who have lived in Tokyo will attest, the megalopolis has a number of city centres. Shibuya is the Mecca of Youth, Akihabara is the Electronics Haven and Shinjuku has got that split personality of tall skyscrapers and tightly packed bars and red-light establishments. Ikebukuro, though, is that amalgam of city centres that could just be an overall downtown, albeit a fairly dense one. It has the youth, it has the electronics stores and it has that one big tower in the form of Sunshine City 60 plus its fair share of seedy bars. I've visited the area as much as I have the other centres and I think I can say that Ikebukuro comes across the jack of all trades compared to the specialists of Shibuya and Akiba. It's got a bit of everything.

Therefore, I cannot be surprised that this hustling and bustling area also has a kayo in tribute to it, and it's done by the husky-voiced lady of class, Mina Aoe(青江三奈). "Ikebukuro no Yoru" (A Night in Ikebukuro), Aoe's 16th single from July 1969, has lyrics by Shizuo Yoshikawa(吉川静夫)which go over the usual pining over a lost love affair in the particular area.  However the music by Masanobu Tokuchi(渡久地政信)has more of an enka feeling than a Mood Kayo one although I can still envisage Aoe crooning away in some smoke-filled bar somewhere between JR Ikebukuro Station and Sunshine City 60.

"Ikebukuro no Yoru" became Aoe's biggest hit, selling over a million records and spending 6 straight weeks at No. 1. It would later become the 7th-ranked song for 1969 and it had enough push to even become the 30th-ranked song for 1970. Not surprisingly, it earned a spot for the singer on the 1969 Kohaku Utagassen as the top batter and also a Japan Record Award.

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