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, May 26, 2019

Machiko Sanjo/Hachiro Kasuga -- Karisome no Koi (かりそめの恋)

According to my Academic Composition lecturer, Tuesday is his favourite day of the week. I'm not sure why, but I'll just leave it as that. Ordinarily, for obvious reasons, my favourite day of the week would be either Friday or Saturday, with Tuesdays coming up in the rank when singers I love show up on "Uta Kon". However, the second day of the week has now surpassed the fifth for a number of reasons: 1. I've got no classes on Wednesdays. 2. It's my after-school club day! For some reason, the club members seem to have an average age of at least 65, though I think I might've reduced it a notch...

Hachi's version

Anyway, we'll get back to my Tuesday escapades in a bit. For now, the song I'll be featuring in this article is "Karisome no Koi" (Transient Love). Having found Hachiro Kasuga's (春日八郎) aMAzing rendition quite by accident on YouTube, this mellow Mood Kayo-like ballad featuring Ginza has been one of my "Flavors of the month" for the past few months. I enjoy the rather swanky-sounding melody (because Ginza) with its jaunty rhythm, jazzy horns and strings. And its made even better with Hachi's soft crooning. While the song is sung in the perspective of a woman yearning to find love in Tokyo's fancy, neon-lit district, I must say that Kasuga manages to convey that very feeling to a T... I just love it when his voice flutters delicately when he lightly touches the higher notes. If the video hadn't specified the song's debut year and that this was a cover, I would have assumed that this was one of his own works. But, the one actually behind the original take from way back in 1949 was Machiko Sanjo (三條町子). Kasuga's one can be found in his 1977 cover album, "Nihon no Uta Meiji Taisho Showa Hayari Uta" (日本の歌 明治・大正・昭和はやりうた).

The original version

Sanjo's name is not one I had seen before in the world of ryukoka, and neither had I come across "Karisome no Koi" until I found Hachi's version, so this tune seemed to me more on the "underground" side. And that was why, just this Tuesday, I had asked the joint's regular, Grandpa 2, whom I've now decided to nickname Shiro Jiisan (Grandpa White), if he knew it. You see, Shiro-san has a vast reservoir of tunes in that white hair-capped head of his which makes what I know look like a tiny bucket of water in comparison, so I was keen to find out where the boundary was. I was ready to recommend it in the oft chance it was uncharted territory, but, of course, it was on his map.

My Japanese is still half-past-all-the-numbers-on-the-clock-face, so somewhere along the way of posing the aforementioned question, Shiro-san interpreted that I wanted him to sing "Karisome no Koi" for me, and so he did. Unfortunately, he blanked out at the start as he'd forgotten how it went, so I stepped in to sing it with him... even though I had never sung the song either. The impromptu duet turned out OK - I think - and I did find it equal parts funny and nice, considering how the reserved fellow so readily dived into a song I brought up. 10/10 would sing it with him again. He amuses me.

Coming back from my tangent, after looking up information on Sanjo, I found out that "Karisome no Koi" was not as "underground" as I had thought since it was her biggest and breakout hit, and she'd even sang it on the 2nd installment of the Kohaku in 1952. Perhaps why I hadn't heard of her prior was due to her retiring in the 50s or 60s (the J-Wiki's not clear on that) after getting married, but she seemed to float in and out of the music scene after the fact - transient, just like the love in her song. I'm sorry, I had to, and it's been ages since I made some lousy music-based pun anyways.

Not Ginza, but it's got the song's vibe.

P.S. I think the only way I can beat Shiro-san at the music game is to bring in names like Kiyoshi Hikawa (氷川きよし) to the table... Eh, but that seems a little unfair to the septuagenarian, and it kinda takes away the challenge (on my part). Time to pull out the Hachi and Haru-san gems.


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    Looks like you've got your comrade-in-arms with Shiro Jiisan.:)

    For me, I think I prefer Kasuga's cover with all due respect to Sanjo. Sanjo's original is fine (seems like more of an afternoon traipse on one of the Ginza side streets) but Kasuga definitely puts the song in its element...which is nighttime with all of the bright signs and neon.

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      Yep, looks like I do. He's a nice presence to be around and is a good duet partner, but admittedly trying to understand a mild form of jiisan speak is a little challenging.


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