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.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Itsuro Takeyama & Ryoko Fujiwara -- Tsuki yori no Shisha(月よりの使者)

"That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind."

Yup, it's the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20th 1969. I was actually around on that day but being so young, I couldn't remember the event.😞 Still, I've been able to see the video of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the Moon many times and uttering that famous declaration after which I got to watch the usually unflappable CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite have a rare loss of composure.

So, today in tribute to the great adventure of Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin Jr., I've decided to feature a few kayo or J-Pop tunes with the title of "tsuki" (moon). I've already got a few such songs up there over the years: a jazz standard-turned-anison theme, some bossa pop, an enka number by Noelle, a legendary anime heroine theme, and another romantic bossa-tinged ballad by a band from Hokkaido.

To start off, I'm going with an even older enka ballad from 1949 performed by the duo of Itsuro Takeyama(竹山逸郎)and Ryoko Fujiwara(藤原亮子)titled "Tsuki yori no Shisha" (Emissary from the Moon). This was the theme song of the second version of a movie of the same name. The movie was about a woman with a complicated past who tries to escape it by working as a devoted nurse in a Nagano Prefecture sanitarium on a highland where the patients become aware of her beauty and thus call her the title emissary from the Moon. And then comes that one special patient...

Written by Takao Saeki(佐伯孝夫)and composed by Shunichi Sasaki(佐々木俊一), "Tsuki yori no Shisha" has that gentle and wistful melody that could describe the pastoral life up in the mountains. What struck me was how both the voices of Takeyama and Fujiwara just sweep up in the first few notes of their singing as they relate the story of Nurse Nonoyama and Mr. Hirota.

It looks like the song has become one of those chestnuts to be covered over the decades. The above performance has Takeyama alongside Aiko Hirano(平野愛子)to perform "Tsuki yori no Shisha".

Then, we have original singer Fujiwara do a solo here.

Finally, singer/actress Chieko Baisho(倍賞千恵子)provided a more contemporary cover of "Tsuki yori no Shisha" which seems to take the song a little closer to Mood Kayo.

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