Monday, April 23, 2012

More Songs from 1950s Japan (and Japan's 1st Ever Music Video?) - Vol. 2

Yesterday's time trip to 1950's Japan was such a smash hit that, in Japanese tradition, it's time to release a volume two! I am often surprised by how, in Japan, an artist will be popular for just a few years (present stars in this article excluded) and then a greatest hits album will be released! How do they do that? I've seen artists that were popular for just two or three years (I'm reminded of the Barbee Boys of the 1980s) and released 5 albums in that time and, when their popularity sinks, they release a greatest hits album (which is usually a sign in Japan that they are no longer popular and at the end of their career - well, at least on the charts!)

Shizuko Kasagi

Well that's totally different than today's first artist up. Her name is Shizuko Kasagi and she was known as Japan's "Queen of Boogie" music in the 1950s. So popular was she that there is actually a theatrical show named for her and depicts her life! I found this particular video as it is from a movie and it could be japan's very first music "video"? Where was MTV Japan in 1950???!!! This song is called "Kaimono Boogie" which is very prescient for post war Japan as it translates into, "Shopping Boogie." (There's some awesome old radios at about 2:50 into the video!)

There was a girl in the late 1950s and early 60s who used to sing with lots of different artists and she had a string of massive sellers. Her name was Sachiko Tama.

Sachiko Tama and Hiroshi Wada and the Mahina Stars

The jacket above is one song she did with this next group but I'd like to introduce what was their biggest hit. This song was a monster hit in 1961 in Japan. It is still a favorite on TV shows and is covered by many artists even today and still sung in every Karaoke club in Japan nightly. It's Sachiko Tama and Hiroshi Wada with the Mahina Stars and the song is entitled, "Kita Kami Ya Kyoku."

Next, hard to believe... It was just like yesterday that I was born... 1957 (Stop that booing!) This next song is not from then but 1958.

Kazuo Shirane... The left photo from the late 50s with a definite Elvis Presley thing going

It's Kazuo Shirane and "Seishun wa Kumo no Kanata ni" (Youth is Beyond the Clouds)... I think this is a song about how the young people of Japan died in the war... (Lots of Enka songs are about sad things and life's struggles - especially if they are from the era just after World War II).

Finally, Japan was royally messed up after the war, of course, and music was one of the small pleasures in life. One of the best and most favored artists immediately after the war was Akiko Futaba.

Akiko Futaba

This is her smash hit song from 1948 entitled, "Yuume Yo Mou Ichido" (I want to Dream Again).

That's all for now! Have a great day! Hug your wife and kids!

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