Welcome to the third episode of our new series ! ! ! This week we have another great variety of tracks from Japan dating from 1955 to 2013 so I am sure there will be something you like this week ! ! ! We have one of the biggest Stars in Japanese music history and bands that only the members mothers have heard about, so why not take a few minutes and join Mr P and I for . . . The Cs ! ! !
“C”, the last letter in the ABC, is often overlooked in favour of more popular letters like “P”. Here , however, we shine a little light on “C” and some of the bands that have chosen the letter as the initial of their names.
She Says: C is for Chiyoko Shimakura
Chiyoko Shimakura was on of the most popular singers in Japanese popular music in the post war era. She sings a genre of music known as Enka which is a basically ballads sung in a traditionally influenced style. We will look at Enka a little more later so I will not talk too much about it know.
Chiyoko Shimakura was hugely successful over a career of nearly 50 years and she won a place in the hearts of the Japanese public which really no other popular singer has been able to equal.
She was born in 1938. She was severely injured in 1945 in a bombing raid and although the doctor wanted to amputate her arm her mother insisted that he did not, and although the arm was saved she had problems with it for the rest of her life. As a result of this injury, she also contracted hepatitis which affected her health for the rest of her life.
Despite the hardships of her early life went on to have an inspiring career. Her career began when she won a singing competition for high school girls in 1954 and this resulted in a professional debut in 1955 with 2 million selling hit song Kono Yono Hana ( A Flower of this World ) This song was so popular that a film was made based on the song and Chiyoko Shimakura was given the co-star role.
She recorded more than 2,000 songs during her career and sold an astonishing 200 million records throughout her career. She is maybe most famous for her regular appearances on the Red and White song competition which is the traditional television program for families to watch on New Years Eve. She appeared 35 times on the show, more than anyone else, and also an incredible 30 times successively.
Sadly she did not enjoy a happy private life as she divorced after an unhappy marriage and could never have children and the death of her mother in 1972 deeply affected her.
She died last year after a long fight against liver cancer. I hope she can feel at ease and happy in the next world knowing she left so much great music and made so many people happy in this one.
I choose this clip as it my favourite track of hers and it is an opportunity to see her as a young woman. I hope you like it ! ! !
Chiyoko Shimakura – Kono Yono Hana ( A Flower of this World )
What a lovely song and what a sad tale. I think sometimes that we in the West forget the suffering the war years brought to the ordinary Japanese people.It makes me so sad to think of the madness of those years. Why can’t we all get along ? ( Except for Keith Smith from school, of course ( Name changed to protect the innocent) ).
He Says: C is for Cuppie Rumne
Just silly fun , really, which , at times, is just about all you should need, or expect from “Rock and Roll”.
Cuppie Rumne – Postman
Cuppie Rumne describe their music as Junk Pop, but i think that is just their sense of fun ! ! ! The duo
formed in 2005 in Tokyo, but I can not find any current information about them so I suppose they are resting. I love the “do it yourself” techno pop feel of their music and above all the sense of fun ! ! !
She Says: C is for Chatmonchy
Chatmonchy was originally a duo which was formed in 2002 by Hashimoto Eriko ( the singer ) and Fukuoka Akiko (the bass player ). They played as a duo for two years until in 2004 they were joined by Takahashi Kumiko who was actually a former high school classmate of Fukuoka Akiko.They released a self financed album in 2005 and sold it at concerts around their hometown. Eventually they received an offer of a record deal and went on to have great critical and commercial success.
They are well known for their indie rock style and often challenging themes and lyrics but they also make some really lovely and simple ballads and love songs.
In 2011 Takahashi Kumiko left the band on friendly terms and the other girls continued as a duo again, releasing a great album in 2012 called Henshin ( Transformation ).
Chatmonchy have never settled into a typical style or genre, they have always tried to explore new themes in their music, but they have always had a high emotional content in their songs.
I have choosen one of their simple love songs as these are less well known than some of their indie anthems. I hope you like it ! ! !
Chatmonchy – Bus Romance
I know the girls mainly for their rockier stuff, this is lovely. I really like the 50s, Doo Wop feel on this one. Great stuff.
He Says: C is for Crap
No, I can’t tell you much about crap either. This song appeared on a punk compilation and I have a CD by a band called The Crap but it doesn’t sound like the same group at all. Maybe they “progressed” ? Anyway I love this murky slice of agit-punk. A great “outsider” anthem.
Crap – Society
Gosh Mr P ! ! ! Where do you find these bands ? ? ? I can find nothing except some very confusing references when I try to google Crap ! ! ! However, I really love the track which is typical of the Japanese punk bands that there were in the late 1990 decade. But actually this track is much better than the typical bands of the time and has an energy and a genuine feeling of anger in it. I really enjoyed this discovery ! ! !
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Learn Japanese the Fun and Easy Way with P sensei’s word of the week ! ! !
Chuuchuunaku ちゅうちゅうな ~ To chirp or Twitter.
“Google me a Tweet !” Actually it’s not that kind of Twitter, it’s the kind the birdies make. You may recognise “chu” from Pikachu, a Pokemonical mouse thing ( or you may not, of course).
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We hope you enjoyed the Cs ! ! ! We had a lot of fun writing the post and I think there is a really wide selection fo tracks from different eras and styles. Next week . . . .
So there you have the “C”s. Some good tunes this week, I think, with great variety.I always learn something new too. How tough some of the ladies in the Japanese music industry are, for example.
Until next time. Sayonoree.