Long time I did not hear this song until tonight

The song reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the United States in 1963, and remains the only Japanese-language song ever to have done so. In addition, it was and still is one of the few non-English songs, other than Italian, French, Spanish, and German, to have reached the top of the US charts.

It is one of the best-selling singles of all time, having sold over 13 million copies worldwide. The original Kyu Sakamoto recording also went to number eighteen on the R&B chart. In addition, the single spent five weeks at number one on the Middle of the Road charts. The recording was originally released in Japan by Toshiba in 1961.

It topped the Popular Music Selling Record chart in the Japanese magazine Music Life for three months, and was ranked as the number one song of 1961 in Japan.

The lyrics tell the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears will not fall. The verses of the song describe his memories and feelings. Rokusuke Ei wrote this song while coming back from a protest against the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan and feeling dejected about the failure of the protest movement, but the lyrics were rendered purposefully generic so that they might refer to any lost love.

The English-language lyrics of the version recorded by A Taste of Honey are not a translation of the original Japanese lyrics, but instead a completely different set of lyrics arranged to the same basic melody.


The title Sukiyaki, a Japanese hot pot dish, actually has nothing to do with the lyrics or the meaning of the song; the word served the purpose only because it was short, catchy, recognizably Japanese, and more familiar to most English speakers. A Newsweek Magazine columnist noted that the re-titling was like issuing "Moon River" in Japan under the title "Beef Stew." (Wikipedia)

Amral posted:

The song reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the United States in 1963, and remains the only Japanese-language song ever to have done so. In addition, it was and still is one of the few non-English songs, other than Italian, French, Spanish, and German, to have reached the top of the US charts.

It is one of the best-selling singles of all time, having sold over 13 million copies worldwide. The original Kyu Sakamoto recording also went to number eighteen on the R&B chart. In addition, the single spent five weeks at number one on the Middle of the Road charts. The recording was originally released in Japan by Toshiba in 1961.

It topped the Popular Music Selling Record chart in the Japanese magazine Music Life for three months, and was ranked as the number one song of 1961 in Japan.

The lyrics tell the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears will not fall. The verses of the song describe his memories and feelings. Rokusuke Ei wrote this song while coming back from a protest against the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan and feeling dejected about the failure of the protest movement, but the lyrics were rendered purposefully generic so that they might refer to any lost love.

The English-language lyrics of the version recorded by A Taste of Honey are not a translation of the original Japanese lyrics, but instead a completely different set of lyrics arranged to the same basic melody.


The title Sukiyaki, a Japanese hot pot dish, actually has nothing to do with the lyrics or the meaning of the song; the word served the purpose only because it was short, catchy, recognizably Japanese, and more familiar to most English speakers. A Newsweek Magazine columnist noted that the re-titling was like issuing "Moon River" in Japan under the title "Beef Stew." (Wikipedia)

The song was written by composer Hachidai Nakamura and lyricist Rokusuke Ei (allegedly after actress Meiko Nakamura had left him), and named Ue o muite aruko (sometimes rendered as Ue wo muite arukou), meaning "I shall walk looking up". It is about a man reminiscing on his lost love, and keeping his head to the sky to keep the tears from falling. It was sung by rising young star Kyu Sakamoto, at a time when kayokyoku (Western-influenced pop and rock) was rapidly becoming more popular in Japan. I've included the lyrics and their translation below; I think you'll agree that it's a beautifully written song.

 

http://eurasian-sensation.blog...f-song-sukiyaki.html

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Published on Feb 3, 2014

Lyrics:
Let's look up as we walk, so that the tears don't spill
Remembering that spring day, that lonely night.
Let's look up as we walk, count the blurry stars
Remembering that summer day, that lonely night.

Happiness is above the clouds,
Happiness is above the skies.
Let's look up as we walk, so that the tears don't spill
Crying as we walk, that lonely night.
Remembering that autumn day, that lonely night.

Sadness is in the shadow of the clouds,
Sadness is in the shadow of the moon.
Let's walk with our head held up so that the tears don't spill,
Crying as we walk, that lonely night.


This song has a remarkable story - it's a Japanese hit that became wildly popular in America despite Japanese lyrics that hardly anyone in the US could understand. Kyu Sakamoto was a star in Japan as both an actor and a singer, and this song, known in his country as "Ue O Muite Aruko," was a #1 hit there in 1961.

Sometime in 1962, a British music executive named Louis Benjamin heard the song when he was traveling in Japan, and he had his group Kenny Ball & his Jazzmen record an instrumental version that made it to #10 on the UK charts. Benjamin renamed the song "Sukiyaki" after a Japanese food he enjoyed - a one-pot dish made with sliced beef, tofu, noodles and vegetables.

The song made it to America when a disk jockey in Washington state heard the British version, and started playing the original by Sakamoto. He used the title "Sukiyaki," which was much more palatable to Americans than "Ue O Muite Aruko," and requests started pouring in for the song. Capitol Records obtained the American rights to the song and released it stateside, where it went to #1 on the Hot 100 for 3 weeks and also held the top spot on the Adult Contemporary chart for 5 weeks.

So how did this American disc jockey get a copy of the original song? Marsha Cunningham gave us the answer. She explained to us:
"In 1961-2 I was a high school student at The American School In Japan, living in Zushi, Japan. My dad was a pilot for Japan Airlines. While enjoying a Japanese movie staring Kyu Sakamoto, I heard the most unbelievably beautiful song. I purchased the record at a local shop and brought it back to the states the next year when I attended a girl's boarding school in Sierra Madre, CA. I played it in the dormitory frequently; everyone liked it. One girl took my record home with her on the weekend so her dad could play it on his radio station, and the rest is history!"

The Japanese lyrics are about sadness and isolation; the original title means "I look up when I walk."

The R&B group 4 P.M. (For Positive Music) covered this in 1995 with the same English lyrics that A Taste Of Honey used. Their version went to #8 in the US.
This is the only song by a Japanese artist, and the only song with lyrics entirely in Japanese, to hit #1 in the United States.
This isn't the first foreign language song to hit #1 in America - that would be "Nel Blu, Dipinto di Blu (Volare)" by Domenico Modugno in 1958. That one was in Italian and kept at least part of the original title.
Slick Rick boosted the chorus from the A Taste Of Honey version for an interlude in "La Di Da Di," his 1985 song with Doug E. Fresh.

Kyu Sakamoto was one of 520 people who died in a Japan Airlines crash in 1985. He was 43.

PLEASE, READ THIS: All rights reserved to the production companies and music labels that distributed and produced the music and performance respectively. I've only added the footage as a tribute for historical, entertainment, and creative purposes with no financial gain. Copyright infringement not intended.

https://youtu.be/VAPKokakxAc

whoooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

yes, brings back memories of my pre-teen yrs...there was a family with lots of teenagers and dem gurls used to blast the music and rock steady to this song

of course we did not have a record player

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