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An Undying Masterpiece in Japan
“Ue Wo Muite Arukou”By Sakamoto Kyu
Date:18, Aug, 2011
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
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After W.W.2, music in Japan has developed as pop music (J-POP), following western countries. Countless tunes have appeared, been popular and disappeared. Among them, there has been a song which has been succeeded in crossing many generations with its unbelievable life force. The song is Ue Wo Muite Arukou (Look up in walking) by Sakamoto Kyu, that appeared 50 years ago.

The single photo released in 1961
15.Oct.of 1961 originally released

Lyrics written by Ei Rokusuke
Music composed by Nakamura Hachidai

B-side: Anoko-no-namae-wa-nantenkana
Sakamoto Kyu was a late actor and singer in Japan. He became a guitarist of the Drifters, a band in Japan, in 1958 and made debut as a solo singer after that. They say he had longing for rockers overseas, for instance Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly, when he was a teenager.

Kyu published a single in Oct. of 1961. It was Ue Wo Muite Arukou. The song kept monopolizing No.1 on the home hit chart during 3 months, from Nov. 1961 to Jan. 1962. And it became popular also among European states in 1962. The song title was changed into“SUKIYAKI”in UK, but the song kept becoming more and more popular overseas like France, Holland and so on. By the way, lyrics on the song are not related to Sukiyaki at all. The song moreover got to be very popular also in USA in 1963, from an introduction on an American radio program. It kept becoming No.1 on Billboard chart, a famous chart, during three weeks. No Japanese or Asian had made the record. The popularity is not dead even now; it has kept being loved and hit in UK, Argentina and the like.

The single photo in 2011
13.July of 2011 released

Coupling with
2. Hitori-bocchi-no-futari
3. Miagetegoran-yoru-no-hoshi-wo
4. Tomodachi
5. Ue-wo-muite-arukou (instrumental)
The song has been a big hit and 13 millions sold. And the vocal on“Ue Wo Muite Arukou”also impresses us with a bit of the unique since Kyu’s vocal was greatly influenced by popular rock singers abroad as mentioned above. Considering now, he might be a pioneer in vocalization of Japanese rock.

Charm of the song does not fade even in 2011. A lot of singers have kept covering. “Ue Wo Muite Arukou”is decided to be newly released as a single again in July of 2011 celebrating the fiftieth anniversary year of the appearance of the song. Wondering if that is by a request of the time or the song contains something so ordinary for people over generations. That would also prove it has been an important masterpiece in Japanese music.

-Thanks to EMI MUSIC JAPAN INC.-





 

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