September 9, 2010

「上を向いて歩こう(スキヤキ)」をアメリカに広めた人:Why Sukiyaki? Kyu Sakamoto's Ue O Muite Arukou Songfacts

A Newsweek columnist noted that the re-titling was like issuing "Moon River" in Japan under the title "Beef Stew. ニューズウィーク誌コラムニストは言った。この改題は「ムーン・リバー」を日本で「ビーフシチュー」と売り出すがごときものだと -Wikipedia

Why Sukiyaki Song? Its Japanese title is "Ue O Muite Aruko (I look up when I walk)."  Why?   I checked but couldn't find any reason other than 'it's short and easy to remember' or 'it was Louis Benjamin's favorite Japanese cuisine.'  Instead, I found that the Japanese version was first introduced to the US through a radio station in Pasco.  Below you see the DJ who aired it there.  He's quoted here as saying "he got Sakamoto's original record disc from his highschool listener who called him to tell that s/he's got the same tune as the English cover version from Japanese pen pal."  But according to Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto Songfacts, it was a daughter of Japan Airlines pilot who brought the record back from Japan. 
Marsha Cunningham explains:
"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!" (thanks, Marsha - Los Angeles, CA)

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

そういえばなんで坂本九の「上を向いて歩こう」は「スキヤキ」なんだろう? 調べてみたけど「短くて発音し易い」、「イギリスのレコード会社社長の好物。日本でスキヤキ食べてる時にこの歌が流れた」という以外、特に理由らしい理由はなかったのだが、「え?」と思ったのがこちらのこの記述だ。




広まった経緯については、ロサンゼルスのMarsha Cunninghamさんが教えてくれた。



In America, disc jockey Rich Osborne of station KORD in Pasco, Washington, 
got hold of Sakamoto's original version and played it on his evening show
これが坂本の歌を流したDJリック・オズボーン (c) 上を向いて歩こう(スキヤキ)


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