2008-02-15

Akihiro Miwa - Yoitomake's song

Japan Probe showed the ranking of photos that older Japanese people take with cameras on their cellphones. Akihiro Miwa's picture was ranked 5th in the survey. They say it's lucky to have his picture. Who is Akihiro Miwa?

Akihiro Miwa (1935- ) is a transvestic celebrity in Japan. He started his carrier as a professional cabaret singer in the 1950s. It is said that in those days Yukio Mishima told to Akihiro Miwa: "You only have one flaw. That you don't love me."

While he was very popular in the 1950s, people soon lost interest in him. By the early 1960s, he was an almost forgotten singer. Anyway, he continued shows in suburban cabaret. Japan was still a poor country in the 1960s. He was distressed in those days, asking himself: "What am I doing wearing gaudy dresses taking money from poor people? Am I just a clown wearing peacock-like costumes?" One day, he wrote rylics for poor laborers based on his own experience in his childhood. Putting a melody to them, he started to sing the song wearing plain clothes. His song touched the audience's heart and moved them to tears every time he sang the song. The song became a smash hit in 1966. After that, he returned to the major stages in show business.

Title of the song is "Yoitomake's song". The word Yoitomake that is not used today was a slang for day laborers or navvies that was often used as a derogatory term. The following is the rylics of the song.

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ヨイトマケの唄 / Yoitomake's song

父ちゃんのためなら えんやこら /For the sake of my husband, ENYAKORA!*
母ちゃんのためなら えんやこら /For the sake of my wife, ENYAKORA!
もひとつおまけに えんやこら /One more time additionally, ENYAKORA!

*) "Enyakora!" is a shout that laborers make when they pull or push heavy loads.

今も聞こえる ヨイトマケの唄 / I can still hear Yoitomake's song.
今も聞こえる あの子守唄 /I can still hear that lullaby.

工事現場の昼休み /During the lunch time in a construction site,
たばこふかして 目を閉じりゃ /When I close my eyes, smoking a cigarette,
聞こえてくるよ あの唄が /I can hear that song,
働く土方の あの唄が /That song of muscular laborers,
貧しい土方の あの唄が /That song of poor laborers.

子供の頃に小学校で /When I was a child, in a school,
ヨイトマケの子供 きたない子供と /"Yoitomake's son! Dirty child!"
いじめぬかれて はやされて /So I was bullied. I was teased.
くやし涙にくれながら /Shedding tears in my mortification,
泣いて帰った道すがら /I returned home crying. On the way home,
母ちゃんの働くとこを見た /I saw my mom working.
母ちゃんの働くとこを見た /I saw my mom working.

姉さんかぶりで 泥にまみれて /Covering her head with a scarf, getting muddy,
日にやけながら 汗を流して /Being burned by the sun, being drenched in sweat,
男に混じって ツナを引き /With male navvies, she was pulling a rope.
天に向かって 声をあげて /Letting her voice out toward the sky,
力の限り 唄ってた /She was singing a song at the top of her voice.
母ちゃんの働くとこを見た /I saw my mom working.
母ちゃんの働くとこを見た /I saw my mom working.

慰めてもらおう 抱いてもらおうと /Wishing to be consoled and hugged by my mom,
息をはずませ 帰ってはきたが /I was returning home, but
母ちゃんの姿 見たときに /When I saw my mom,
泣いた涙も忘れ果て /I forgot that I was crying.
帰っていったよ 学校へ /I returned to the school,
勉強するよと言いながら /Muttering "I'll study hard in the school."
勉強するよと言いながら /Muttering "I'll study hard in the school."

あれから何年たった事だろう /How many years has it passed after that?
高校も出たし大学も出た /I graduated high school and finished collage.
今じゃ機械の世の中で /Now, it's an age of machinery.
おまけに僕はエンジニア /Moreover I am an engineer.
苦労苦労で死んでった /You lived and died in hardships.
母ちゃん見てくれ この姿 /Please see my present status, mom.
母ちゃん見てくれ この姿 /Please see my present status, mom.

何度も僕もぐれかけたけど /I almost went astray many times, but
やくざな道は踏まずに済んだ /I fotunately didn't fall into evil ways.
どんなきれいな唄よりも /More than any other beautiful songs,
どんなきれいな声よりも /More than any other beautiful voices,
僕を励ましなぐさめた /That song encouraged and consoled me.
母ちゃんの唄こそ 世界一 /My mom's song is indeed the best in the world.
母ちゃんの唄こそ 世界一 /My mom's song is indeed the best in the world.

今も聞こえる ヨイトマケの唄 /I can still hear the Yoitomake's song.
今も聞こえる あの子守唄 /I can still hear that lullaby.

父ちゃんのためなら えんやこら /For the sake of my husband, ENYAKORA!
子供のためなら えんやこら /For the sake of my children, ENYAKORA!

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I believe this song encouraged many people in the 1960s helping the start of the rapid economic growth of Japan afterward.


(HT to ganbaganba)

You can also watch his performance in the 1950s that Mishima loved here on Youtube.

1 comments:

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