Notes For Selections From Seishun Uta Nenkan Senzen Hen 1 1928 - 1933
(Youth Song Almanac Pre-War Days Compilation 1)

Seishun Uta Kenkan is a series of compilations that collects music such as Ryuukouka, Kayoukyoku, and Enka, beginning with 1928 and continuing through the 1990s.

The following publications were used to gather information on the time period and songs featured:

Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz In Japan by E. Taylor Atkins, published by Duke University Press.

The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Volume VI: Asia and Oceania, Japan Chapter, written by Toru Mitsui.

"Sing Me a Song of Araby" and "My Blue Heaven": New Folksong, Hybridization and the Expansion of the Japanese Recording Industry in the Late 1920s by Toru Mitsui, published in Popular Music History, Vol 1, No 1 (2004).

The Mitsui articles are available in Galileo. Check with your public or school library to see if they have access to these articles.

Tokyo Koushinkyoku (Tokyo March) - Satou Chiyako
Originally released in May 1929

Tokyo Koushinkyoku's lyrics were written by Saijo Yaso, a poet and professor of French Literature at Waseda University, who "caricatured some scenes of "modern" Tokyo life" when writing the lyrics to the song (Mitsui, 137). Commissioned as the theme to a film based off a novel of the same name, Tokyo Koushinkyoku's lyrics are also notable for the use of many foreign loan words such as "jazz", "rush hour", and "cinema". Originally the song contained a reference to "long haired Marxist boys", however it was removed, officials feeling that it was a little too reflective of the times, as there had been mass arrest of communists in April 1929 (Atkins, 66). The song was banned from airplay on Japan's national radio network, which had already severely limited popular music programming in its broadcast schedule (Atkins, 66). The song went on to sell 250, 000 copies.
Satou Chiyako was trained in a conservatory before beginning her recording career.

Kimi Koshi (Yearing For You) - Futama Teiichi
Originally released in December 1928

The first successful song conceived and produced by a Japanese record company, Kimi Koshi was the first big hit of 1929, selling 200, 000 copies (Mitsui, 127).

Debune no Minato (Port of Outgoing Ships) - Fujiwara Yoshie
Originally released in February 1928

Debune no Minato was recored in Camden, New Jersery in January of 1928 (Mitsui, Song 67). It was released in America under the title "Sea Port". Fujiwara Yoshie was a bel canto tenor, first trained in the Asakusa Opera, and the son of a geisha and a Scottish expatriate (Mitsui, Song 68). This song is a representative of the shin minyo (new folk song) recordings that began to rise in popularity during this time.

Sumire no Hanasaku goro - Takarazuka Shoujo Kageki Tsuki Gumi Seito
(The Time When Violets Bloom, performed by the Takarazuka Female Opera, Moon Troupe Students)
Originally released in July of 1927

The Takarazuka Revue (as it is called now) was formed in 1913. A counterpart to the all male Kabuki, Takarazuka is an all female performance theatre known for elaborate productions. There are five troupes, each with their own speciality: Flower, Moon, Snow, Star, and Cosmos.

For more on the Takarazuka, start at the wikipedia entry. In addition, the book Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan by Jennifer Roberts and publish by University of California Press, may be of some interest.

Tokyo Ondo - Kouta Katsutarou and Mishima Issei
Originally released in July 1933

Kouta Katsutarou was the first geisha to become a popular recording artist (Mitsui, 138). Ondo is a style of Japanese folk Music.
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