Japanese Folk Music Festival to showcase people’s songs in modern Japan, Nov 14

Sato Matsutoyo Portrate

Sato Matsutoyo (Courtesy of the artist)

Cultural News, 2010 October Issue

To celebrate its 45th anniversary, the Matsutoyo Kai, leading Japanese folk music (Minyo) association in Los Angeles and San Francisco led by Mme. Matsutoyo Sato, will present Japanese Folk Music Festival with guest artist Kosugi Makiko of Japan on Sunday, November 14, at 1:00 pm at the James Armstrong Theatre, 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance, CA 90503.

Tickets are $20. For tickets, call Matsutoyo Kai at (310) 538-0334 or the box office at (310) 781-7171 or email MarisaKosugi@hotmail.com.

The festival will feature King Record artist Makiko Kosugi of Japan. Mme. Kosugi made her first debut with Victor Record in 1966 with “Sadoo Okesa,” a Japanese folk music from Niigata prefecture which is her hometown ‘Furusato.’

Mme. Kosugi became very popular Minyo singer in Japan and performed overseas, such as, England, France, the U.S. and other contries. In 1993, she went to King Record and recorded many songs of Minyo and Japanese Pops’ for CDs.  In 2003, she received the Minyo Gino Award from the Japan Minyo Associations for her dedication in sharing Minyo for decades.

The Japanese Folk Music Festival on Nov. 14 will showcase people’s song through out the country in modern Japan. The programs are following:

Matsutoyo Kai Shamisen Stage

The Matsutoyo Kai, leading Japanese folk music (Minyo) association in California, will mark the 45th anniversary by presenting the Japanese Folk Music Festival on Nov 14 at Torrance. (Courtesy of the Matsutoyo Kai)

Performed by the Matsutoyo Kai

Shoju Sambaso: The song expresses the wish for everyone’s longevity and happiness with the word that symbolizes longevity, “Matsu” (pine).

Kumamoto Jitensha Bushi: This song was composed when bicycles became available for the public’s daily life. People’s excitement and their joy in riding the bicycle are expressed in the Kumamoto dialect in this song.

Kuroishi Yosare Bushi: Kuroishi in Aomori prefecture is the originating place of the Yosare singing style. The song describes the beautiful town of Kuroishi as well as introducing its natural resources – rice, apples, etc.

Taisho Koto Performance (The first taisho koto was built by Goro Morita in 1912 in Nogoya. The term Taisho refers to the throne of the Taisho Emperor of Japan from 1912-26; while the term koto refers to it being a stringed instrument) Names of song: Momiji (Beautiful Maple Leaves) and Furusato (My hometown).

Donan Bon Uta: This song is sung at the bon-odori in Kameda, Hokkaido, and describes how joyful it is to dance bon-odori together with everyone.

Katchiri Bushi: Joyful Katchiri Bushi to introduce the beautiful, unique city of Hakata in Fukuoka prefecture.

Nagoya Jinku: A song from Aichi prefecture which became very popular in the Meiji era (1868-1912). The song is about their famous bridge in Atsuta City.

Yamanaka Bushi: A song from the Yamanaka Onsen (hot spring) area in Ishikawa prefecture.  It says that visitors come to the town, enjoy the stay, and leave with each one’s special thoughts and remembrances.

Oedo Nihonbashi: This song takes you on a journey from Nihonbashi bridge in Edo, the old name of Tokyo, capital of Japan, traveling through many well known towns along the Tokaido 53-Station Road and describing how they were in the olden days.

Tawaratsumi Uta (Stacking Rice Sacks) is from Aomori prefecture. The song gives thanks to the gods for a good harvest. This song is often sung at celebrations especially during the New Year season.

Uenimo Haru: The coming of spring to the plum tree is described in this ode, or hauta. This hauta sings about the coming of the joyful,  long-awaited warm spring to the plum trees and natural landscape.

Harusame (Spring Rain) is another hauta. It says that spring rain is the sign of a new season. The first flower to bloom are the pretty little plum blossoms, which bring the joyful sounds of birds to the earth.

Akita Bushi: This song has been popular since the early Showa era (1920s and 30s) with phrases attracting tourists and promotions of the Akita prefecture such as, “It is where many beautiful ladies are,”  “It is where delicious rice, sake, and fuki are,” as well as describing the place where cute wooden dolls called kokeshi are made.

Tottori Shanshan Kasa Odori: Rhythmical song that accompanies the famous Tottori kasa odori (hat dance).

Tawarazaka: The song reminisces the battle that took place during the Meiji era at Tawarazaka in Kumamoto prefecture.

Sansa Shigure: This minyo from the Sendai area is an auspicious celebratory song which wishes for everyone’s everlasting happiness.

Ichikawa Monju: This is a bon-odori song that has been sung at the Monju shrine in the city of Ichikawa, Yamanashi prefecture.

Nagasakino Nana Fushigi: This song is a game song often sung at parties. The song mentions seven names and phrases that make you wonder why things are –such as calling an old temple a new temple, naming a flatland a round mountain, etc.

Inabano Daikoku (god of wealth) Mai is a minyo from Tottori prefecture. The singers and dancers wear daikoku costumes and go from house to house blessing everyone on New Year’s Day.

Kumano Rokuchoushi: Rokuchoushi is a celebratory song. This happy, celebratory song from Kumamoto prefecture describes the beautiful city of Kuma.

Iyou Bushi: This is one of the oldest folksongs. It introduces Iyou Matsuyama in Ehime prefecture, its famous places, products and many unique things found there.

Ishibuka Hanya Bushi: A rhythmical folksong about beautiful Ushibuka in Kumamoto.

Fuji Murasaki (Purple Wisteria) is in the Yamatogaku style of music. The song describes the beautiful season when gorgeous purple wisterias bloom. Yamatogaku is a new genre of traditional Japanese music, Hogaku.

Ozatsuki Sansagari – Sawagi: Joyful party music in sansagari tuning.

Matsutoyo Kai and Minyo Station

Minyo Station in front and Matsutoyo Kai in back (Courtesy of the artists)

Performed by the Minyo Station

Owase Bushi: Owase Bushi is a song from southern Mie prefecture describing the beauty of the fishing village.

Takedano Komoriuta: This lullaby from Takeda originated in Aichi prefecture, but it was brought to Kyoto and was revised as a children’s song, which made it very popular. The song describes the difficulties and hardships that baby sitters experience.

Aizu Bandaisan: This is one of the most well-known bon-odori songs from the Aizu Wakamatsu area in Fukushima prefecture.

Yosakoi Naruko Odori: The song is from Kochi prefecture. In an up-beat tempo, the song says that everybody dances the Naruko Odori in Kochi. It encourages you to visit them and join them in the fun.

Performed by Makiko Kosugi

Matsutoyo Kai Kosugi Makiko

Mme. Makiko Kosugi, King Record Artist (Courtesy of artist)

Ise Ondo: A song from Mie prefecture, which has been sung at parties, bon-odori, even in Kabuki music.  It is a very versatile song telling what an interesting and enjoyable place Ise is.

Sado Okesa: The unique beauty of Sado in Niigata prefecture is described in the beautiful melody that has been a favorite minyo song since the Taisho era.

Toukamachi Kouta: Beautiful, flowing melody describes the snowy scene of Toukamachi in Niigata prefecture.

Shounai Obako: In Yamagata dialect, the humorous lyrics are of a young man describing a young girl.

Agarashare is full of Yamagata dialect encouraging you to have sake and enjoy the happy occasion.

Takeno Shirabe: This is a group of short, beautiful songs played by the fue and shakuhachi.

Itsukino Komori Uta: This has been one of the well-known lullabies from Kumamoto prefecture for many years. In its tranquil, sorrowful melody, it describes the small village in a valley near a winding river in Kyushu, Itsuki.

Iyano Kohiki Uta: A song about Iya in Tokushima. People in Iya sang this song as they milled grains that they cultivated in their dangerous, rugged terrain.

Tankai Bushi: A song from Shiga prefecture that describes the events of four seasons in that area.

Medeta Ondo literally means joyous and happy dance song