Song of the Day: Kyo Sakomoto, “Ue o Muite Arukou (Sukiyaki)”

Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto would have turned 80 years old today. His record "Ue o Muite Arukou," renamed "Sukiyaki" in English-speaking markets, reached #1 on the Hot 100 in 1963, the first #1 by an Asian artist on that chart. Sakamoto died in the Japan Airlines flight 123 crash in August 1985 when he was just 43 years old.

9 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Kyo Sakomoto, “Ue o Muite Arukou (Sukiyaki)”

  1. He had such a great breakout song with this and for good reason, itโ€™s such a great song. He can whistle really well. I believe I just watched a Mayday episode about this plane crash, it is such a tragedy.


    1. It was a terrible thing that happened, and it’s sad they weren’t able to make the corrections they needed to make sure they landed at least so no one perished.


  2. This is such a lovely song. Always loved it even though I didn’t know what it meant. From the music, I always thought it was upbeat, but the lyrics are sad. Love it even more now that I’ve read them.


    1. Your experience touches on deep questions of how (or if ) music should represent emotions, and whether a song/movement that sounds “upbeat” only if you don’t understand the lyrics, which are sad, or vice versa, can be considered an artistic success. I know a New Year’s chorale prelude by Bach, a basically happy text, whose profound sadness has baffled commentators for centuries, and a joyous, bouncy alto aria in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (about the grieving of the Virgin at the foot of the Cross) which falls into the same bin as the present song.

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