Until I saw last night's "Uta Kon" (うたコン), I had completely forgotten that this was the graduation season in Japan. After all, in a few days, it will be the beginning of a new fiscal year including a new school one. So, there are plenty of cherry blossoms to scatter, tons of tears to be shed, and lots of uniform buttons to be given by the guys to the girls.
Basically, this Author's Pick isn't really a list of revelatory favourites but more of a summary of some of the graduation-themed songs that I've already written about in the blog and have known for decades. At least two of them were played and sung by the teachers for the graduating senior year students in my junior high school on the JET Programme with the tear ducts flowing like crazy.
H2O -- Omoide ga Ippai (1983)
It may have started life as an anime theme song but it's grown into one of the big graduation songs to elicit tears.
Hi-Fi Set/Yumi Arai -- Sotsugyo Shashin (1975)
My fellow teacher on JET who lived in the next village once remarked that he wanted to smash this song into smithereens (he's more of a rock guy anyways) after hearing it so often during graduation season. Well, to each his own. But I still like Hi-Fi Set's old-style version.
Kaientai -- Okuru Kotoba (1979)
Along with "Omoide ga Ippai" above, this was the other song that had my students' waterworks starting up. And who better to send the grads off to a new chapter in their lives than the ultimate TV teacher of Japan himself?
Yuki Saito -- Sotsugyo (1985)
I don't know Saito's "Sotsugyo" as well as the others on the list but I have to say that having young Saito sing it brought that feeling of sweet innocence to the proceedings of leaving school.
Misato Watanabe -- Sotsugyo (1991)
This may be a graduation song but I keep getting the expression "insurance company" popping in my brain whenever I heard this one. Mind you, it was used as the campaign song for Meiji Insurance, and there's nothing like a life-changing event to think of life insurance.