I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Friday, June 29, 2012

KAN -- Ai wa Katsu (愛は勝つ)

Into my second year of JET in the mountains of Gunma Prefecture, this song was being played everywhere in the karaoke bars and on radios and TV. Couldn't avoid it....and some of my fellow North American JETs tried very hard to. But my blog is for the people who enjoy J-Pop....and kayo kyoku, of course.

KAN was this clean-cut fellow in the zoot suits that were popular during the late 80s and early 90s who played the piano. Born in Fukuoka as Kan Kimura (木村和)in 1962, he was greatly influenced by latter-half Beatles, Stevie Wonder and especially Billy Joel. His career started in 1987, but it wasn't until his 8th single "Ai wa Katsu"(Love Will Triumph), written and composed by KAN, was released in September 1990 that he hit the heights. For the next 52 weeks, this 2-million-seller-plus song would occupy the Oricon charts, including the top spot from Christmas Eve 1990 to February 11 1991. It would eventually earn itself the position of the 3rd-ranking song of 1991, behind "Love Story wa Totsuzen ni"ラブ・ストーリーは突然に) by Kazumasa Oda(小田和正)and "Say Yes" by Chage & Aska.

All three songs also happen to be theme songs for TV shows. In "Ai wa Katsu"'s case, it was the theme song for two different variety shows on two different networks at two different times. I watched one of those two shows regularly on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. on Fuji-TV: "Yamada Katsutenai Terebi"やまだかつてないテレビ), hosted by veteran comedienne Kuniko Yamada山田邦子) (kinda like Japan's Carol Burnett). KAN was a frequent musical guest along with Mariko Nagai(永井真理子).

"Ai wa Katsu"is one of those happy-go-lucky tunes that is earnestly sung by KAN, if you take a look at the video. Referring back to his own idol of Billy Joel, the song blows a respectful melodic kiss to Joel's "Uptown Girl".

One very interesting piece of trivia about KAN. As a boy, his family lived in a company dormitory. One day, an older boy living next door was kind enough to play with little Mr. Kimura. Neither boy realized until they both became famous....but the older boy turned out to be ASKA of Chage & Aska fame. KAN admitted that he didn't remember anything from that miraculous meeting.. Ah....

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