Longing for the past when the streets in Ginza were lined with willow trees
A young beauty becomes a nobody with age
Dance to the jazz music and down liquor into the night
And the rain that is the tears of the dancers will sprinkle at the break of dawn.
Tokyo March (1929) Lyrics taken from the English subtitles in Tokyo March (1929), directed by Mizoguchi Kenji, in Talking Silents 1, DVD (Tokyo: Digital Meme, 2007)
Shinpei Nakayama(中山晋平) was a Japanese composer known as “the father of popular music” who was active during the early 1900’s. Nakayama rose to fame when his composition “Tokyo March” (Tokyo Koshinkyoku) was used as the theme song for the 1929 movie by the same title directed by Mizoguchi Kenji. Upon the song’s release, “Tokyo March” came to be considered one of the first Japanese “pop” songs, selling an unprecedented 400,000 copies according to The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema. The resounding success sparked the careers of Nakayama, the song’s lyricist, and the song’s performer Chiyako Sato (佐藤千夜子), which subsequently caused a surge in the country’s overall record production. Japan’s professional music industry was set into motion. Continue reading