Shogo Hamada’s “Sadness is Like Snow” and His Continued Anti-War Thoughts
This series traces hit songs from 30 years ago. This time it is Shogo Hamada.
In February and March of 1992, Shogo Hamada’s “Sadness is Like Snow” was being played on TV and radio and sung in karaoke boxes, a new form of entertainment that was taking root.
It sold 1,703,000 copies (Oricon). Shogo Hamada’s biggest single hit until then was “Kaze wo Kangaeru” (Feel the Wind) in 1979, which sold 102,000 copies, a 17-fold increase. In pachinko (Japanese pinball) parlance, this is a “sure-fire” situation.
Like the other big hits in this series, this song was aided greatly by a tie-up with Fuji Television’s drama “In the Name of Love,” the theme song of which needs no explanation if you are in your late 40s or older. The song is a “90’s classic,” a “sure change” due to the tie-up.
The script was written by Shinji Nojima. The theme song of “High School Teacher” (1993), which he wrote, was “Bokutachi no Tsudoi” (by Morita Doji), and “Hitto Roof” (1993) was “Cactus Flower” (by Tulip; the song was sung by the same artist as the theme song of “Ai no Namae Dekase”). The theme song for “Under One Roof” (1993) was “Cactus Flower” (Tulip, but the song was a remake by Kazuo Zaitsu), and “Minors” (1995) was the Carpenters–the first in a trend of Shinji Nojima’s works to use songs from the past as theme songs.
The song was originally included in Shogo Hamada’s album “Before the Generation of Love” (1981). Its remake version became the theme song for “In the Name of Love”. Incidentally, the title of the drama “In the Name of Love” is also taken from the song of the same name recorded on the same album. In this sense, the drama had a very strong “Shogo Hamada color.
The content was like a 90’s version of the famous 80’s drama “Fusorai no Ringo-tachi (The Fellowship of the Apple)” written by Taichi Yamada. The seven members are played by Honami Suzuki, Toshiaki Karasawa, Yosuke Eguchi (Long Hair), Yoriko Doguchi, Tamotsu Ishibashi, Hiromi Nakajima, and Hideo Nakano. –.
This is a “social drama” in the tradition of Shinji Nojima. How do young people after the collapse of the bubble economy confront social problems such as power harassment, destruction of nature, and illegal employment (Japa-Yuki-san)? This seems to have been the essential theme of the drama.
However, as a young company employee of the same generation as the characters at the time, I had a hard time with this drama. It was too rich in content as a “social drama,” and the direction was also too rich, with Nobuyasu Okabayashi playing and Bob Dylan’s lyrics being read out loud.
I also had a hard time with the song “Sadness is Like Snow,” which was rearranged more heavily than the original song on the album “Before the Generation of Love,” so I did not watch this drama properly.
But still, I did indeed watch that scene – “Choro’s Suicide”.
It was the scene where a securities company employee named “Choro,” played by Hideo Nakano, who is now best described as “Daiga Nakano’s father,” gets caught up in various troubles and commits suicide by hanging himself. There must be many people who say, “I didn’t like it as a drama, but I remember that scene.
The final episode, which ended with the characters walking down a tree-lined avenue while reciting a Japanese translation of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” received a 32.6% viewer rating (Video Research/Kanto). Thus, “In the Name of Love” became one of the most popular dramas of the 1990s.
The time has come again for a “socially-conscious hamasho
Despite the fact that “Sadness is Like Snow” sold 1.7 million copies, Shogo Hamada did not become a “‘Sadness is Like Snow’ (only) person” because of his accumulation and success from that point on, in other words, because of his musical bottom line.
Personally, my favorite Shogo Hamada is “I am a father” (2005). As the title suggests, it is a song about a “father. The beginning of the song is
Â “I work every day with my head so low that my forehead touches the floor.
This is a song about “fathers” who are everywhere in Japan. The lyrics alone are enough to make this song my personal “Hamasho Favorite,” but the real heart of this song, the crystallization of Shogo Hamada’s musical bottom line, lies in the middle section.
— “Why do people kill each other?” the child asks childishly. Embracing, the fragility of life, the heat in my chest…
The reason why I am writing this all of a sudden is, of course, because something fishy happened in Russia and Ukraine. Whenever I hear something fishy happening in the world, I am always reminded of the song by Shogo Hamada.
There may be only a few people now who remember that in 2004, there was a lot of talk about “keeping politics out of the Fuji Rock Festival”. At the time, as I stared at such opinions and controversies over the Internet, I thought to myself, “Why don’t people just listen to Shogo Hamada first?
Along with his melting love songs, Shogo Hamada has sung boldly and bitterly about war, the atomic bomb, environmental issues, Japan-U.S. relations, and economic disparity.
Having watched him, I do not think that “singing about politics is rock music,” but I strongly believe that “singing about politics” is rock music.
Why do people kill each other? I want to be a parent who can answer a child’s question, “What do you want me to do? The music of Shogo Hamada in “I am a father” has the power to make you think so.
I was not a fan of rich “social dramas,” but I quite liked the rich “social hamasho” for the above reasons.
It seems to me that more and more young musicians have recently been asserting, “I am just a musician, so I don’t sing about social matters. But– “I wonder whose idea it is” (from Shogo Hamada’s “Sad Night”).
Text： Susie Suzuki Photo： Sankei Visual