Read time: 1 minute

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Kyu Sakamoto

On tonight's episode of the Music Club, we have for you a lost treasure from the early '60s.

Well, not so much lost as faded into a sort of obscurity here in the states. However, few are aware that it's one of the highest-selling singles of all time, especially in the U.S., which is uncommon for non-English releases. It should also be noted that, while the lyrics sound like those of a generic love song, they are intentionally ambiguous as to disguise the real meaning. The true inspiration for the lyrics came from the sadness felt by lyricist Rokusuke Ei after returning from a failed protest against the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. While there is an artistic reason why the lyrics were written that way, the title for the English release has a bit less romantic back story. In English-speaking countries, the song was rather offensively retitled "Sukiyaki," which refers to a Japanese stew. Other than the fact that it is Japanese, the title has no relation to the lyrics of the song and was merely put into place as it was easier to pronounce for non-Japanese listeners. Regardless of its English title, it remains a beautiful song with a deep meaning that helped establish Japanese artists on the international music scene.

What are your favorite songs with non-English lyrics?



We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.