In recent years I have listened to news reports in absolute amazement at the decimation nature is bestowing upon the Earth and ALL its inhabitants. I listened in total disbelief, only last Friday the 11th of March, 2011, of the Earthquake in Japan, followed soon after by a Tsunami. After two days of listening to report after report – nearly always the same – I became desensitized to the carnage over there; much like I had to our own floods and the victims here in Queensland and Victoria, Australia, late last year and early into this new year. I have become ‘desensitized’ to almost all of the worlds problems now – man made or natural. News saturation does this I suppose?
But strangely yesterday I could not stop humming this tune – not because of the catchy tune and happiness I feel (because I am one of the lucky ones who live on top of a hill and no where near a fault line or oil rig or scorching dessert) but because of the sadness that only a helpless and saddened heart can feel at these times. The singer, Kyu, was pointing this sadness out in the song. A poingnant and gentle way for us now, to help heal the grief in losing loved ones for whatever the reason.The tune I hummed you may ask?
…the singer, Kyu Sakamoto, being a young Japanese crooner back in the nineteen fifty’s/sixties.
Kyu Sakamoto was born December 10, 1941 and died on August 12, 1985. He was only 44 years old. A plane crash claimed his life as a 10 metre high Tsunami followed the worlds worst (recorded) Quake, both claiming many more Japanese now; young and old. How many lives will never be the same because of this natural disaster and possibly more in the future?
Maybe I was reminded of a happier time in my life? Reflecting, as one does, in times of emotional need I suppose?
I have always loved this tune (not understanding a word of it though!) but understanding it’s sentiment just the same. My father had this song on a recording on his ‘reel to reel’ tape recorder, along side ‘The Seekers’, Elvis Presley and many more popular tunes of the nineteen sixties and I would happily dance and sing to the tunes I experienced back then as a carefree, innocent and naive, 4 year old does. My Dad was a career soldier and travelled the world on various missions. One of his first was to Japan to help ‘clean up’ the ‘mess’ the ‘allies’ had made of various towns after their bombing raids towards the end of the second world war. Perhaps he may have seen Kyu, trying to survive in one of the villages? He did speak of seeing twisted metal bridges, bent pylons and scarred and burnt lands with its many displaced people. Much the same as we are witnessing in news broadcasts today.
Ironically, Kyu (and Japan) survived the 1944 air raids over Tokyo, to then build up his fame (at home and internationally) and in Japan’s case, becoming the third largest economy on the Globe.
It was a sad day though when we lost Kyu. It is a sad world now, not knowing what will become of Japan. It is too soon for analysts and the world’s people to know or dare to guess at the cost in Human lives and infrustructure. We shouldn’t even try. Luckily though, humans are resilient and will bounce back again in time. The Japanese people did back then and they will again, but this time with the aide of globalization.
This is why I hum this tune, in empathy and sadness, of what the world has lost. What we all have lost but then, also gained.
…A sense of belonging to one world and one Human Race.
Sometimes we have a tune in our head that we just cannot reason why it’s there…but we hum or sing with it just the same.
I did not think of the ‘Japanese’ connection (Kyu Sakamoto) at first but then (with the aide of the internet!) discovered many parallels in Kyu’s life with the destruction in his country now – 60 years later; although now, this is not man-made.
Maybe next time a song remains in your head for a time, unexplained and perhaps a little annoying, there may be a clue in your subconcious as to why it was put there at that particular time….