2018-02-09

Michiya Mihashi (三橋美智也) and Hiroshi Mizuhara (水原弘) - 1960

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My two handsome guys together! ❤️

First Meeting : The King of Song and a Budding Singer
Michiya Mihashi and Hiroshi Mizuhara

King of song Michiya Mihashi and budding singer Hiroshi Mizuhara, whose song “Black Petals” (黒い花びら) has become a big hit, were talking in the gentle sunlight of late autumn. Mizuhara-san, who is a huge fan of Mihashi-san, said, “I get nervous in the presence of the person I like.” He was quite nervous at first, but senior Mihashi-san spoke to him kindly and they became good friends by the end of the conversation.

MM: Michiya Mihashi
HM: Hiroshi Mizuhara

◎ I’ll pay advertising money!

HM: Sensei! Nice to meet you.
(After finishing the photoshoot of his family, Mihashi-san came out of the exit of Tama Zoo. Then Mizuhara-san, who had been waiting for Mihashi-san, ran up to him.)
MM: Hi! Nice to meet you! (they shook hands)
HM: I’m a huge fan of yours! Heibon-san (the publisher) gave me a chance to meet you, so I got up very early this morning, even though I went to bed late yesterday, and I’ve been waiting for you here.
MM: Oh, thank you!
HM: I belong to Toshiba. I tested at King Records, but I ended up with my current company.
MM: Oh, then you had a chance to be in the same company with me! (ha ha) I read about you in the newspaper while I was on tour in Hokkaido. You praised me a lot, in the article.
HM: I didn’t praise you! I just mentioned to the interviewer that I wished I could be a singer like you, as I respected you.
MM: Do you like folk songs, too?
HM: Yes, I do. I sing folk songs in my own way. But, it’s difficult for me to sing real folk songs. I’m trying to study how to sing them well, but I’m not good at it! (he scratched his head, feeling shy) I watched your recital (held on September 1st and 2nd at Nichigeki) the other day.
MM: So I heard. I have to say thank you.
HM: No, no, that’s what I should say to you. I thank you because I had a chance to study folk songs when I watched your performance.
MM: I think that when learning an art, we should study it every day. Which of my songs do you like?
HM: I like all of your songs, but I’m afraid I can’t sing your songs. People say I should expand my repertoire and sing your songs if I’m your fan.
MM: I think you must try it. It’s a challenge. (ha ha) You’d better take on a challenge.
HM: When I feel relaxed in a friendly atmosphere at a jazz club, I sometimes sing Frank-san's (フランク永井?) songs, but it is absolutely impossible for me to sing your songs! (ha ha)
MM: Don’t say that. Please sing my songs and spread them around! (ha ha) I’ll pay for ads.
HM: Occasionally, I sing Chiemi Eri’s (江利チエミ) song “Sanosa” (さのさ), and change ‘man’ to ‘woman’ in the lyrics.
MM: So you sing, “I don’t need such a woman...” Oh, I feel empathy in the lyrics! (ha ha)
HM: I’m envious of you because you have many quiet fans and they concentrate when listening to your songs.
MM: Your fans are cheerful.
HM: I have many young fans. They get easily excited. When I simply smile, they scream! It has nothing to do with my songs. Many of my fans are men, though other rockabilly artists have many female fans.

◎ My throat shrinks!

MM: Rockabilly has changed its style, hasn’t it?
HM: It’s changed a lot. No more jumping or flipping. It was tiring!
MM: The songs are also becoming quieter.
HM: Fans are becoming more quiet, too. I don’t understand English lyrics, but I mastered the rhythm of it. So, I want to go along with it, in Japanese.
MM: To be understood by many people, you’d better try it that way. It’s the same if we sing folk songs in the original dialect, it wouldn’t be easily understood.
HM: It seems difficult to transcribe the melodies of folk songs into notes. Tremolo like “Ee~Ee~” can’t be expressed in notes. I can’t sing that tremolo. My throat shrinks! (ha ha)
MM: Jazz and folk songs have same kind of feeling. I often talk about it with Hirao-chan (Masaaki Hirao).
HM: Oh, how happy Hirao-chan must be, that he can talk with you about something like that!
MM: You’re also talking with me now! (ha ha) Hirao-chan visits my house and stays with us. We play golf together. Why don’t you come to my house?
HM: Oh, I’d love to go!
MM: Sometimes I listen to your song “Black petals” (黒い花びら) on the radio. I’d like to talk about it, but...it’s embarrassing to praise you to your face! (ha ha)
HM: I’m more embarrassed than you! (ha ha)
MM: The part of that song, “Therefore, therefore...”, which you sing by raising your voice in a husky way, is appealing. I feel sensuality in that part.
HM: That’s the hook of the song. I’m very glad to be praised for that. By the way, what is the aim of your ‘thriller song’?
MM: I debuted as a folk song singer, so I’ll end up like “dried-up silver grass on the riverside...” (he’s quoting a line from “Boatman’s Song” (船頭小唄)). Meanwhile, I would like to try all kinds of music, so I’m always challenging myself with something new.
HM: You’re a highly motivated person!
MM: I’ll challenge myself with a ‘thriller’ and fighting spirit! (ha ha)
HM: Your thriller song “Wall” (壁) is nice.
MM: I tried a jazz feeling with that one.
HM: You might try rockabilly in the future! (ha ha)
MM: Peggy-san (ペギー葉山), who is usually a jazz singer, got a hit with the folk song “Departing from Tosa” (南国土佐を後にして). It’s good for everyone to try expand their own repertoire. We can learn a lot from doing it.
HM: Then I will challenge myself with folk songs and fighting spirit! (ha ha) By the way, it’s been a number of years since you started singing in earnest, hasn’t it?
MM: I started singing when I was five, and I’m thirty now. So, it’s been twenty-five years.
HM: What a great career! I wasn’t born, yet.
MM: A twenty-five year career sounds too long! So, I would like to say modestly that it’s been only twenty years...how about you?
HM: After I graduated from high school, I started to sing, because I liked singing. Then, I started to learn in earnest from Ginji Yamaguchi (山口銀次), who is a teacher of Hawaiian songs, around four years ago. Before that, I was singing many popular songs and I entered several singing contests.
MM: A few minutes ago, you said, “I wasn’t born, yet.” (ha ha) When were you born?
HM: November 1st, 1935.
MM: Then you’re five years younger than me. Your birthday is close to mine. My birthday is November 10th.
HM: It’s lucky for me! Though even with that luck, I must still try hard!

◎ Double-header congratulations

MM: My birthday and my wedding ceremony were on the same day, so we can celebrate both at once. You’d better do it this way! (ha ha) It can save money. (ha ha)
HM: Ha ha! It’s like a double-header! But, it’s difficult to decide the wedding ceremony day, considering the lucky days and whatnot, isn’t it?
MM: In my case, it went well. While discussing the wedding ceremony day with my wife...oh, it sounds like bragging!
HM: It’s no problem, because I’ll get back at you, in the future...(ha ha)
MM: Please go easy on me, then! (ha ha)
HM: No, no, I will absolutely brag at that time! (ha ha) I’ll never be able to compete with you in singing, so let me at least brag about that! (ha ha) By the way, do you drink much alcohol?
MM: I’m pretty sure I can hold my liquor. (ha ha)
HM: Do you like Japanese sake?
MM: It’s cold now, so I often drink sake, these days. Usually, I drink everything. (ha ha)
HM: That’s the same with singing. You sing everything...
MM: No, no, it’s far from it. I feel embarrassed. (ha ha)
HM: To tell you the truth, I’ve seen you at Hibiya Inn, before.
MM: Oh, really? When was that? I used to go there around four years ago. I like the atmosphere there. The Mahina Stars (マヒナスターズ) often sang there.
HM: I’ve opened for them.
MM: Really? I haven’t been there since before the remodel. When traveling abroad, I like to listen to jazz at a nightclub. Top jazz musicians sing there. On the other hand, popular songs are suitable for a Japanese-style banquet room.
HM: Japanese sake is suitable for a Japanese-style room, too.
MM: Your songs have something Japanese, as well.
HM: Yes. I sing a lot of rock ballads in Japanese. I have six songs like “Black Falling Leaves” (黒い落ち葉).
MM: Then you are just beginning to challenge yourself, now! It was easy to challenge myself at first, but now I’m in agony!
HM: Oh...is that how it is?
MM: I’m always desperately thinking of what kind of song I will try next time. When I think of something to aim for, I’m excited and eager to try it. I still have a lot of things I want to try in the future.
HM: How many songs have you ever sung?
MM: Nearly 200, including folk songs.
HM: You have 200 and I have 6. It’s impossible for me to compete with you after all. (ha ha) What do you want to do the most?
MM: I just want to sing a good song. That’s all I want to do.
HM: I’ve just started singing, and I’m not singing carefully. But, from now on, I have to take more care. Every listener has a good ear for music, so I have to try very hard.
MM: I’ve never laughed on the stage, though I do smile recently (ha ha). That is because they don’t listen to my songs if I don’t sing seriously.
HM: Yes. Many fans of rockabilly are merely attracted to our faces or our physiques. The year before last, my band Blue Socks (ブルーソックス) was formed and around fifty fans came to the celebration party. At that time, I told them, “I am the happiest when you become fans of me because you love my songs. I don’t want you to become my fans because you love my physique or my eyes. I will study hard and learn music to please you all, so if you think I’m not good or I need more study, please scold me. If I can’t live up to you, I will give up.”
MM: You dare say such a thing in front of many people. I’m impressed.
HM: It was right after experiencing the struggle of forming Blue Socks, and I said that earnestly. Even now, I haven’t changed my mind.
MM: What you have decided when you were struggling is true.
HM: It came out after thinking about it repeatedly.
MM: Your voice is husky when you are talking. Does it change through the microphone?
HM: Yes. People say my voice is mellow through the microphone.
MM: It’s lucky if your voice records deeper through the microphone. It’s disappointing if your voice records weaker than it actually is. Microphones now have enhancements, so you can express your new originality with an echo-producing microphone.

◎ I run away when I see a ball coming.

MM: Do you play golf?
HM: No, I don’t. I play baseball, but I have no team to play with. (ha ha)
MM: Why don’t you join our team, then? (ha ha) I run away when I see a ball coming to me. I played second base and many balls came there! (ha ha) One of the members of my fan club recommended that I shouldn’t play second. Now I just play as a pinch hitter or a field manager. I sometimes imitate Shigeru Mizuhara (水原茂). (ha ha) Our team also has a game today, but I have this interview, so I came here.
HM: Oh, thank you, and I’m sorry for that. (ha ha) I’m thinking of trying something, but I can’t do anything. I’m driving a car, a Renault, but I’m just running around. If I were to learn something seriously, I would be absorbed in it recklessly, so I avoid learning.
MM: They say “health depends on your feet”. You’d better walk instead of driving a car. I walk around about 40 kilometers in a day playing golf or hunting.
HM: I haven’t got that much energy! (ha ha)
MM: You look like you do some sports, as you have a good physique.
HM: When I was a student, I didn’t play tennis or go horse riding...
MM: Oh, then you did everything else! (ha ha) Did you quarrel, too?
HM: I’m weak in quarreling, especially now.
MM: I strongly advise you that we showbiz people must not have quarrels. I’ve always thought that “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day”. If the opponent looks apparently weak, however, I’ll fight! How about that attitude?! (ha ha)
HM: I’ll beat the drums instead of quarreling.
MM: Do you like playing drums?
HM: Yes, and I also like playing the guitar and the ukulele.
MM: I tried to play the guitar once, but I quit because it was annoying. (ha ha)
Now I have experience with playing the flute, the clarinet, and the bamboo flute. Those are better than the guitar. Should I learn how to play the guitar from you?
HM: No. That’s impossible. Just talking with you makes me nervous, so it’s absolutely impossible to teach you. I can understand how the fans feel [in the presence of their favorite musicians]. (ha ha)
MM: Will you do more films?
HM: I will, and I already accepted two offers. One is Romantic Flower (花のロマンス) from Takarazuka Films, and the other is Black Falling Leaves (黒い落葉) from Nikkatsu.
MM: Acting is also challenging until you get used to it.
HM: I’m going to try everything. Every opportunity is a chance to learn something new.
MM: You have a good spirit! I’ll go see your show someday, in return for the recital. I’m serious! (ha ha)
HM: Oh…I feel embarrassed. I’m afraid that I’ll get nervous and I won’t be able to sing! (ha ha) I’m your fan, so I feel embarrassed to be seen by you...by the way, I got a letter from one of your fans. It says, “You should keep being a fan of Mihashi-sensei”. It was written on a roll of paper, with ink brush calligraphy.
MM: I’m getting embarrassed now...and what else?
HM: He also sent me a lighter with your signature on it, with the letter. I keep it carefully stored and I don’t use it.
MM: Wow! I really feel embarrassed! Anyway, it was nice to meet you!
HM: Same here! Please teach me many things from now on.

- from Heibon Monthly Magazine (平凡), No. 1, 1960

Profile

Anne (アン)

Author:Anne (アン)
43 years old / female
Wahiawā, Hawai'i

I'm a member of
Michiya-kai
(the Michiya Mihashi
fan club)
since 2016.


Contact me at: hello_risu@riseup.net


Note: All articles
and captions
were translated
into English
by T. Nonaka.

The profile
picture is
my artwork.

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