KASUMISOU cover art and track list released!

The cover art and track list for Oku Hanako’s upcoming March album KASUMISOU have been released! Pony Canyon made a news post yesterday with the details.

As usual, in addition the regular edition, there will be special limited edition for the first buyers.

KASUMISOU regular edition cover art

KASUMISOU limited edition cover art

Track list →

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r/okuhanako Now Up on Reddit!

There’s a new place to get your Oku Hanako news and content! Here’s to announce the r/okuhanako subreddit, a community on Reddit where you can discuss and share any and all things Oku Hanako.

Don’t worry, though, this blog isn’t going anywhere.

Special thanks go to Edward, Daniel and Denny for helping me get this project started!

A screenshot of r/okuhanako on 2019-02-03 ~04:00 UTC

r/okuhanako as of 2019-02-03 ~04:00 UTC

Read about why we created it →

Christmas no Yoru / クリスマスの夜

Christmas no Yoru / KURISUMASU no Yoru / クリスマスの夜: “Christmas Night”

kurisumasu / クリスマス
“Christmas”
no / の
A particle indicating modification
yoru / (よる)
A particle indicating modification

It’s a little late, but Merry Christmas! It’s been a few months since my last post, so I hope this post will do as a Christmas present… or a New Year’s present, if you prefer.

I somehow missed the announcement that Oku Hanako was going to release a digital single. Christmas no Yoru / クリスマスの夜 was released about a month ago on November 26.

Christmas no Yoru cover art

To my knowledge, this is the third original Christmas songs that she has done, with the previous two being Santa ni Negai wo / サンタに願いを and Boku no Christmas / 僕のクリスマス. In addition, she sang Silent Night during one of her concerts.

Luckily for us, Pony Canyon released a full lyric video for the song. Here it is:


奥華子/クリスマスの夜(FULL Ver.)【リリックムービー】 by ponycanyon [YouTube]

At first listen, I thought this was going to be a happy, heartwarming song, especially because of the line “boku wa kimi ga suki da yo” / 僕は君が好きだよ (“I love you”), but I realized I was mistaken as I was translating it. Nope, this is Oku Hanako we’re talking about: of course it’s not going to be a happy love song. I have a translation for you to read, along with my translation notes.

From a musical perspective, this song doesn’t seem to feature much piano. Yes, there is some, but it isn’t featured prominently.

The interlude seems to take inspiration from Pachelbel’s Canon. It’s everywhere, but it’s fitting for this song.

The song sounds a bit generic, but it’s also very solid, and the more I listen to it, the more it sounds distinctly Oku Hanako, even if the piano is not a big focus.

Lyrics →

Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama / サヨナラは言わないまま

Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama / サヨナラは言わないまま: “I Won’t Say Goodbye”

sayonara / サヨナラ
“goodbye”, with a connotation of finality.
wa / は
A particle indicating the topic.
iwanai / ()わない
“Will not say”. Negative form of iu / ()う (“to say”).
mama / まま
“to stay in a certain state”

A more literal translation might be “I Will Leave Goodbye Unsaid”.

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but no, this isn’t me saying goodbye (nor saying goodbye without actually saying it, as the song might suggest).

“Sayonara wa Iwanai Mama” is track 5 on Oku Hanako’s 2012 album, “good-bye”. It’s one of the few hikigatari pieces on the album, and my, what a powerful one it is.

We have a translation by Edward today. As usual, you can go over to his site to read his translation notes, as well as a translation of Oku Hanako’s self liner notes for this song.

It appears that the song is about a pair of secret lovers, and it seems that the listener has to leave for good, leaving the singer behind. The singer decides not to say goodbye, because saying goodbye would signify finality, something that she does not want to accept.


サヨナラは言わないまま (Sayonara Ha Iwanai Mama) – Hanako Oku [Zing MP3]

The hikigatari really drives the point in. Oku Hanako singing solo with just a lone piano highlights the loneliness of the singer. She sings with emotion, perfectly conveying that the singer really doesn’t want this and is emotionally strained. Musically, the song is written in the key of E♭ minor, which further enhances the sadness (minor keys tend to sound sad).

Sayounara / さようなら (or sayonara / サヨナラ, as in this song; the usage of katakana here likely functions as italics or quotation marks), has a connotation of finality to it. When you say goodbye to your friends at the end of the day, you’d normally use something like jaa ne / じゃあね or jaa mata / じゃあまた, which you can translate as “see ya” or “see you again”. You’d probably say sayonara / さよなら if they were leaving for an extended period of time. In the second line of the first verse, the listener says jaa ne / じゃあね instead of sayonara / さよなら, either out of habit or familiarity, or possibly implying that their relationship isn’t over yet and they’ll see each other again sometime.

When I first heard this song, I liked it as another one of her hikigatari pieces, but now that I’ve taken the time to analyze it, my appreciation for it has grown deeper.

Lyrics →

“Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night☆” released!

Oku Hanako’s newest video release, “Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night ☆” / 奥華子の弾き語りダークナイト☆, came out a few days ago on June 20! I don’t have much to add to the previous announcement post, other than the cover art:

Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night ☆ cover

I’m somewhat surprised they spelled “hikigatari” wrong. Sure, 語り is katari / かたり on its own, but when put after hiki / 弾き, rendaku applies, turning the ka / か into a ga / が.

Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒

Mangekyou no Hitotsubu / 万華鏡の一粒: “Kaleidoscope Bead”

mangekyou / (まん)()(きょう)
“kaleidoscope”. The characters literally mean “ten thousand”, “splendor”/”shine”, and “mirror”
no / の
A particle indicating modification.
hitotsubu / (ひと)(つぶ)
“A single bead”

I haven’t been very good at posting in the last couple of months, so I’ll treat you to something a little extra today.

Have you ever looked through a kaleidosope? If you haven’t, you should do yourself a favour and buy one or make one for yourself. Pictures and videos don’t do the experience justice.

In 2011, Oku Hanako went on a trip to Hokkaido and was featured for the second season of STV’s “Hokkaido Under Sky” series[jp]. The four videos are posted on YouTube (1, 2, 3, 4). She visits a kaleidoscope museum in the second video and composes a song inspired by it in the fourth; the song is called “Mangekyou no Hitotsubu” / 万華鏡の一粒.

To my knowledge, that video is the only place where this song appears, so I was surprised when I saw that someone posted the lyrics for the song[jp]. I haven’t done any translation work in a while and I missed it, so I decided to try my hand at a translation. My translation notes are available and feedback is always appreciated.

I highly recommend watching the videos (later in this post) to get the context and other goodies like her improvised melody in the second video, but if you just want to listen to the song, here it is:


【STV】北海道アンダースカイ 2ndシーズン第4話 (奥華子) by 札幌テレビ放送 公式ch [YouTube]

Videos and lyrics →

“Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night☆” announced for June 20

Oku Hanako is releasing a Blu-ray of the live event she had in Osaka on November 23, 2017. It will be called “Oku Hanako no Hikigatari Dark Night ☆” / 奥華子の弾き語りダークナイト☆, after the concert, and it will be released on June 20, 2018. There will be two editions: a limited edition restricted to PCSC (Pony Canyon Shopping Club) preorders, worth ¥5875, and a regular edition, worth ¥5000. Preorders for the special edition are being accepted until May 17. Details can be found on the Pony Canyon page for the release.

There’s no cover art yet, but Pony Canyon released a digest video on YouTube:


【LIVE】Blu-ray「奥華子の弾き語りダークナイト☆」ダイジェスト映像 by ponycanyon [YouTube]

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