Ganbare / ガンバレ

Ganbare / ガンバレ: “Keep Going”

Stock translations for ガンバレ are “good luck” and “do your best”, but neither of those are particularly appropriate for the song, especially “good luck”. I borrow Edward’s translation of “Keep Going”, but I’d probably translate this as “Keep At It”.

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post here because of other responsibilities, but I couldn’t miss March 20, Oku Hanako’s birthday! Well, I did miss it because the translation I found for the song I was going to post was full of errors and I couldn’t in good conscience use it, so I had to either fix the translation (or in this case, redo), or find a new song and start over. You can guess which option I took, but better late than never. A belated happy birthday, Oku Hanako! 遅れたけど誕生日おめでとうございます、奥華子さん!

During this time of social distancing, it’s easy to get discouraged by not being able to interact with people in person as you normally would. Let this song be a tidbit of encouragement, a reminder to keep at it even when times are tough.

As the name suggests, Ganbare is a song of encouragement. Reading the [translation of the lyrics](https://pltgokuhanako.wordpress.com/2020/03/24/ganbare/#translation) we have today by Edward, I’d like to think that this is Oku Hanako reflecting on songwriting throughout the years and how she’s been encouraged by her fans all that time. “If you smile, I will continue to sing.” “If I look back and feel tired from walking alone on a long road / I want to hear the voices of many people telling me to ‘keep going’. ”


奥華子 – ガンバレ(photo in 広島県江田島市) by endrollsnow [YouTube]

For the musically inclined, this is one of the few songs of hers that’s in 3/4 time. Her songs are predominantly in 4/4 time, with some in 6/8 time. Some other songs of hers in 3/4 time are Honobono Ikou / ほのぼの行こう and Gekkou / 月光.

Please continue to sing, Oku Hanako, because we will keep smiling. We will be there all the way, so keep going strong!

Lyrics →

Oku Hanako ALL TIME BEST released!

Oku Hanako’s 15th anniversary album, “Oku Hanako ALL TIME BEST“, is out! It was released last week on November 13.


奥華子「奥華子 ALL TIME BEST」ダイジェスト映像 by ponycanyon [YouTube]

(I find it interesting that more recent promotional images are used for the older songs without a music video instead of ones from the time they were released.)

There are three editions available: 3CD (PCCA-04828), 3CD+BD (PCCA-04827), and the 15h Anniversary 875BOX (PCCA-04864), which includes some extra goodies.

Regular edition (3CD) cover art

Oku Hanako ALL TIME BEST special edition cover art

Special edition (3CD+BD) cover art

Oku Hanako ALL TIME BEST 875BOX cover art

875BOX cover art

Each edition comes with three CDs. Much like on her previous best collection, “Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-“, the songs on each of the CDs are grouped by theme. This time around, the CDs are labelled “花 – HANA” (“Flower”), “空 – SORA” (“Sky”) and “月 – TSUKI” (“Moon”).

Oku Hanako gives this note (translation is mine):

It’s approaching 15 years since my debut. I’m really happy to have lots of grateful memories. Thank you!

I think the work to make the 15-year compilation best album that I wanted is complete. To those who are always helping me out, to those whom I will meet after this, I hope even one of you will want to collect my music.

It was really difficult choosing from my many songs, but I’ve managed to divide them into 3 categories:

  • Flower: Things that are lovely because they are fleeting
  • Sky: Things that are always there
  • Moon: Things you can see only because there is darkness

I am delighted to give you what’s almost like three new albums to listen to.

Of course, I still treasure all the songs I didn’t put in this release. I hope from here on in, my music will reach even more people.

Oku Hanako

花 – HANA

The unifying theme of the HANA (“Flower”) disc is “things that are lovely because they are fleeting”. Interestingly, around half of these songs reference flowers in their titles, and it may very well be that the lyrics of all of them have something to do with a flower.

  1. Hanabira (new song) / はなびら(新曲)
  2. Propose / プロポーズ
  3. Hatsukoi / 初恋
  4. 365 Nichi no Hanataba / 365日の花束
  5. Toshiue no Kare / 年上の彼
  6. Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火
  7. Sakura Namiki / 桜並木
  8. Statice / スターチス
  9. Koi Tsubomi / 恋つぼみ
  10. Futari Kinenbi / 二人記念日
  11. Garasu no Hana / ガラスの花
  12. Koi / 恋
  13. Lost Time / ロスタイム
  14. Yasashii Hana / やさしい花

This disc includes Oku Hanako’s new song, Hanabira / はなびら, which was the theme song of the movie, Korosanai Kare to Shinanai Kanojo / 殺さない彼と死なない彼女.

空 – SORA

The unifying theme of the SORA (“Sky”) disc is “things that are always there”. Many of the songs included appear to have a theme of longevity and distance.

  1. Cinderella / シンデレラ
  2. Garnet / ガーネット
  3. Ai to Iu Takaramono / 愛という宝物
  4. Waratte Waratte / 笑って笑って
  5. 10 Nen / 10年
  6. Michi / 道
  7. Mahou no Hito / 魔法の人
  8. Ichibanboshi / 一番星
  9. Aitai Toki ni Aenai / 逢いたいときに逢えない
  10. Tomoshibi / 灯-ともしび-
  11. Kaette Oide / 帰っておいで
  12. Happydays
  13. Haruka Tooku ni / 遥か遠くに
  14. Ashiato / 足跡
  15. Jiyuu no Kame (new recording) / 自由のカメ(新録)

Of special note is the new recording of Jiyuu no Kame. This song is an indies song included on her indies compilation album vol.best. The digest video gives a preview at 2:53. It appears to include an arrangement with drums, guitar, brass, and of course her piano. It reminds me a bit of the album version of Kimo no Egao, except I have less of a problem with the arrangement at first glance.

月 – TSUKI

The unifying theme of the TSUKI (“Moon”) disc is “things that you can see only because there is darkness”. Many of these songs have a sad or otherwise dark undertone in their lyrics.

  1. Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai / あなたに好きと言われたい
  2. Toumei Kasa / 透明傘
  3. Utakata / 泡沫
  4. Rainyday
  5. Kawaranai Mono / 変わらないもの
  6. Madobe / 窓辺
  7. Period / ピリオド
  8. Aishiteta / 愛してた
  9. Kusabi / 楔-くさび-
  10. Aoi Heya / 青い部屋
  11. Trump / トランプ
  12. Shiroi Ashiato / 白い足跡
  13. Aimai na Kuchibiru / 曖昧な唇
  14. Koi no Hate / 恋の果て
  15. Meiro / 迷路

“Rainy Day” is probably the new 2017 recording.

MV Collection Disc

This disc is a collection of all her music videos and is only available in the 3CD+BD and 875BOX editions.

  1. Mahou no Hito / 魔法の人
  2. Chiisana Hoshi / 小さな星
  3. Garnet / ガーネット
  4. Tegami / 手紙
  5. Hatsukoi / 初恋
  6. Cinderella / シンデレラ
  7. Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火
  8. Kusabi / 楔-くさび-
  9. Hanabi / 花火
  10. Kimi ga Kureta Natsu / 君がくれた夏
  11. Kimi no Hana / キミの花
  12. Saigo no Kiss / 最後のキス
  13. Omoide ni Nare / 思い出になれ
  14. Kaban no Naka no Yakimochi / 鞄の中のやきもち
  15. Hanabira / はなびら
  16. Off Shot Movie

I think “off shot” in this case means “backstage”. That is, the “off shot movie” is likely a compilation of clips or interviews taken while the staff were filming the music videos. A “making of” video, if you will.

On another note, they never make mention of the Music On! TV music video for Anata ni Suki to Iwaretai. I wonder if it’s because they don’t have the rights to it.

875BOX Goods

In addition to the discs, the 875BOX comes with extra goods: a special photo book, an “original multi-stand” (I think “multi” here means “multipurpose”; it looks like a phone stand), and a 15th anniversary Oku Hanako bandana.

15th anniversary multi stand

An original multi stand, available only in the 875BOX.


15th anniversary bandana

15th anniversary bandana, only available in the 875BOX.

Additionally, if you bought the release at the Pony Canyon Shopping Club, you also received a special acrylic keychain featuring a Chiro Oku Hanako (Chiro is Oku Hanako’s white cat).

Pony Canyon Club-exclusive Chiro Oku Hanako keychain

Chiro Oku Hanako keychan, exclusive to Pony Canyon Club shoppers.


Released at the same time as the ALL TIME BEST is the soundtrack for the movie, “Korosanai Kare to Shinanai Kanojo” (PCCR-00689). It contains Hanabira as well as 23 other tracks.

Cover art for the soundtrack album of Korosanai Kare to Shinanai Kanojo

Korosanai Kare to Shinanai Kanojo soundtrack album cover art

Hanabira / はなびら

Hanabira / はなびら: “Petal”

hanabira / はなびら
“flower petal”

(The official listen link gives “Petal” as the English title, so I’ve deferred to that.)

It’s been a while! Sorry for the absence, but let’s see if we can get this back up and running again.

Today we have one of Oku Hanako’s newest songs, Hanabira / はなびら. It was used as the theme song for the movie Korosanai Kare to Shinanai Kanojo / 殺さない彼と死なない彼女 (English title: “He Won’t Kill, She Won’t Die”; official site[jp], AsianWiki, IMDb). The song is included in the soundtrack for the movie, as well as the opening track to Oku Hanako’s new 15th anniversary album, Oku Hanako ALL TIME BEST[jp], both to be released on November 13, 2019.

The AsianWiki provides the following plot synopsis of the movie:

Rei Kosaka is a 3rd grade high school student. He is not interested in anything and lives a boring existence. One day, Rei Kosaka sees his classmate Nana Kano burying a dead bee. He takes an interest in Nano Kato, who carefully deals with a bee’s life, because she keeps telling him that she wants to die.

Pony Canyon has released the full music video featuring clips from the movie on its YouTube channel, shown below.


奥 華子「はなびら」Music Video映画『殺さない彼と死なない彼女』Ver. by ponycanyon [YouTube]

I’ve included a translation below (with translation notes). The singer is very grateful to the listener for giving her confidence in herself and giving her a reason to live on and appreciate each day.

I really like the musical direction that Oku Hanako has taken lately: it’s based on her signature piano, but with strings and drums as the major accompaniment, sprinkled with some light guitar. (Although it’s not quite the same, some of my favourites among my compositions, such as I Don’t Know, You Were There, and Sincerely Yours, were clearly influenced by this style.) Some form of this style has been around since her major debut, but it’s gotten a lot more refined in the last five years. That said, I do think her sound has gotten to be a bit too safe and comfortable: some of her earlier songs took more risks and were a bit more varied. Nonetheless, they’re great songs and I’d love to hear more.

Comparing this song to some of her others, I’m reminded of Kimi ga Kureta Natsu / 君がくれた夏, another song she made for another movie back in 2015. I’m reminded also of Kaban no Naka no Yakimochi / 鞄の中のやきもち and many of the other songs in her latest album, KASUMISOU. Melody-wise, it reminds me a lot of the chorus of Tegami / 手紙.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened this song now because I’ve had it on repeat while preparing this post, and yet I still haven’t gotten tired of it.

Lyrics →

Anemone / アネモネ

Anemone / アネモネ: “Anemone”

Today we have track 7 from Oku Hanako’s 2009 album, BIRTHDAY. I had meant to post this months ago, but it seems fitting that I managed to finish it shortly after my copy of the album arrived.

When I first encountered this song, I wondered why Oku Hanako would write a song about sea anemones. The music sounded interesting enough that she could have been singing about them. It was only recently that I found out that “anemone” actually refers to a flower and that sea anemones were named after it for their colourful appearance. So here we are with another flower song.

In the Japanese language of flowers, anemone symbolizes a number of things based on its colour. According to hanakotoba.com, red anemones say “I love you”; white anemones symbolize sincerity, anticipation and hope; purple says “I trust and wait for you”. More generally, the anemone symbolizes forsaken love.

I translated the lyrics for you today, which you can find in the usual spot at the end of the post. Admittedly, I’m a little lost as to its meaning. Sure, I see a reference to waiting, which is appropriate for what the flower means, but otherwise, I don’t really know what’s going on. And what does it mean to “shine grey”? Grey, of course, is in contrast to anemones, which are known for their colours, but that’s about as much as I can pick out. The word “anemone” also doesn’t appear anywhere, so I guess it relies more heavily on the flower’s symbolism (much like with Garnet). If anyone can give us insights on any of the lyrics, please leave a comment! Translation notes are also available.


Anemone- Oku Hanako **Sub español + Letra romaji** by Azura Allazjward Kurosu [YouTube]

The song starts off very mellow, with just Oku Hanako and an electric piano. Synth drums come in after the first line to provide a bit more energy. When the chorus comes, she’s joined by a multitrack accompaniment of herself. The result is a very crystal, very clear sound, yet still with a bit of warmth. It’s an unusual but interesting arrangement.

Her singing is full; you can tell that she’s singing from her diaphragm. The reverberation as well adds a sense of distance to the song.

From a musical standpoint, I thought the song was in an unusual mode, perhaps because of the reverberation, or maybe because of the accompaniment, but it turns out that it’s just A major.

The song is preceded in the album by “Saigo no Koi” / 最後の恋, which has a soft but solid hikigatari sound. The song is followed in the album by “Aoi Heya” / 青い部屋, which has a very strong hikigatari sound. In contrast, “Anemone” has a very synthesized sound.

Looking back at the rest of her songs, I don’t think there’s anything quite like “Anemone”. The most similar one I can think of is “blue green” from her 2014 album, “Kimi to Boku no Michi” / 君と僕の道, but it isn’t quite the same. “Anemone” is a unique sound for Oku Hanako, and not at all a bad one at that.

Lyrics →

Translation for Kaban no Naka no Yakimochi / 鞄の中のやきもち

Kaban no Naka no Yakimochi / 鞄の中のやきもち: “Jealousy Inside a Bag”

kaban / (かばん)
“bag”
no
A particle indicating modification.
naka / (なか)
“middle”, “inside”
no
A particle indicating modification.
yakimochi / やきもち
“jealousy”, “feelings of jealousy”

It’s about time I’ve posted this translation. I’ve been sitting on this post for a week or two with no chance to post it. Sorry for the wait, but here we are now. Enjoy!

Lyrics →

Kaban no Naka no Yakimochi / 鞄の中のやきもち

Kaban no Naka no Yakimochi / 鞄の中のやきもち: “Jealousy Inside a Bag”

kaban / (かばん)
“bag”
no
A particle indicating modification.
naka / (なか)
“middle”, “inside”
no
A particle indicating modification.
yakimochi / やきもち
“jealousy”, “feelings of jealousy”

Happy 41st birthday, Oku Hanako, and congratulations on the new release! Her 10th album, “KASUMISOU”, was released earlier today.

Kaban no Naka no Yakimochi / 鞄の中のやきもち is the opening track on the album. It’s the song that sets the tone for the rest of the album, and based on the songs I’ve already heard, I think this song is a good choice.

Unbelievably, Pony Canyon released a full music video for this song. It appears that some stores are even using it to promote the album (I mean, that’s what it’s for, right?).


【奥華子】「鞄の中のやきもち」 from 10th Album「KASUMISOU」【MV】 by ponycanyon [YouTube]

An amazing song, this is. I think her songs with a piano-strings-drums arrangement are some of my favourites.

More thoughts and lyrics →

Hanako Oku and her HAPPY BIRTHDAY memes.

I’m still working on my post, but in the meantime, you can enjoy Denny’s birthday tribute. Oku Hanako turns 41 today (March 20)!

You should view the original post because WordPress cuts out almost all the images here.

Denny Sinnoh

Happy 41st Birthday to “The Little Great One” Hanako Oku, born March 20, 1978.

Japan is twelve hours ahead of my time zone, so I am sending this today!

Mr. Penguin, I hope you have a sense of humor! It was Snivy’s idea.

… and now for a little bit of Oku-HISTORY!

Thank you, YouTube user 曽我部幸太郎

Starlight: Been a Hanako Oku fan for eight point eight light years!

PS: Dear friends. I do not have Twitter or Facebook. If you like Hanako Oku, would you mind sharing my post on your social media?

View original post

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 →

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 →