Port Town Blues

Here are a couple of videos with views from many different harbours and port towns around Japan, and an enka melody first released by Shinichi Mori back in 1969. Here is the karaoke version:



Do watch the version by Teresa Teng from Taiwan, who was a popular artist with a large fan base in Asia. The fan video is dedicated to the victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami:

We express great sympathy to those who suffered from disasters in the following port towns in this song: 函館 (Hakodate), 宮古 (Miyako), 釜石 (Kamaishi), 気仙沼 (Kesen-numa), and in many other areas.


I like how Asahi Shinbun wove this old standard into a fine essay about the fisheries of the region. Is a unique fishing culture lost forever?

"Minato-machi Burusu" (Port town blues), an old hit by popular singer Shinichi Mori, mentions the then-fine ports of Miyako, Kamaishi and Kesennuma. Strung along a saw-toothed coastline, these port towns were flattened by tsunami waves that crashed into the bay from all directions.

Cold and warm sea currents merge off the Sanriku coast, rendering the area one of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Blessed with plentiful resources, local fishermen employed varied fishing methods, and boasted that the sea groomed them all into "true professionals."

Depending on which of these port towns they were from, the fishermen engaged in oceanic, near-sea or coastal fishing. Fish farming and seafood processing businesses also flourished, generating a "fish culture" unique to the region.


But, as often is the case, the version I like the best is the original, from 1969...



The pictures in the Teresa Teng video reflect these local port towns, mentioned in the lyrics, in this order:
函館 (Hakodate)
宮古 (Miyako)
釜石 (Kamaishi)
気仙沼 (Kesen-numa)
三崎 (Misaki)
焼津 (Yaizu) (Not Yaezu)
御前崎 (Omaezaki)
高知 (Kochi)
高松 (Takamatsu)
八幡浜 (Yawatahama) (Not Yahatahama)
別府 (Beppu)
長崎 (Nagasaki)
枕崎 (Makurazaki)
鹿児島 (Kagoshima)
桜島 (Sakurajima)

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