The Sukiyaki Song

The other day when I was researching hotpot in Thailand I read somewhere that the reason Thai's use the term suki for hotpot is due to a hit song in the 1960s called the Sukiyaki Song that launched a love of hotpot in Thailand. So I did some more research...

"Sukiyaki", known in Japan as "Ue o muite arukō" (上を向いて歩こう "Look up while walking") is a Japanese song that was performed by Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto, and written by Rokusuke Ei and Hachidai Nakamura. It is best known under its alternative title "Sukiyaki" in English-speaking parts of the world. The song reached the top of the sales charts in the United States in 1963, and was the only Japanese language song to do so.

The term sukiyaki (which is a Japanese steamboat dish) had absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics or the meaning of the song; the word served the purpose only because it was short, catchy, recognizably Japanese, and more familiar to most English speakers (very few of whom could understand the Japanese lyrics anyway). A Newsweek columnist noted that the re-titling was like issuing "Moon River" in Japan under the title "Beef Stew."

Kyu Sakamoto (pronounced "cue") was one of the 520 people who died in the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 near Gunma on August 12, 1985. He was 43. Before the doomed aircraft hit the ground, he managed to write a farewell note to his wife Yukiko Kashiwagi. Married in 1971, they had two daughters, Hanako and Maiko.

A maintenance manager working for the company... committed suicide to "apologize" for the accident
(from Wikipedia)

I had a search and turns out that you really can't get a more globally loved song than this. Here are some of the best covers I found.

- Pizzicato Five who have actually made the song about sukiyaki, soba and yaki udon

- Spanish version

- Another Spanish version

- Pretty Japanese jazz version

- blues guitar version

- Chinese version

- German version, hilarious

- French

- this one's good too


    thanks for that, very fun to listen to versions!
    the german one is cute, interpretive dancers, nice touch heheh
    such a nostalgic song, nostalgic to the pores!

    english r&b version here:

    love that phrase 'hitoribochi'
    why is japanese such a fking cool language


    The story is so sad though. Hock was the one that knew the story on the song, about the singer dying in a plane crash and writing a note to his family. When I played the song to Hock, his eyes welled up - bless


    aw Hock

    I cried when i watched la bamba


    the movie, not the musician on Late with Conan O'B


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