..in this issue of Kokiku was an article featuring Ryokochan and her major starring role in the 64th NHK “morning drama” series “Churasan” which means “pretty” or “pure girl” in the Okinawan dialect which first got me interested in learning more about her. Morning drama series are broadcast in small increments on a daily basis (Mon-Fri) giving viewers a long running drama which can captivate an audience over a very~very long period of time. The story in brief follows the life of a young Okinawan girl and her loving family as they encounter the various obstacles and hardships that family life can bring. In her youth Eri (kuninaka Ryoko) meets a boy from Tokyo named Fumiya who’s visiting Okinawa on vacation and through their friendship she learns of his older brother who suffers from a terminal illness for which the trip was made. Eri and Fumiya promise each other to marry when they grow up after his brief stay. “Churasan” presents a nice insight into the true meanings of family ties and love all the while showcasing Eri’s true inner beauty for which the drama’s title was named after~.
Here’s my complete Kuninaka Ryoko music collection which includes her album, 2 single releases, and her “Otokeshiki” DVD.
Kuninaka Ryoko also released 3 shashinshuu, two of which are shot in a traditional “idol” setting while the third (above, left) titled “風の記憶” (“Kaze no kioku”) which means “Memories of the wind” gives fans a most unique look into Ryokochan’s personal family photo albums! This pb is also by far the thickest one that I’ve ever seen as it’s comprised of an impressive 228 pages making it over twice the size of your average shashinshuu. This private album collection is sooo cute!! It really presents a growing up visual documentation of Ryoko’s life from early babyhood to childhood to adulthood. Family members, friends, mentors, area residents, as well as classmates appear throughout this pb and it’s really one of the most intimate photo books of this type that I’ve ever collected.
Here are just a few of the types of photos included in this pb and I apologize for having to take just snap shots of them with my camera in very bad lighting i might add! :P….but due to it’s thickness there’s just no way to scan this photo book without heavily damaging its spine and possibly loosening the pages from their binding =/.
With the exception of scans from her album and singles booklets and jackets, for the most part the rest of the photos in this post are from Kuninaka Ryoko’s “23 ans” and “COLORS” shashinshuu pictured above. As aforementioned these two shashinshuu are much more in the presentation of an idol pb as it includes both mizugi to glamorous~cute photos of Ryokochan….she has such beautifully large and distinctly Okinawan eyes! I think she’s sooo sooo~o beautiful!
I just recently I realized that there were more candid fun photos under “23ans”‘ dust jack and she has written some fun comments to go along with some of the photos too! ^-^
While I wasn’t able to watch the original series of “Churasan” as it was broadcast on a channel that I don’t have a subscription to, I was able to watch the following series “Churasan 2”, and since then the series has gone onto a third and fourth season and beyond+.
Kuninaka Ryoko would begin her singing career with her single “Ryukyuu Moon” which served as the theme song for “Churasan 2” and what made me enjoy the drama even more was my familiarity with this song as I had purchased it before getting a chance to see the series. Here’s the pv for “Ryukyuu Moon” from her DVD “Otokeshiki.”
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Ryukyuu Moon” pv~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Ryukyuu Moon” mp3~
Above left is a scan of the inner jacket from “Otokeshiki while the photos to the right are taken from the “Churasan” series and you can see Ryoko’s “Erichan” character as she’s just so adorable and cutely styled!
For anyone curious about the Okinawan style of music and some of the instrumentation traditionally used in their flavor of music, the majority of Kuninaka Ryoko’s songs presents a perfect entrance which will ease the listener into it as some of her songs infuse true Okinawan styling but yet remain in a “pop” context which perhaps will be less of a leap into the genre which otherwise for some may be an acquired taste gained only with time and interest.
The sanshin not to be confused with the shamisen is a wonderful stringed instrument which resonates a most uniquely distinct tone and flavor and it’s through the base of this particular instrument from which most Okinawan songs are associated with. The pv for “Ryukyuu Moon” provides a wonderful view of Okinawa, its unique structures, artistic traits as well as a genuine warmth and feeling you get through the sights and its people.
Ryokochan would then follow the success of her first single release with a full length album warmly titled “Furusato” (‘Hometown”) which was released on February 18th, 2004.
“Furusato” includes a total of 14 songs with about a third of them featuring heavily in the Okinawan musical style. This album is primarily a “folk” album as it dips deep into that genre of music however much of it also shares a more pop contemporary style which gives the album a nice balanced sound to it.
My most favorite♥ Kuninaka Ryoko song is by far “White; kimi ni ienakatta koto” as it fills me with a tranquil feeling and I find its melody to be extremely engaging and memorable. Ryokochan’s vocals are sweet always but I just love her tone and feel throughout this entire song as you really get an honest feeling of the lyrics and this song’s meaning. The song’s bridge climaxes perfectly lending to a melodic acoustic guitar solo and by songs end the infectious melody is well a part of you.
“Furusato” is a beautiful Okinawan song representing one’s hometown and once again the sanshin lends itself to a memorable melody which drives the song along with an acoustic piano. The backing vocals here are very much in the vein of a traditional Okinawan composition with their ever so distinct pitches and tones which are most notable in the song’s chorus sections. And Ryokochan gives us a warm rendition of touching lyrics to go along with it.
白いブランコ” (“Shiroi buranko”) is an intimately arranged acoustic folk song and the pure simplicity of this song I find so sweet and sincere. I hope you enjoyed her songs as they give you just a peek into Okinawan arrangements and while some tracks are far more immersed than others in this distinct style I think it makes for an ease of an introduction into this genre of music and some of its trademark traits, making for an easier listen for anyone not familiar with this style of music. ^-^
Kuninaka Ryoko’s music discography can be ordered at Cdjapan and although her first single “Ryukyuu Moon” appears to be out of print, “Meguri aetane”, her album “Furusato”, and DVD “Otokeshiki” are still available as well as numerous t.v. shows and drama DVD releases.
Kuninaka Ryoko “Ryukyuu Moon” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Watashi no mamade…” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Namidakun sayonara” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Shiroi buranko” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “White; kimi ni ienakattakoto“ mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Coffee Shop de” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Gakusei machi no kissaten” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Kusabue wo fukouyo” mp3~
Kuninaka Ryoko “Samui asa” mp3~
Kuninaka Ryoko “Tooku de…” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Tomodachi” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Gomen ne…” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Haru no kaze” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Furusato” mp3~
Here a just a few captures from the jacket and booklet shooting for her album “Furusato” which is included on her “Otokeshiki” DVD…
Here are just a few production screen caps from “Ryukyuu Moon’s” making of which is included on Ryokochan’s “otokeshiki” DVD…
..it was a very cold day in Okinawa on the day of shooting! You can see Ryokochan freezing so much! However I guess when a pv shoot is set, there’s just no re-scheduling it due to daily costs. A~h and poor Ryokchan is wearing a dress with no sleeves =O.
Red is such a vibrant color and it clashes well with the surroundings of the day and there’s always time for a bit of hamming it up for the camera too! ^-^♥
Brrrr!!! so soooo cold, so very very chilly!!!! :O …_〆(・∀・＠) (note the staff person “running away” with Ryokochan’s thick jacket! =O
A~h something warm to drink at last! 🙂 however litte does she know but in just a few moments she’ll be called back to filming more of the pv’s♥ scenes. =O
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Furusato” pv~
The scenery is so beautiful to look at as many of the locations seen throughout this pv♥ are in some ways untouched by urbanism and they have really clear beaches too.
Here’s are more photos from her pb “23 ans” just before I get to something really really cute I promise~*!
Oh wait…before the cuteness I promised here’s some screen captures from Ryokochan’s release events and wait till you see the wonderful fan handshake event…this one guy was really really happy to meet her and touch hands!! (^o^)/…
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Furusato release event~
This segment is included on Ryokochan’s “Otokeshiki” DVD release.
A lot of fans have come to support Ryokochan!~! and somewhere out there is Mr. happy handshake guy =D.
Now that’s the reaction we were looking for!!!!!!!!!!!!! (^-^)/!!! How one perhaps should react when getting a chance~* to touch an idol~♥! Thank you~* for that Mr. Happy handshake~guy♥! Sorry he’s so blurry. =P
“Otokeshiki” has a running time of 40 minutes and just before the credits roll there’s a cute chapter titled “東京休日” (“Tokyo day off; holiday”) where Ryokochan is free with a day off well sort of as she still gives a closing interview but she gets to introduce us to a very~very special and cuddly friend♥~.
It’s her doggie~♥ and i soooo love those large eyes and ever wagging tongue. It’s a hot day in Tokyo or at least doggie says so!~!
Another thing that I really love about this clip is you get to hear Ryokochan’s casual speaking voice versus her “acting” or “singing” voice and she has a cute tomboyish tone which I find really endearing! Here’s a bit more of Ryokochan with doggie picks…
～Kuninaka Ryoko ”東京休日”～
So cute she’s fanning him here o(*´∀｀)o゛♥。
And one final pv♥ that I’d like to share here is for Kuninaka Ryoko’s 2nd single “Meguri aetane” which was used as the theme song for “Churasan 3.” “Meguri aetane” is more of a straight forward pop song especially when compared to the folk and traditional Okinawan sound which represents most of her songs ♪～♪。 A very solid well written song and the accompanying pv♥ does well to deliver the underlying meaning in the song’s lyrics in a nice subtle way plus the girl on the bench blowing bubbles to her is adorable too.
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Meguri aetane” pv~
“Meguri aetane” w/ its coupling with song “Hoshi no jikan.”
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Meguri aetane” mp3~
~Kuninaka Ryoko “Hoshi no jikan” mp3~
~Making of shots from “Meguri aetane” also taken from her “Otokeshiki” DVD.
I just love that expression on her face! ^-^
And you thought this post would never end (;゜□゜)。～～～！！！
I've always been a big fan of Churasan, I didn't even know Kuninaka had a music career too! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for reading Yumi! ^-^ Kuninakachan plays such a heartwarming character in the Churasan series and it's really like watching her grow up over the years in character and with the actress herself as the series has continued. I've grown to really love the sound of Okinawan music, something that I couldn't say was true awhile ago but with Berryz Koubou's "Piririto yukou!" and Kuninakachan's music becoming so endeared to me I just love the sound of Okinawan music!
Haisai!!!! MBI love the sound of the Sanshin (三線), and I would love to start listening to her songs when I get a chance面白いのpost.Thanks
Kuninakachan is so cute here! Please let me know if you have any trouble listening to any of the audio tracks embedded as I was sort of having a few glitches here on VOX when I uploaded these. I so agree~…the sanshin has such a unique and warm sound to it but silly me used to confuse it with the shamisen for a long time until recently. 😛 Okinawan music has a wonderful flavor to it and what I love about Ryokochan's songs is how that sound is incorporated into many of her compositions here..although it isn't present in all of them. Arigatou~ne Renyi! ^ ^
I clicked on the link and the first thing I see are Kangaroos. I was very confused for a split second. I didn't know they had them in Okinawa, must be at a nature park sort of thing. I believe you when you say you worked on this for 6 hours~! Massive round of applause for MB *everyone claps* Her voice reminds me of some really good anime endings…… I hope that isn't a bad thing, because it's really good~! I love the feeling the traditional instruments add to her songs, at least the ones you embedded above ^-^ I also love traditional Japanese folk songs and music……. people think me odd for that though. Never really understood why. Oh, and the layering on "Shiroi buranko" is sublime (never used sublime to describe something before), very very nicely done song ^ ^ I really love the idea behind "Kaze no kioku", I can't say I've seen anything quite like it before. It looks really nice =D And "23 ans" looks stunningly cute…… well both of them do really ^ ^I think I will have to add her to my every growing wish list ^_^ I keep finding things here that are just brilliant~! Domo arigato *James Bows*
I didn't even consider that….XD….hmmm I love kangaroos ♥♥♥. They look so cute and Ryokochan is feeding them! ^o^ You're probably right…Okinawan kangaroos??? hmmmm…..sa I wonder. omg! (*´∀｀*) you're so sweet……I so don't deserve applause though. 😛 Oh no I absolutely love anime ending themes!….hmmmm how about this one from my favorite anime! ^ ^ Yokoyama Chisa has the cutest voice! There's really a sweet warmth in her voice…and she's so so so so adorable so that always breaks me!! XD I hope the mp3's♪♪ played okay for you. You're so awesome!!..you listen to Japanese folk songs! Oh no not odd not odd! (*´∀｀*)….very cool! =) Folk songs are so emotionally relaxing and heartwarming in their lyrics typically so the more folk songs the better! ^ ^ "Kaze no kioku" is really a unique shashinshuu release….and "23 ans" is really cute…well sexy and adorable too! Hmm…it's actually almost gravure like so I was a bit shocked at first but Ryokochan…so sweet! I hope I'm not a bad influence on you! 😛 Ryokochan's album and DVD are so worth it though!! I'm so sorry that the pvs were removed above but I did embed another video for her debut "Ryukyuu Moon" so now it should play okay…it's such a pretty pv with the sights of Okinawa and of course Ryokochan♥. Arigatou~ne~. ^ ^
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Hi. any chance do you still have her album furusato?
could you please send it to me? Please at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Such a lovely post. Her shashinshuu with the childhood and everyday photos is extraordinary and must be fairly unique. I suppose because she’s such a well known actress, her background is even more relevant. Her music-making is wonderful. The sound of it is so close to ‘traditional’/national music, especially the way it’s coloured, and her voice is so accomplished; it’s a shame she hasn’t released more. (I’ve spotted sealed copies of ‘Furusato’ on eBay.) I would never have thought that Okinawa was ever cold. I take it ‘cold’ here means relatively cold, and not 10 degrees? Do you visit Okinawa much?
This one was quite special ~*, thank you so much for reading~♥ =D. I had been pondering about your earlier question about a single most favorite idol photo book and while the obvious for me would’ve been from either Aichan, Kamei or Yukorin….I remembered Kuninaka Ryoko’s personal album photo book. It’s indeed most unique with its depth as I’ve just never seen another idol share so much personally and with such pure candidness of pretty much her entire life up till then. This book is also extraordinarily thick!!!! It’s now clearly my most treasured idol photo book, I’ve always hoped that she’d release more music singles/albums but sadly it’s been awhile since she’s released just these three. Oh you found a copy! One of my favorite non single tracks is “White; kimi ni ienakattakoto”…although it isn’t Okinawan styled. Mmm…from the making of commentary it was pretty chilly but not freezing cold on that day of shooting. My grandparents had been living in the mainland of Japan so sadly I’ve no ties to Okinawa although I’d love to visit one day~.
You had asked earlier about how greetings are with meeting idols and the tradition of bowing can get a bit tricky depending on context of the person one is meeting. Generally bowing lower is a sign of great respect with a lower bow giving a deeper essence to one’s greeting in this very sense, for instance if one were to be greeting an elder or Sensei or anyone of that nature a greater bow would be in order for the younger party simply based on age and/ social stature. However there are instances where bowing too greatly can create quite the awkward issue, but for the instance of greeting an idol at such an event as a handshake event a general ‘equality’ is acted out with neither party for the most part bowing any lower, part of which can be attributed to the youth of the girls which often times are much greater or just greater than the person meeting them, also it could cause quite the embarrassment if one side were to bow to greatly to the other, of course that being the scenario of a fan meeting an idol on such an occasion. I’m not sure if you’ve watched but here there’s a Kuninaka Ryoko handshake event where a most enthusiastic fan meets her….his demeanor, priceless!!!! =D
ps. It’s wild how much fans are willing to sometimes pay for a single AKB photo or just a small set of them =O, ah..Sayumin really did take a bit longer to develop her vocals..some of Momusu’s concerts do have those uneasy Sayumin moments, too many medleys can be a concert killer and I’ve always been bummed that with both Momusu and AKB48’s appearances on the Kouhaku they’ve always and I mean always opted for a medley instead of just a single great song xD…and I hope ~* you got to enter in time for that Big Band Theory trip to meet the cast on set!!! Would be awesome!!! Also, I’ve been terrible with my e-mails I apologize so much!!
Thanks for explaining about the bowing. I didn’t realise it could cause awkwardness. There was a TV documentary about a famous London hotel earlier this year, and the staff were being taught how low to bow for some visiting Japanese royalty. (There was also a visit from a Jpop star who was so fussy that they ripped out a bathroom and rebuilt it to her requirements! I wish I could remember who it was.) There are some very low bows when Team Dragon meets the voice artists in that special feature. You could see they were wildly excited to meet them.
Like if one bowed to deeply it may leave the other at a loss…but for the most part it’s all really respect =). Ohhhh wow! Please remember whom it was!! Some pop stars have those diva like things actually literally written into their performance contracts =O. Like say for instance Janet Jackson, if she were to perform at a particular venue there’s be an actual required list of needs which had included in the past such things as exact numbers of bottled water for each of her dancers, stuff like that which isn’t odd really. But then take Van Halen! They require that all brown M&M’s be removed from their bowls of M&M’s lol so weird it’s funny =P. The bathroom issue is something else though! Just wow….to have to actually rebuild a structure for a single performer O_o!? U~n the Team Dragon girls were overwhelmed with honor of meeting such seiyuu in person and then having that interaction with them =D.
I’ll start checking the BBC iPlayer website for the documentary, as these things get repeated there. It was called something like ‘Inside Claridges’. I really wish I could remember the performer. She would have been a Western-style diva. I know that Madonna can get a little fussy too. But do you reckon Van Halen were having a joke with the M&Ms?
Here are some photos of Claridges for you. http://www.cntraveller.com/news/2012/december/claridges-hotel-behind-the-scenes
The pop star isn’t named anywhere, but she is known as Tokyo’s Britney Spears, if that means anything. She stayed with her entourage of 35 for a whole month, so obviously she’s one of the big names to be able to afford that.
Searching online just now for the Claridges story, I came across several reminders of Miichan’s scandal. It still really makes me fume how it was reported, and all those pompous commentators who were given airtime when they had never listened to a single note of AKB. I’m so glad I never read a newspaper or watch the TV news…
Wow an entire month is just wild!!! Woh she must really be one of Japan’s most popular artists…I’m stumped at whom it could’ve been though, you know who would ask for such outrageous accommodations for her appearance there.
That was a rough time, I saw too at least a couple of UK broadcast clips back then and the perspective was out of touch and heartless in some of their commentary =(. It’s too bad as with a better understanding if they had done more proper research their articles and broadcasts could’ve been so much more informed. It’s like they just jumped at the chance to get on a big story and reacted without truly knowing all that was really going on.
Hmm….she’s comparable to Britney Spears..I wonder who it could’ve been?! I just can’t imagine at the moment…Hum…?
Haha funnily the Van Halen thing is actually truthfully what they desire….not sure of exactly why though as I’m afraid to dig too deeply into that lol. I believe it was even parodied in an Al Pacino film…the one with…oh it’s “Simone.” I imagine Madonna must have a very very long requirements list!!
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