..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 (;゜□゜)。～～～！！！