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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Song of the Week! 1 December 2012

A new month opens with a new song review! For those who think that Katsu-Don's Variety genre is all Vocaloid songs and Yawaraka Sensha, there's actually a lot more to it.

Otemoyan (おてもやん) Omodaka feat. Paradise Yamamoto (パラダイス山元)
Allx3 (140)x5 (208) x6 (347)x7 (547)
Taiko 0.5 to K, Taiko Wii 5, Taiko PSPDX

Based on a Japanese poem, Otemoyan is a traditional song which is deeply linked to the Kumamoto Prefecture. The poem is played every year in Kumamoto streets during summer festivals (usually accompained with taiko drums and shamisens), and finally it is available for Taiko no Tatsujin. But before going further with this very recent rendition, let's talk a bit about Otemoyan's backstory first.

Written and composed by a teacher of Shamisen and Japanese dances called Ine Nagata, Otemoyan's oldest reference lies in a 1907 book called 5 Pairs of Shoes, written by 5 people who visited Kumamoto at that time (also justifying the presence of Kumamoto prefecture's accent in the poem). It was later published as an Enka song in 1935 by Koume Akasaka (赤坂小梅).

Otemoyan's lyrics are about Chimo, a young maiden in the Meiji period, who is in love with a man with smallpox scars on his face. Regardless of his look, Chimo is still charmed by him; however, she hesitates to hold an open wedding ceremony due to possible comments made by the townspeople about her new husband's look. The strange setting of this poem made historians think that Otemoyan was usually read and performed during drinking parties with geisha girls.

Later in the years, the Enka piece grew in popularity and several artists made tributes to it in the 80s and 90s with different arrangements, like Shizuko Kasagi (笠置シヅ子)'s "extended version" with extra lyrics and the rap-like 2009 rendition by Potemkin (ポチョムキン).

On Taiko, Otemoyan has a mambo beat, and sticks to the original lyrics of the namesake poem. The song is made by a duo known together as Omodaka: Soichi Terada (寺田創一) is the composer and Akiko Kanazawa (金沢明子) is the singer. They usually compose chiptune music. The percussive interlude was performed by Paradise Yamamoto (パラダイス山元), an active member of a 90ies Latin-club music band called Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys (東京パノラママンボボーイズ), hence the long subtitle crediting all the artists involved with the song.

Among the various remixes of Otemoyan, this one is the fastest of the bunch. As I have already said several times in this weekly corner, every note cluster played on BPM 200 or greater are potential traps for making mistakes and are also hard on stamina, and Otemoyan's 7* Oni mode is another valuable example, proving that simple Oni patterns can still be challenging under certain circumstances.


  1. with the same bpm,i think saitama is much harder though.

  2. can i pick heaven and hell for sotw?