#1 single, 1960s, A Taste of Honey, different lyrics, hot pot dish, I Look Up As I Walk, Japan, Kyu Sakamoto, lost love, Music, no connection to song, One Hit Wonder, Rokusuke Ei, Sukiyaki, Ue o Muite Aruko
Sukiyaki (Toshiba-EMI, 1961)
Sukiyaki (Ue o Muite Aruko = I Look Up As I Walk) is a song by Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto, first released in Japan in 1961. The song ended up topping the charts worldwide and has been become one of the world’s best selling singles having sold over 13 million copies worldwide.
Lyricist Rokusuke Ei wrote the lyrics while walking home from a Japanese student demonstration protesting against a continued US Army presence, expressing his frustration at the failed efforts. The lyrics tell of a man who looks up and whistles while walking so that his tears will not fall. The lyrics were rendered purposefully generic so that they may apply to any lost love. The English lyrics recorded by A Taste of Honey in 1981 are not a translation of the Japanese lyrics but a completely new set of lyrics arranged to fit the same basic melody. The title “Sukiyaki” refers to the Japanese hot-pot dish and does not appear in the lyrics of the song nor does it have any connection to the song. The song was dubbed “Sukiyaki” because it was short, catchy and recognizably Japanese to pay tribute to its origin from Japan.