Who’s Hiroko TANIYAMA? (2) #taniyama

I love Hiroko TANIYAMA’s songs. But I don’t know about music theory. Music score is German language to me(I have never studied German). So I will talk about lyrics.

Unique story

In Japan, many many lyrics express love. Boy meets girl, one-sided love, heartbreak, and fall in love. Of course, TANIYAMA express love, too. But her love songs are strange. A boy fell in love. He wanted to see her. Surprisingly he became radio wave. But her antenna was broken and couldn’t catch him(now he is radio wave). So he became alone. Finally he disappeared. This is a story about “Dempa-toh no shohnen(A boy of radio tower)”.

TANIYAMA made a lot of fantasic songs. In 2007 she released “Shuhden-za(Last train constellation)”. This song’s stage is Tokyo. One-tenth of Japanese(about 13350000) live in this city. Capital of Japan never sleep. Numerous people work until late into the night. Numerous people drink after works in the tavern. So last train crowded. TANIYAMA sings peacefully about it. Why are we going back home? Last train talks to passengers. Let’s go to galaxy. Last train flew the night sky. Finally it became a constellation. But in daylight last train constellation is pretty dirty(because it had run all day long). In this song reality and dreams are connected. I love it.

Various songs

Of course TANIYAMA’s songs are not just fantasic. Her advantage is various patterns. For lonely people, her lyrics snuggle up silently. But they don’t console you easily. I introdused about “Hitori de okaeri(Go back home alone)”. A girl broken-hearted. She cannot believe it. Poor girl is dancing alone. The moon told her. “Be careful. I will light your way home. Go back home, girl. You are very very sad, but you must go back home without him.” Life has a lot of sad event. You are alone. But you must go. Raise your face. Her silently and lonely voice sang it.

In other song, your way home is more fun. When he woke up, he was unknown place. Who am I? But he didn’t become too serious. Oh, I can hear your voice. You are calling. OK, I will go back your side! His way home is very long. It bows to the shape of the Earth. This song is “Boku wa kaeru kitto kaeru(I will go back, surely I will go back)”. Melody is cheerful. Is it a story of drunk man? Maybe he was drunk until his memory was lost. In his home, his partner is waiting. Unfortunately drunk men are not umcommon in Japan.

TANIYAMA’s advantage is various patterns. It’s not just lyrics. She composed school songs, commercial songs, company song, city song, and so on. In 2011 STUDIO GHIBLI released “Kokuriko-zaka kara(From Up On Poppy Hill)”. TANIYAMA composed some songs for it. This movie’s stage is Yokohama in 1963. So she made melody like 1960’s Japanese popular songs. She talked. “It was very interesting. For this movie, I don’t have to worry about ‘my own way’. I composed old-fashioned songs.” In this movie Aoi TESHIMA sang them.

Translated songs

TANIYAMA loves Monty Python. She translated their lyrics. “Idainaru sakkyokuka(Decomposing Composers)” was released in 2006, and “Finrando(Finland)” was released in 2007. Her old fans were glad about Japanese lyrics of Monty Python. Her young fans discoverd Monty Python. She sang it in clear voice. It was not incongruous with playful lyrics. We laughed and came to like it.


Almost TANIYAMA doesn’t appear on TV. But many people have heard her songs on children’s short music program. Its program called “NHK minna no uta(NHK Everyone’s songs)”. So many people misunderstood her. She is not retired. She is not nursery rhyme singer. Listen to her songs. A lot of stories and melodies are waiting for you.