Kazuki Tomokawa - Sakura no kuni no chiru naka o (1980)

While I still can't quite figure out the title to Kazuki Tomokawa (友川かずき)'s fifth studio album, 'Sakura no kuni no chiru naka o' (桜の国の散る中を) must mean something like 'Within the Country of Falling Cherry Blossoms'. Wouldn't 桜の散る国の中を make more sense though? Just goes to show how hard it is (for me at least?) to get a good grip on this devilish language. So anyone with more insight, please help an otōto out.
Anyway, this album was released in October 1980 on Bellwood, and reissued in 1992 and again in 1995 on King. The studio album that preceded this one was 1978's 俺の裡で鳴り止まない詩 ('Ore no uchi de nariyamanai mono'), which was posted here earlier; but in the meantime Tomokawa had released his first live album, 犬~友川かずき秋田コンサートライブ ('Inu - Tomokawa Kazuki Akita Konsāto Raibu', or in translation: 'Dog - Tomokawa Kazuki Akita Concert Live'), which I may get around to some other time (it's essential if only for that exclusive song 寂滅 ('Jakumetsu', which means 'Nirvana')).

The tracklist on this one is as follows (Japanese / rōmaji / translation); the translations are the ones given on the official website.

1. 犬  /  Inu  /  A Dog
2. 闇  /  Yami  /  Darkness
3. 点  /  Ten  /  Point
4. 問うなれば  /  Tou nareba  /  Must Start Questioning
5. 赤子の限界  /  Akago no genkai  /  The Limits Within an Infant
6. おどの独白  /  Odo no dokuhaku  /  Odo's Soliloquy
7. 口から木綿  /  Kuchi kara momen  /  Cotton From the Mouth
8. 因われのうた  /  Toraware no uta  /  A Song of Captivity
9. 桜の国の散る中を  /  Sakura no kuni no chiru naka o  /  Within the Country of Falling Cherry Blossoms

The last one, the epic title track (dig that choir!), is subtitled (会田哲士君の霊に捧ぐ)in the booklet: 'Aida Tetsushi-kun no rei ni sasagu', 'Dedicated to the Soul of Mr. Tetsushi Aida'. I don't know who this is, but the 'kun'-suffix would seem to indicate that it's a younger friend of Tomokawa's.
There does not seem to be any link between the Odo in the spoken sixth track and the eponymous killer from Kan Mikami (三上寛)'s song on his first album, 三上寛の世界 ('Mikami Kan no sekai', 1971).

In the booklet (scans included), we find the following credits:
友川かずき (Kazuki Tomokawa): singing, guitar
ピップエレキバンド (Pippu Ereki Bando = Pip Electric Band; as far as I can recall the only other album this band is mentioned on is 'Inu'):
石塚俊明 (Toshiaki Ishizuka, yes, the guy from Vajra): drums, percussion
古家恭子 (Kyōko Furuya, who was already there from the first album): piano, keyboard
山脇クマ (Kuma Yamawaki): bass
菊池雅志 (Masashi Kikuchi): shakuhachi, yokobue (two types of Japanese flutes)
牧良介 (Ryōsuke Maki): narration on track 6
There are a bunch of other musicians in minor roles, but let's not go crazy.
By the way, last year's live DVD has been reuploaded here.


  1. Many thanks for sharing!!!

  2. You're welcome - it's a mystery to me why more people don't rave about Mr. Tomokawa's work.

  3. He is literally the greatest singer-songwriter alive today. "screaming philospher" is an understatement.

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  5. Hi, thanks for your blog.

    I have recently found Tomokawa and really appreciate his music. I even tried to translate a few of his songs on my blog, see http://www.preining.info/blog/tag/tomokawa/
    Concerning your question about the title - it also puzzled me, and I was not sure about, but Japanese friends explained me that this is a possible way to write it, i.e., that the 散る relates to the 桜 and not to the 国. Still, I had the same doubts, and wrote in my blog entry about this song that one alternative interpretation would be that it is a song about the disintegration of the (young) country Japan.

    But considering that when the song was written Japan was on the rise, economically at least, and with the additional information you provided in your post about Tetsushi-kun, I am still convinced that this is a song describing the sad story of a friend of Tomokawa back when he was in Akita.

    Anyway, thanks for you blog